Can napping boost your creativity?

In recent years, the phenomenon of a ‘power nap’ has gained reputable support from many experts across the globe. Countless studies have shown that a quick afternoon snooze can boost our productivity and fuel us for the day. Today, we discover exactly how we can benefit from a nap, and what it takes to get napping right.


A bright green bed photographed against a serene setting, dressed in silver patterned bed linen.

While increased energy and productivity provide great incentives to nap, our curiosity has driven us to discover another distinct benefit of indulging in an afternoon snooze – its impact on our creative thinking and problem-solving abilities. In today’s fast-paced world, sleep is nature’s balm. It allows us to relax and refresh in the most pleasurable way. As an active process, it also serves many vital functions. From memory consolidation and improved decision-making through to the clearance of brain toxins and cell recovery. It’s why at Savoir we have spent over a century discovering the benefits of a good night’s rest and travelled to every corner of the world in search of the best natural ingredients. Throughout our journey, we have learned from the most esteemed experts, who have guided us towards understanding the science of sleep. One of those individuals is sleep scientist, author, and sleep expert to Savoir, Dr Rebecca Robbins.


Detailed image of the Trellis patterned bed linen in silver, photographed on a bright green bed against a serene setting.
While giving you a boost of energy, napping can also greatly impact your creative-thinking. Image credit: Toby Mitchell for Savoir.

 


 


Together with Dr Robbins, we’ve explored the importance of a consistent schedule that allows the sleeper to reap the benefits of consolidated sleep. Marked by symphonic patterning of entering and re-entering different sleep stages, each characterised by different patterns of brain and body activity. A consistent, consolidated block of sleep allows for the repetition and rehearsing of events from the day, transitioning memories from short to long-term storage and enhancing our ability to gain insight after waking.


While the importance of nocturnal sleep remains unchallenged, here, we focus on understanding the lesser-discovered stage of sleep, the N1, also known as Hypnagogia. This is the first part of our sleep cycle, attainable through a brief nap, and its surprising benefits may leave you leaning toward a mid-day snooze.


[…] recent evidence suggests that the onset of sleep, specifically the transition from wake to sleep (Non-REM, N1 sleep), is a time where we are potentially better able to forge connections between concepts in our recent memory stores and wake having boosted our creativity.


Dr Rebecca Robbins

Anecdotally, both Thomas Edison and Salvador Dalí relied on this short stage of sleep to fuel their problem-solving abilities. They would allow themselves to snooze while holding a heavy object in their hand. Once they entered other stages of sleep, muscles relaxed and caused the object they were holding to fall and wake them up. When awakened from their nap, they’d immediately return to work, fuelled with creativity that enabled them to solve problems they faced beforehand.


Researchers at the Sorbonne Université Paris Brain Institute recruited participants and gave them a math problem requiring creativity. They then offered them the opportunity to sleep and found that those who spent at least 15 seconds in N1 were three times more likely to find the solution than those who remained awake. More recently, researchers at MIT and Harvard Medical School explored the creativity of participants who were able to indulge in a brief nap rich in N1. They found that not only a short-term sleep in N1 boosted post-sleep creativity, but also that dream incubation, or giving a person a specific prompt and challenging them to dream about that topic, even further increased creativity.


Woman sleeping on a Savoir bed dressed in all white bed linen.
Even a quick 15-minute nap can boost your performance.

Elly Suh, the multi-award-winning violinist, and co-star of our latest campaign, ‘A Place to Dream,’ always includes a nap as part of her pre-concert preparations. While practising on the day of the performance can do more harm than good, resting and recharging are considered mandatory for Elly. It not only allows her to feel refreshed and ready to be on stage but also fuels her with clarity and creativity.


[…] the day of a performance is probably my favourite day. It’s really a time I can just take to rest and pamper myself. I don’t do much practising, maybe just a bit of warm-up – I just try to take it easy. Two or three hours before the concert I’ll take a little nap. And the rest of the time, I just relax, drink tea, and enjoy some good food.


Elly Suh, award-winning violinist

In practical terms, the next time you are faced with a challenging project or a difficult problem, instead of reaching for a cup of coffee, consider finding a quiet place and challenge yourself to dream about the topic. Below, Dr Robbins shares with us her tips on napping efficiently, to make sure you make the best out of your afternoon snooze:


“Afternoon is the ideal time for a nap, simply because it is a time when we have likely been awake for the longest, and we all experience a slight dip in core body temperature. To reap the benefits of a nap with respect to creativity, the research suggests a short nap to be most optimal (a duration of 15 minutes or fewer), but if you are very tired, a longer nap can be restorative (a duration of 90 minutes). The ideal environment for a nap would be a quiet, dark place where you can lie down, uninterrupted. And last but most importantly, anyone who is experiencing night-time sleep difficulties should not nap, for doing so can reduce sleep pressure and make it difficult for that person to fall asleep at night.”


