What Is Sleep-Storming (and Could It Help You Be More Productive)?

woman asleep in bed

We know that getting a good night’s sleep keeps our skin clear, our moods stable and our weight in check. But could a restful night help you figure out the logistical nightmare that is spring break plans for a family of four? Yes, according to the meditation website Calm, using a technique called sleep-storming. Here’s the deal.

What is sleep-storming?

The technical (scientific) name for sleep-storming is structured unconscious generative ideation, which essentially means training your brain to generate new ideas while you sleep. Very cool.

How do you do it?

Think about a problem you have that needs solving. You shouldn’t necessarily expect sleep-storming to solve major life issues, so think about smaller, more manageable day-to-day things. (Try it to come up with ideas for a work presentation, not to decide whether or not you should quit your job.) Before you go to sleep, set an intention to make the solution clearer. Close your eyes and think about the problem for a few minutes, then try writing it down in a notebook by your bed. Finally, focus on something more relaxing (like ASMR videos), before going to sleep.

Does sleep-storming really work?

Actually, yeah. We tried it with a work project that didn’t feel like it was gelling as well as it should. Before going to sleep, we outlined the problem and jotted down a few notes about what we hoped to get out of the sleep-storming session. When we woke up, there wasn’t a dramatic revelation, but throughout the day, a few helpful ideas did pop into our head when we weren’t actively thinking about it.

While we can’t guarantee you’ll come up with your own theory of relativity while sleeping (like Einstein apparently did), sleep-storming could be helpful for figuring out the logistics of that bachelorette party you said you’d plan. 

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sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...