Prospecting interdisciplinarity in health, education and social sciences

Chapter XI
SLEEP AND CREATIVITY: A QUANTITATIVE REVIEW
RUI MARGUILHO 1, SAUL NEVES DE JESUS 2, JOÃO VISEU 3,
CLAUDIA LENUŢA RUS 4, NATHÁLIA BRANDOLIM 5
Universidade do Algarve, Portugal, rui.marguilho@gmail.com
Universidade do Algarve, Portugal, snjesus@ualg.pt
Universidade do Algarve, Portugal, joaonrviseu@gmail.com
Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj Napoca, Ramania, klau_dia1907@yahoo.com
Universidade Metodista de São Paulo, Brasil, nathalia_brandolim@msn.com

Abstract: Sleep has been a widely studied topic by psychology or by medicine, due to its
impact on behavior, and homeostatic physical wellbeing. Somehow avoided by researchers,
due to its complexity and difficulty in establishing strict criteria, creativity research has
evolved significantly in recent years. The aim of this study was to perform a meta-analytic
study relating sleep and creativity. No similar studies were found in the literature. This metaanalysis includes nine independent samples (representing 5826 participants) that met the
inclusion criteria. The results showed the expected positive relationship between the amount
of sleep and creativity (r = .35, 95%; CI = [.31; .40]). The homogeneity tests showed that
there is no influence of moderators in this respect. Also indicated a weak relationship between
sleep quality and creativity, but influenced by moderators. Although we have not conducted
an analysis of moderators due to few number of studies, we conclude that the influence of
sleep on creativity is more than a simple linear relationship.
Keywords: Creativity, meta-analysis, sleep.
Sleep has been a widely studied topic either
in psychology or in medicine, because of its
impact on behavior, physical and
homeostatic welbeing.
Sleep is a complex behavioral stage and one
of the great mysteries of modern
neuroscience (Rechtschaffen & Bergmann,
2002), yet the latest research and
techniques are already able to describe and
interpret many of the biological
mechanisms of sleep (Carter et al, 2012.;
Siegel, 2011), advancing not only in the
description of the sleep pathologies, but
also on processes that lead to a good quality

1. INTRODUCTION
In recent decades the global scientific
production has evolved exponentially. This
level of productivity resulted from the
continued interest in the development of
new technologies. Over two decades ago
meta-analysis was proposed as a procedure
that combines results from multiple studies
to make a reproducible and quantifiable
data synthesis. This methodology allows, in
cases of apparently conflicting results, an
overview of the situation (Boissel, 1994;
D'Agostino & Weintraub, 1995).

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that sleep plays a decisive role in the
processing of associative memory, it’s still
unknown what role the sleep quality has in
other type of implicit processes of decisionmaking, learning or implicit learning
processes. Other studies have been done, to
realize it’s weigh in: (a) personality
(Dorsey & Bootzin, 1995); (b) motivation
(Mathias et al, 2014.); and (c) stress (Elder,
Wetherell, Barclay, & Ellis, 2014) or, to
understand how sleep is related to diseases
or health problems, not only as a cause of
some, but also in how it is affected by other
health problems causing circadian rhythm
sleep disorders.
Pace-Schott and Hobson (2002), support
the thesis that sleep is restorative of
cognitive functions, once it has a function
in memorizing development processes due
to the high activity of neurons in the limbic
system and cortex.
The study by Cai, Mednick, Harrison and
Kanady (2009) adds, and suggests that the
phase of REM sleep increases the creative
process more than any other state of sleep.
This research is based on the positive
effects of nap, revealing how sleep,
especially REM sleep, helps form new
associative networks in the brain and useful
connections between ideas, being the key to
creativity.
Within the psychology there has been a
growing interest for the study of creativity.
In educational system, for example, is
intended to foster creativity in education.
At the organizational level, due to the ever
changing needs and adaptation to new
technologies and more flexible media, there
is also a strong call to understand creativity
in areas such as management, marketing
and media.
Research in recent years has led to greater
specialization of the authors and the results
of research, leading to diversification of
studies on subjects that become more