 


At Savoir, we are committed to understanding the ever-increasing benefits of a good night’s rest. To discover more stories about the science of sleep, read our conversation with Dr Rebecca Robbins, who highlights the importance of routine and sleep hygiene as key tools for enjoying a lifetime of quality rest.


Everything you need to know about insomnia

Introducing our new series, Sleep Matters, where we dive into sleep problems some of you may experience and discover solutions that’ll bring you a lifetime of restorative sleep. In our first issue, we uncover everything you need to know about insomnia and its effects.


A woman sitting on the edge of a savoir bed wearing pyjamas, after enjoying a restorative night's rest.

While many elements contribute to enjoying a good night’s rest, for some, there are concerns that good sleep hygiene and bedtime routines simply can’t fix. The effects of inadequate sleep can be detrimental to your health. Affecting next-day performance, causing irritability, and compromising your immune system.


Recent research shows that 10% of the worldwide population struggles with insomnia. Additionally, t’s estimated that 35% of people will experience symptoms of insomnia it at some point in their lifetime. Although for most, these symptoms can ease over time, there are others, who’ll experience long-term effects of the disorder.


To understand more, we sit down with Sleep Expert Dr Rebecca Robbins. And together, we uncover everything you need to know about insomnia, the science behind sleep problems and discover how we can tackle their effects so that we can truly enjoy a restorative night’s rest.


World's first luxury plant-based bed, The Reformer, photographed in a calming, minimal setting, surrounded by greenery
World's first luxury plant-based bed, The Reformer, made with materials derived from nature and lovingly refined.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, insomnia is a clinical diagnosis. It’s defined as the subjective perception of difficulty with sleep initiation, duration, consolidation, or quality that occurs despite adequate opportunity for sleep and results in daytime impairment. Insomnia becomes chronic when a person begins having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep for as little as three nights per week for at least two consecutive weeks up to three months.


“So, if you find it difficult to get the rest you need despite giving yourself sufficient time to sleep, it might be time to speak to a health professional, who can diagnose you.”, advises Dr Robbins.


Savoir: What are the most common causes of insomnia?


Dr Robbins: There are many causes of insomnia, ranging from physical, such as hormonal fluctuations, injuries or pain. Psychological causes such as depression and anxiety, and situational, such as when we experience jetlag.


We all can likely relate to the experience of insomnia symptoms at one time or another in our lives. The truth is, sleep is the result of our waking days. This can include stressful events like frustrating professional or personal experiences. All of these can limit our ability to fall asleep or maintain sleep.


The truth is, sleep is the result of our waking days.


Dr Rebecca Robbins

Is there a link between circadian rhythm and insomnia?


Circadian rhythm disorder symptoms are similar to those of insomnia. They can include difficulty falling, staying asleep or waking up too early.


However, symptoms of the former are due to a disruption in the timing of sleep, which can be caused by irregular sleeping times, inadequate time in the daylight and poor diet. Whereas an individual suffering from insomnia can experience all the symptoms even if they practise healthy sleep hygiene.


Image of a person fishing at sunrise in a peaceful lake
Image of The Reformer, a first plant-based luxury bed

Are there any groups of people who are more likely to be at risk of insomnia?


There are a few groups that are at greater risk of insomnia. Unfortunately, sleep systems decline with age, making it more difficult to fall asleep and consolidate sleep. For these reasons, insomnia is more likely among older adults than younger adults. However, individuals with family history of insomnia and those that are prone to stress and worry are also at greater risk. There are certain medical and psychiatric disorders, such as heart disease, asthma, anxiety, and depression that can make an individual more likely to experience insomnia too.


What are the consequences of untreated insomnia?


Untreated insomnia can present short consequences, including irritability, feelings of anxiety and depression. It can also affect our immune system and increase the risk of colds and flu. There is also research that estimates the costs of untreated insomnia to be as high as $100 billion US dollars per year. This is due to additional healthcare costs, reduced productivity, and accidents.


Concerningly, in the longer term, including increased risk for chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and obesity. There is also evidence that untreated insomnia could place older adults at an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, therefore, underscoring the importance of being treated.


How does insomnia affect our mental and physical well-being?


Those suffering from insomnia can face myriad challenges to their mental and physical well-being and performance. Untreated insomnia presents risks for brain fog and lower productivity, shorter attention span, and less creative problem-solving. An individual may also experience increased feelings of anxiety, which can greatly affect both their personal and professional life.


Image of a lake surrounded by lush evergreens
Spending time outdoors and getting enough daylight can greatly reduce the risk of symptoms of insomnia.

