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3 Ways to Be More Creative: Relax, Exercise and Sleep More

3 Ways to Be More Creative: Relax, Exercise and Sleep More

If you’re stressed out, tired and out of shape, so is your brain

If late nights at work leave you groggy and ill-equipped to deal with a morning brainstorming session, here's why: The best ideas come from a healthy, rested brain.

Despite the lore that bad habits go hand in hand with inspiration - think of Ernest Hemingway, Vincent Van Gogh and other creative legends - research points in the opposite direction, says Daniel Amen, CEO of the Amen Clinics, which specialize in brain research. Amen believes that these hard-living artists were creative despite their lifestyles, not because of them.

Although scientists are only beginning to study the specific links between health and creativity, current research (not to mention common sense) suggests that for most of us, stress, sleep and fitness are key factors that influence our creativity. IT leaders who work long hours (such as the 24 percent of respondents to a survey by recruitment firm Harvey Nash in March who said they clock more than 56 hours a week) may not be at their best and most creative at a time when innovation is increasingly important.

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