Albert Einstein once revealed he required at least 10 hours of sleep every night, in addition to naps of short duration during the day time. However, what's surprising is that Einstein would make himself nod off to ensure his mind was fresh after the brief siesta.
Einstein even had a routine perfected to ensure he'd nod off instantly and require lesser time to wake-up. He would often sit in his favorite armchair, hold a pencil or spoon in hand and drift off. However, Einstein always ensured he woke up before hitting stage two of sleep. The pencil or the spoon played a very crucial role in waking him up. Einstein placed a plate right below the object he was holding. When the object fell, it created a clang that would wake Einstein instantly. The entire process wouldn't take more than a few seconds, but these micro-naps worked their magic, assured Einstein.
Long before scientists were able to prove the efficacy of short naps during daytime, Albert Einstein knew they were critical for his work, which required absolute focus of the mind. Einstein said waking up while in the first stage of sleep helped to loosen the ego. Moreover, he knew naps helped activate the part of our brain that creates vivid imagery and sensation.
Long after Einstein had perfect the art of napping, scientists took to calling the phenomenon the "hypnogogic" nap. It was established that such naps unlock free flowing creative thoughts. The naps are said to help people solve problems a lot sooner than regular sleepers who do not nap at all.
Salvador Dali, the master of surrealism, who was an avid fan of Albert Einstein copied his concept, but slightly modified the technique. Instead of a pencil or a spoon, Dali kept a key in his hand and just below it, he would place a plate upside-down. Dali is said to require just a few seconds of these micro-naps to feel refreshed.
It is commonly known that sleep has multiple stages. However, Einstein, Dali and many others took advantage of just the very first one – the Hypnagogia, which means "abducting into sleep". Explaining the concept, Anthony Alvarado said, "Hypnagogia is that liminal in-between state where you are just beginning to dream but are still conscious."
Einstein revealed that this half-dreaming, half-awake state helped his mind get flooded with images that were relevant to his research. Albert Einstein certainly isn't alone when it comes to napping. Anyone who has been exceptionally influential to the society has been a napper.
[Image Credit | Bizar Bin]