We’re more aware of our well-being and the importance sleep plays in this. Does this mean there are fewer people suffering from insomnia than before the COVID-19 pandemic?


We do have evidence that symptoms of insomnia increased in prevalence across the globe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, which was marked by conditions ripe for insomnia, including tremendous uncertainty and unknown.


What can someone do to manage the symptoms of insomnia?


Fortunately, there is a range of treatments for insomnia. These include both pharmacological interventions as well as behavioural treatments. Excitedly, research shows that these two pathways are both highly efficacious for attenuating insomnia symptoms and improving quality of life.


On the behavioural side, the gold standard treatment is called “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia” and includes specific recommendations to help the person suffering from insomnia to reframe how they think about sleep and their bedroom. Another central piece of CBTI is relaxation training and learning meditation and mindfulness exercises to ease tension around bedtime.


Untreated insomnia presents risks for brain fog and lower productivity, shorter attention span, and less creative problem-solving.


Dr Rebecca Robbins

Lastly, are there any precautions we can take to prevent insomnia?


There are a handful of precautions we can all take. Following a healthy diet and exercising regularly can greatly impact an individual’s likelihood to experience insomnia. You should also introduce a consistent sleeping routine, spend an adequate amount of time in the daylight and outdoors and avoid alcohol and caffeine after 2pm.


If the symptoms of insomnia sound like something you are experiencing, we recommend reaching out to a Sleep Specialist, who can assist you further and recommend the right treatment for you.


Dr Robbins is Assistant Professor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Scientist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and has been an expert on the science of sleep for Savoir since 2020.


Beauty, sleep, and circadian rhythm with ByNACHT founder Jessica Hoyer

It was only a matter of time – and perhaps the right person, to bring beauty into the world of sleep. Inspired by her own experience with poor-quality sleep, ByNACHT founder, Jessica Hoyer, explores the connection between beauty, sleep, and circadian rhythm.


ByNacht sleeping balm

As experts in handcrafting the world’s finest beds, we are committed to discovering the ingredients that make up a restorative night’s rest. Throughout this journey, we have met some of the most esteemed individuals within the wellness space. Bringing together their knowledge, science and curiosity, these experts challenge the common perception of sleep and aim to provide modern-day solutions that deliver a lifetime of quality sleep.


Driven by her own experience with lack of sleep, Jessica Hoyer embarked on understanding the connection between beauty, sleep, and circadian rhythm. Combining cutting-edge technology with insight from world-leading sleep experts, she created a brand that makes our sleeping routines all that more luxurious.


With a curated range of creams, serums, and balms, ByNACHT (German for ‘By night’), provides key ingredients to a wholesome sleeping routine. Today, we sit down with Jessica Hoyer, who talks us through what inspired her journey and how her findings influence her approach to beauty sleep.


Image of Jessica Hoyer in black and white, showcasing her creating inspired beauty moodboards for her brand BYNACHT
Jessica Hoyer, the founder of BYNACHT. Image Credit: BYNACHT
Image of BYNACHT's sleeping balm in an open container on a white table.
The iconic sleeping balm. Image credit: BYNACHT

I wanted a concept and products that were wholesome, yet cutting-edge in ingredients and something that didn’t fall short in all aspects of the lines I used to buy.


Jessica Hoyer, founder of BYNACHT

Savoir: Is ByNACHT inspired by your own experience with lack of sleep? 


Jessica Hoyer: Yes, ByNACHT was literally born out of my own sleepless nights. Before I started the brand, I had my own advertising agency and was working for big international clients and frequently flying around the world for work. I was constantly jet-lagged, exhausted, and looked – and felt dull. My mother (a certified aromatherapist) mixed me the ‘sleeping balm’, which is still a bestseller and the original recipe as of today, and I finally had a good night’s sleep.  


Now, I was looking to find a skincare that helped with me looking dull. I wanted a concept and products that were wholesome, yet cutting-edge in ingredients and something that didn’t fall short in all aspects of the lines I used to buy. And there wasn’t a cure for it in the current skincare market. I didn’t find anything that was closing the gap between the scientific findings around sleep being a catalyst for great skin. When I started looking into studies I was immediately fascinated and knew I had found something very special. 


 


What’s driven you to explore the connection between circadian rhythm, sleep, and beauty? 


I have never intended to be a part of the beauty industry but created my brand out of my own passion after reading all the studies and mostly my need to find something that is science-based and holistic in the approach to combine sleep and skin. Because these scientific studies and findings all state that sleep quality impacts skin function and ageing. 


In terms of science, my biggest learning was that every single study and scientific research facts and findings say that skin renewal, wound healing, growth hormones, collagen production, fibroblast renewal and overall turn-cell over and really, basically everything else that is needed for amazing skin are ONLY happening at night.  


