Flow state during sleep and sampling

edited January 2016 in Everything else
This is a continuation of the discussion stated between meanderpaul, MTS and myself. We kinda were getting the thread off topic, so we are moving the discussion to here. Okay so we were talking about how ideas come to us when we are sleeping or in a peaceful place, I am thinking that this is flow state that we are all entering. The thing that has me stumped is why. Normally you have to be doing something to get into flow state, but here we are not doing anything. It seems like it is being triggered more than entered, again why? My thought is that there is some degree of safety in all the places that our flow state are triggered/entered in, as a result our guard goes down. Then that leads to the question of why does this matter, why is it that we must be feel so safe to get so relaxed. My alternative theory is that we are awake, yet in the mind we are still asleep. The second one I don't even know if it is possible, does anyone hear know much about psychology and brain function. Also anyone else who has had similar experiences, you feel comfortable I would like to request that you would state any external factors. Such as but not limited to dyslexia, autism, and any other abnormality in how you think. I personally have dyslexia, so I am think there may also be a link there. The only way to prove any of this is to increase the sample size. Thank you in advance for your understanding and input.

John Doe


  • This sounds kind of similar to hypnogogia to me. Hypnogogia is the state of consciousness between awake and asleep, and can cause hallucinations in some cases and typically gives the person a lot of creative ideas.
    People like Edison and Tesla supposedly would get some of their ideas from this state. In the other thread it was mentioned that Edison and Dali would hold something in their hand, and if they doze off they would drop it and it would wake them back up. That's most likely because they were trying to achieve this state of maximum creativity.

  • I've read some stuff about Ambien (zolpidem) which is a sleep drug used to treat insomnia, and how while they are 'asleep' they go online and buy stuff or they clean their house, change their cars oil etc. Which i would guess is an an example of hypnogogia.
  • @Luko
    Hum sounds like the potency of that needs to be dialed back....
    Hum I still want to look for a trend to see if it is not more common one way or the other.
  • I definitely agree with you that these states are "triggered" rather than "entered" however I wouldn't necessarily directly attribute a flow-state to a sense of relaxation/safety, but rather a lack of external and/or internal stimuli.  For me personally, I find I work best/most creative after I've meditated, or when I'm slightly sleep deprived. I've had two experiences in a sensory deprivation tank, and for my second time I had taken a high dose of Oxiracetam. Once I had submerged and began to clear my mind, it almost felt like I was consciously witnessing memory consolidation; several internal conversations/problems I'd worked out and things I'd researched in the past few days were brought to the forefront of my attention and I actually came up with a few good ideas and had new conclusions/outlooks on what was "replayed". Also, sensory deprivation tanks are said to induce Theta/Delta brain rhythms, which is associated with sleep/meditation, which could possibly be further associated with "nodding."

    Outside of that subjective experience, my theory is that once we've satisfied our basic "lizard brain needs" (lowered internal stimuli) and relaxed (lowered external stimuli), our brains begin to exit the "problem-solving consciousness." What I'm really describing is the brain comparing/analyzing different thoughts and memories, and the conscious mind making sense of those seemingly random associations. Its not quite a flow-state, but definitely a facet of creativity IMO.
  • @_mz_o__
    Could this be similar to a isolation tank, and it effects?
  • Yes, isolation / sensory deprivation / float tanks are all the same thing. Have you had any experience with them?
  • I haven't personally, but it would be really cool if someone could tell me where i could in Seattle WA.

  • @_mz_o__
    No I haven't been under in one but to build one is on the old (will not be done any time soon) todo list. I want to build waterproof EEG electrodes before I do that though.

    John Doe
  • I don't fully agree with you mz o (man your names hard to @) I don't think it's truly a lizard brain type of deal. Mine is when I hunt (can't get more basic brained). I constantly am looking and listening with all my attention when suddenly it pops in my head. I think it has more to do with the fact that there is such a closeness to the sleep stage more so.

    I could definitely see it possibly working with the tanks because you are "in your own head" so to speak.

    I have slightly experienced this while scuba diving where my mind will run wild with thought (along with the occasional "um I'm breathing underwater").
  • @JohnDoe what do you mean by more common? I'm pretty sure almost everyone is capable of doing this.
  • There has to be a tend to what's triggering them.... Then allowing for us to develop control over it....
  • edited January 2016
    I feel like it would depend on the person. There's probably several ways to get it to trigger.

    Also, what exactly would you describe this "flow state" as? There are several communities who perform something called "void meditation", and the goal of the meditation is to completely eliminate all thought. They call it gnosis. And from what i've heard, with practice you can learn to trigger that whenever you feel like it.