of sleep (Miro, Cano-Lozano, & BuelaCasal, 2005). It is a fundamental biological
function, we spent about a third of our lives
sleeping. The meaning we give to a good
night's sleep is an essential aspect of our
lives, demonstrating the research that there
is a close relationship between the sleep
process and the physical and psychological
well-being (Miró et al., 2005)
Miró and cols. (2005) state that several
changes in the quantity, quality or timing of
sleep influence the long-term physical and
mental health. These authors also consider
that current lifestyles lead to frequent
changes in sleep patterns and hence the
quality of life.
According to Boscolo, Sacco, Antunes,
Mello and Tufik (2007) physical and
mental health are associated with a good
quality of sleep, and healthy people enjoy
the benefits of a good sleep quality in
biological, psychological , emotional,
intellectual and social aspects, acquiring
satisfaction and better performance at work
but also in leisure activities, thus
contributing to a good quality of life.
Proven experiences have suggested that
learning abilities or acquisition of
information not only have place during the
daily learning exposure to stimuli, but
continue to develop during the resting
periods in which the subject is not directly
exposed to information or task . The resting
time, including sleep, can be beneficial
(Diekelmann & Born, 2010; Maquet, 2010;
Stickgold, 2005).
Recent studies indicate that the standby
time may promote formation of relations
between the learned information, a great
improvement after a sleep period
(Ellenbogen, Hu, Payne, Titone, & Walker,
2007). The brain is equipped with implicit
learning mechanisms that extract patterns
from the information to which it is exposed
(Reber, 1967; 1989). Although it is known
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phenomenon which produces something
new (product or solution) that has some
kind of value (Morais, 2001).
This phenomenon of creation involves
several cognitive processes (eg, memory),
incorporating implicit and explicit learning,
but also aspects such as motivation (Jesus,
Rus, Lens, & Imaginário, 2013) and
personality.
Given this concept and also the importance
that sleep quality can have on the
development of well-being, quality of life
and motivation, we think the study is made
relevant and important to introduce further
empirical studies.

complex. On this basis, there is also a
tendency to turn on specific variables and
make new analyzes. This diversification
leads to a better understanding of human
behavior in all its complexity.
Creativity is an important aspect in many
areas, including the everyday, arts, science,
business, social interaction or education
(Moran, 2010). In the organizational area
many have pointed creativity as an engine
for development in a growing economy and
changing (Park, Lubinski, & Benbow,
2008). As the business reach a global scale,
many analysts predict that the creativity and
innovation of the workforce will be the
most important factors to establish and
maintain a competitive advantage (Coelho,
Augustus & Lages, 2011), and to survive
and have long-term success (George &
Zhou, 2001).
We have seen some initiatives to develop
the understanding and development of this
concept. In line with this, the European
Council declared 2009 as the year of
creativity due to the growing need for new
approaches either in business or in
education and also in research.
Creativity is a multifaceted phenomenon
that requires different approaches to be
understood (Ward & Kolomyts, 2010).
Several authors differ on considering what
should be taken into account in the
assessment of creativity. There are four
dimensions in which we can assess
creativity: (a) person; (b) product; (c)
process; and (d) situation (Sternberg, 2010).
For our study we tried not to specify the
type of creativity that we approach, so as
not to limit the concept, because it was not
our goal. Meusburger, Funke and Wunder
(2009) found more than 100 definitions in
the literature. Similarly to Hilário and colls.
(2010)
identified
239
evaluation
instruments for creativity. However,
creativity is always considered as a

2. Objectives
In the light of the necessity to integrate the
existing literature, them of this study is to
summarize the empirical research on the
effects of various factors associated with
sleep in creativity using meta-analytic
techniques. The analysis focused on studies
that have assessed the influence of factors
related to sleep on creativity.
2.1 Hypotheses
According to the existing literature, we
present the following assumptions:
(H1) Sleep has positive influence on
creativity;
(H2) Sleep has negative influence on
creativity; and
(H3) Sleep has no influence on creativity.
3. METHODS
3.1 Search Criteria
The relevant articles were included and
identified by electronic search using a
systematic search in the following
databases: (a) EBSCO; (b) Scopus; and (c)
Web of Science (WoS). The terms used for
the research were: (a) "sleep and
creativity"; (b) "sleep and creative"; and (c)
"sleep intervention and creativity." This
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different studies and are a key tool in metaanalysis. They are standardized measures
(ie, independent from what the variable
expresses and sample size) for assessing the
size of the impact of one variable over
another (eg, the size of the difference
between groups or the size of association
between two variables ) according to the
formulas presented by Hunter and Schmidt
(2004) and Morris and Deshon (2002). A
positive value indicates that the quality of
sleep influences creativity. In studies in
which there are no values for the effect size,
it will be calculated from the given mean
(using a weighted mean).
Since the analyzed studies have
experimental design, the value used for the
the effect size is "r", which represents the
relationship between sleep and creativity of
the experimental group and the control
group using the method of Hunter and
Schmidt (1990, 2004 ). A positive value
will mean that the sleep quality increases
the results of creativity and a negative value
reflects that quality of sleep decreases
creativity.
Based on the random effects model, it was
assumed that the effect size is variable
rather than constant (Hunter & Schmidt,
2004; Kisamore & Brannick, 2008).
When the effect size was not mentioned in
the study, mean and standard deviation
were used to calculate it, according to
Hunter and Schmidt (2004).
First, the correlation was calculated (r ̅0) of
the weighted means. The weighting
variable in our study was the sample size
(N) (Brannick Yang, & Cafri, 2011). This
procedure gives a greater weight to
correlations that are less susceptible to
sampling error (Hunter & Schmidt, 2004).
Only the correlation weighted average
value was calculated, as more than half of
the selected studies did not report
instrument used to measure the reliability of

