5 Surprising Facts About Daydreams
They distract us for a shocking 47 percent of our waking hours
. They make us feel undisciplined and unproductive. And they don't even make us happier. So what's the upside?
They'll Bring Out Your Inner Rube Goldberg
You have two minutes. How many uses can you think of for a brick? Chances are, you'll generate more ideas—creative ones—if you stop to daydream first
than if you stay focused. When volunteers in a study at the University of California at Santa Barbara tried this, they were a shocking 41 percent more prolific. As in REM sleep
, the daydreaming mind is doing more than just undressing your neighbor or accepting a Nobel Prize. Unconsciously, it's working on a solution, recombining bits of information and making unexpected connections. Try the study's drill: Ponder your problem, and then let yourself space out (watch objects drift on a screensaver, for instance) for 12 minutes