As for wound healing, it was mind-blowing to see what the right ingredients (at this time it was our ultra-repair serum) and a good night’s sleep can do for your skin. And those scientific facts were, and still are my biggest guidance when creating a new product.


A close-up image of the Rocco design, upholstered in decadent deep blue velvet, with brass gold details and marble finishes
Image credit: Rocco Design by Savoir, photographed by Alexander James

 


 


How did your findings inform your approach to sleep and beauty? 


Skin never sleeps and that is probably the most interesting research finding ever. During the day, your skin is in a protective state, warding off elements such as sun damage or oxidation. While at night, your skin goes into renewal mode, regenerating new skin cells and cycling oxygen and nutrients. 


Our skin has its own circadian clock. Different skin processes occur at different times according to this internal schedule. Night time is prime time for repairing damage and rebuilding cells and tissues, and cell renewal is up to 8 times higher. Collagen production and Growth hormone (HGH) production are at a peak which in turn accelerates skin regeneration and the production of antioxidant enzymes.  


The bottom line is – support your skin at night with the right products and you will see a dramatic difference in your complexion by day.


Jessica Hoyer

What is your current bedtime routine and how do you maintain it when travelling? 


The time before going to bed is my ‘me-time’ and whether I have 10 or 30 minutes, I never skip cleansing my face and applying my skincare. I combine this with my relaxing playlist and write down every single to-do and thought in a little notebook, so my head is clear when I go to sleep.  


That is a game-changer really, so I feel well-prepared for the next day, and nothing gets lost when I have my morning coffee. This routine is something I really stick to, even when I am travelling because I found it to make such a difference the next morning in terms of how I look and feel. I also always bring our mini travel sizes with me when I’m away.


 


What’s the one luxury you can’t live without? 


I think a lot of people would expect me to say that my biggest luxury is sleep now, but for me, sleep is a necessity and vital for my well-being and overall health. I have learned so much about the importance of a good night’s sleep that I treat it as a priority. So, I will go with time with my son, as this is really the thing that means the most to me and no amount of money, work or opportunity could make me compromise or minimize that time.  


Image of our Rocco design, featuring marble elements and decadent deep blue velvet upholstery
Image credit: Rocco Design by Savoir, photographed by Alexander James

For those unfamiliar with ByNACHT, is there one product you recommend starting with? 


Ohh, that’s a hard question as I love all of our products but I personally would say our Hypercharged Glass Skin Serum (a worldwide and award-winning bestseller we can’t keep in stock for long until sold out) that features an outstanding combination of eight different Hyaluronic acids and an unmatched combination of 13 different active botanical extracts.  


I would go as far as to say that if you have ever tried it, you will never go back to an ‘ordinary’ Hyaluronic Serum ever again. It is that good.  And then there is of course our original – the Sleeping Balm. It always works and thousands of raving customers can’t lie. You will sleep.


 


Do we need a different approach to skincare at night, than we do during the day? 


Yes, absolutely and in so many aspects – from the quality and components of ingredients to the sheer quantity we use. We need a lot more active ingredients at night in order to wake up with the best skin because of the skin being so active at night and some other factors like trans epidermal water loss. At night, the skin’s cells regenerate fastest due to the increased blood flow to the skin. If you use effective products, your skin can maximize its rejuvenation with serums and creams that help the skin renew itself. 


And for that, we need to have a night-time skincare line that is addressing skin issues before the regenerative process of sleep begins. So, ByNACHT products are designed very differently, you will see a difference within one night already. I strongly believe that high quality and efficacy will always come through.  


At night, the skin’s cells regenerate fastest due to the increased blood flow to the skin. If you use effective products, your skin can maximize its rejuvenation with serums and creams that help the skin renew itself. 


Jessica Hoyer

 


 


And lastly, what is your advice for achieving a restorative night’s rest? 


My advice would be to invest in making your bedroom a sanctuary and a place where you really just rest. I never work or use my laptop in bed but make sure I keep a book and a pen nearby to write done any wandering thoughts before sleep.  


Investing in a high quality bed is also vital. We spend a lot of time in our beds and for me, that is the most important piece of furniture in my house.  


I also stick to the common rules, such as no phone before sleep, having a colder room temperature and if I am very exhausted, I take a warm bath before bed and do some breathwork and apply our sleeping balm- and I am off to the land of dreams.  


Image of BYNACHT's iconic sleeping balm, showing the open balm jar
ByNACHT's bestselling sleep balm. Image credit: BYNACHT

Savoir champions innovative ideas and solutions that inspire a restorative night’s rest. Alongside honouring handcraft and only the finest, natural materials, we’re committed to discovering the ingredients – and benefits of sleep, that deliver a lifetime of unhurried luxury and health.


Learn more about ByNACHT here.