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Last Updated: Monday, 6 September, 2004, 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK
Dream come true for sleep lovers
Research suggests the best ideas are conceived as we doze off
Idle bed-dwellers and sleep-loving students may be the most creative people in the country.

Bed, rather than the office, is the breeding ground for new ideas if new research findings are to be believed.

Almost a third of people polled by the East of England Development Agency claim their brains go into creative overdrive in bed.

The findings - highlighting the wisdom of a siesta - reveal that only 11% of people have their top ideas at work.

Our minds are often most creative when we relax and take time away from everyday pressures
Professor Richard Wiseman

It seems that being in a relaxing environment is the key to success in terms of creativity.

Just 6% of females attribute their creative bursts to the workplace, compared to 17% of men, the survey said.

Psychology professor Richard Wiseman, said: "These new results illustrate how our minds are often most creative when we relax and take time away from everyday pressures.

"In our dreams we produce unusual combinations of ideas that can seem surreal, but every once in a while result in an amazingly creative solution to an important problem".

Professor Wiseman also stressed that the findings reveal the ease with which ideas are produced, but called on bosses to alter working habits to aid creativity.

New approaches

"Ideas can come to people at any time and in any place, but to fully reap the rewards of a creative mind people's brains need to be primed for a new way of thinking", he said.

Beds at work would only boost... sleep?
Wendy, UK

"Britain's bosses must therefore foster new approaches if they want to get the most out of their employees."

The report also points to a number of other ways in which to boost creativity without resorting to installing beds in the workplace.

Decorating flowers and plants in the office is one of the tactics suggested.

Re-organising the office layout - including the creation of a 'creativity' room - and having food and drinks readily available are also offered as ways to relax the workforce and stimulate the production of ideas.

Feng shui

Feng shui expert Paul Darby suggests having a specific room in the west side of a building - as the west symbolises creativity and new ideas in feng shui.

He also prescribes using colours such as white, cream and silvery grey.

Despite most workers being unable to apply their creativity in the office, nearly 70% of those surveyed consider themselves 'ideas' people.

However, there seems to be some disagreement over what constitutes a good idea.

The teabag, which was invented 100 years ago, is considered to be the best invention by 26% of the men polled.

It pushed the invention of sliced bread - which captured 25% of the votes - into a very close second.

But, in stark contrast, over 50% of women considered chocolate or the bra to be their top ideas.

More than four in ten people polled considered the light bulb to be one of the most significant inventions, beating off strong competition from the computer, car and mobile phone.

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