Typically I go to bed between 2100 and 2200. I guess I’m lucky in being able to fall asleep almost immediately and sleep soundly for six or seven hours. I usually awaken around 0330 and go to the bathroom. Nowadays, I get back in bed and start thinking about the projects I’m working on and their design issues. When I had a regular day job I would usually get up and do computer work instead of going back to bed.
I’ll spend a hour or so working in a creative visualization mode. I probably develop most of my best new ideas in that state. I’ve been aware of this tool for many years. Long ago I described it to someone who knew something about psychology and they told me it was called lucid dreaming.
Recently, I read the Wikipedia article about it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypnagogia I suppose there are many variants and I have never experienced some of those the article discusses. What I experience has some dreamlike characteristics. I’m resting comfortably, eyes closed and seeing visual images. In contrast to my dreams which usually are composed of wandering and irrational, ridiculous images, the lucid state is completely in my control and rational. I can work through a project from stock selection to finished object in a stepwise manner. What is different is that I seem to think of more options or variations than had occurred to me in previous planning.
This phenomena doesn’t happen every day. I’m most aware of it when I am actively working on designing projects. It might be more common during the long dark winter nights when I’m inclined to stay in bed longer anyway.
I’m in a pretty creative phase right now so I am experiencing the creative dreaming regularly. I think it may be something like a self-fulfilling prophesy - the more I believe in it the better it works. But, then again, it might just be an excuse to stay in a warm bed an hour longer