    Although i don't think eliminating thought is the goal here. I'm just seeing some similarities between the two.
  • I think you need to figure go further down on what could cause it. What I mean instead of saying devoid/lots of stimulus say limited/focused or instead of saying it's at night say it's right on the cusp of sleep or right when you wake but haven't even opened your eyes yet but are awake enough to know your surroundings.

    It's going to need to be a specific detail not a big group type of trigger.
  • @thewinterwower
    I define flow state as your point of peak learning and retention. My disire to control it is vary complicated, in my life I have these "highs" like the first time I went over 100miles per hour, the first time I sang with real ability, when I broke 200bpm to the 1/8's on my guitar. The motor reving the resonance shifting from my belly to my head feeling the strings between my fingers and my guitar, the summersaults my stomach did when Achieved all of these things. That sole feeling of the world beneath you feet, that's what I want, that's what I chase.

    I agree but something in the brain is getting triggered or as @thewinterwower suggested maybe turned off. And if we look at what's triggering it may be we can see a trend like sounds of nature or silence. I am thinking right now that ambient noise may have something to do with it.
  • edited January 2016
    Maybe the best idea is generate a list of triggers for it. I do think something is being turned off in the brain, and therefore triggering it.

    I will agree that when i listen to ambient-esque music (which i listen to relatively frequently), i do feel slightly different and more "aware" i guess of my environment. I do have to let myself get absorbed in the music though. That's part of the reason i think this is somewhat similar to what i mentioned earlier about meditation/gnosis.

    In the case of driving over 100mph, and breaking 200bpm on guitar, i would assume thats an adrenaline rush. Are you wanting to be able to trigger an adrenaline rush at will?
  • I'm pretty interested in meditation and the "magic" associated with it. I can provide links for it, even though it's somewhat out of the realm of biohacking.

    Although this good source i've found compared it with brain hacking, so i guess its not COMPLETELY out of the realm of biohacking because you're forcefully changing the way your using your brain.
  • edited January 2016
    @johndoe would you say you were much more focused when you were doing those things? The 100mph and 200bpm. Perhaps creating a high level of focus and introducing a subject would be a way to trigger it?

    Example: me listening and watching for a deer holding my bow and then coming up with a new arrow rest design. (Sorry for the hunting references I know it can upset people but it's mostly what I got.)
  • If we're going for relaxed but focused and sparking up with ideas, showers are actually a really good example of a trigger. Meditating can do that sometimes too.

    So, lets generate a list of triggers now?
  • Okay I am on bored. For me let me start with
    Anger(I have shakey hands and my hands are at there most steady when I am pissed off)
    Being awoken from a deep sleep rapidly
    Listening to music to make my self fall asleep.
    Experimenting with scales and keys that "say it".

    That's all I can think of for now.

    John Doe
  • @johndoe those should be broken down further I'm pretty certain you will find a common thing between them. Because being woken from a deep sleep doesn't work for me it needs more specific trigger.

    when I rode my motorcycle I would say speed was what I wanted but the actual thing I wanted was the adrenaline rush. Which means a motorcycle wouldn't be the only way to accomplish that.
  • I find that night time drives with the music turned up does it for me.
  • Let's start with saying music triggers it through all of us.... Post more later.
  • I can't say that cause music doesn't do it for me
  • What I would like to try is smelling salts in the morning when I wake up and dive into a project. Smelling salts not only wake up an unconscious person but can also make you focus more when awake.
  • Intense measures of emotion can also trigger a flow state for me. Anger, Depression, Extreme nervousness, hapiness.
  • edited January 2016
    Bath salts?
  • No. Smelling salts are basically ammonium carbonate. They release ammonia gas when mixed with water, which'll wake you up by acting as an irritant to the sympathetic nervous system, the lungs, and the nose.
  • @meanderpaul
    What brand of salts do you use use and I will experiment.
  • I do not have any right now. I was using what my buddy had. I will be getting some shortly though.

    @shrbly_exe no not bath salts
  • edited January 2016
    I personally can't get into flow states through anger, fear, nervousness, etc. although depression and maybe happiness do work. I haven't tried deep sleep.

    Only certain kinds of music are triggers for me, like if its progressive/ambient to some degree. @Meanderpaul what kinds of music have you tried listening to to trigger it? It could be because of what you're listening to.

    Night time drives with music will get me there just like @Luko speed does not matter. Its probably because of the ambiance and stimuli from the environment (dark, with sounds that are probably relaxing)

    Once again, i still think speed gives an adrenaline rush and is not the flow state we're looking for. Your body is amping up to prepare itself for fight/flight if something goes wrong.

    I'd like to add that i can achieve it if im doing a somewhat mindless task, like stocking a shelf at work. I kind of consider driving as a mindless task also, since you don't really have to think about what you're doing to control the car.
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