search resulted in 1273 articles related to
the topics listed in the keywords. The
selected studies met the chosen criteria to
be included in the analysis.
After this process, we searched for the
studies published by the end of 2013. This
search yielded 127 results for possible
inclusion in the study were surveyed.
After slecting through the inclusion criteria,
the final number of selected articles was 9.
These studies represent 9 independent
samples and 5826 participants. The
following inclusion criteria were defined:
(a) to be published in English; (b) include
the analysis of the relationship between
sleep and creativity on an individual basis
for each subject; (c) analyze the
relationship between sleep and creativity
using an experimental design to allow for
comparison between the experimental and
control; and (d) include values of the effect
size or data elements to calculate the same.
The sample included in the study was
analyzed by two authors and encoded in
terms of: (a) author; (b) year; (c) sample
size; (d) sample type (ie, children,
adolescents, adults and old); (e) type of
creativity (ie, product, process, person and
situation); (f) sleep (ie, quality, insomnia,
REM sleep, dreams); and (g) type of study.
We used the Montero and León (2005)
taxonomy for classification of studies. This
encoding system allows the comparison
between the diferent studies.
4. PROCEDURE
We chose the inclusion criteria of statistical
indicators Pearson correlation coefficient
(r) between sleep variables and creativity or
statistical data that can be processed to
achieve this coefficient. The studies to
examine are the most experimental, so we
will calculate the effect size.
The standardized effect size measures that
allow comparisons between results from
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the variables included in the analysis. Next,
we calculated the estimated confidence
interval for each mean correlation r. A 95%
confidence interval was used to assess the
accuracy of the estimate of the effect size.
It was expected that the effect would fit
within a 95% confidence interval. Finally,
the degree to which the the effect size is
homogeneous was estimated using the rule
of 75% Hunter and Schmidt (1990, 2004).
The value of the calculated variation, using
this meta-analytic technique provides an
indication of the degree in which the
variability in all studies may be due to
factors other than the sampling errors. A
value less than 75% of the observed
variation indicates the presence of
moderating the relationship between sleep
and creativity. The homogeneity of the
magnitude of the effect was assessed by the
following test χ² (Ellis, 2010; Schmidt &
Hunter, 1990). A significant probability of
χ² test indicates the presence of a
moderator.

5. RESULTS
The aim of the study was to analyze the
relationship between the quality/quantity of
sleep and creativity through meta-analysis
techniques. First, we present the results of
the meta-analysis for the correlations
between the amount of sleep and creativity,
including the main effects (Table 1),
followed by the moderator effects (Table
2).
Table 1 contains the results of the Metaanalysis of the effects correlation between
the amount of sleep and creativity. The data
reflect the number of independent samples
investigated each one (k), the total number
of participants in the sample under
examination (N), given that the size of the
sample weighted means the effect size (r ̅0).
Table 2 includes the estimated standard
deviation (SD), the 95% confidence
interval (CI 95%), the percentage of
variance explained by the sampling error
(%) and the χ². test.

Table 1. Characteristics of Studies Included in the Meta-analysis of Sleep and Creativity quantity
correlation (N = 4)
Reference
N
Sample type
1. Brand et al. (2011)
5580
Students
2. Cai, Mednick, Harrison,
77
General Population
Kanady, & Mednick (2009)
3. Horne (1988)
24
Students
4. Wimmer, Hoffman, Bonato,
25
Students
& Moffitt (1992)
Note. N = sample; r = Pearson Correlation Coefficient.

Study design
Correlational
Experimental

r
.35
.10

Experimental
Experimental

.66
.25

Table 2. Total results between sleep quantity and creativity
Variável
Creativity

k
4

N
5706

࢘ത0
.35

SD
.0

95% IC
[.31; .40]

% Explained var.
< 75%

χ²(k-1)
.00

p value
1.00

Note. k = number of independent samples; N = total number of participants; r ̅0 = Weighted mean of
observed the effect size; 95% CI = 95% confidence interval = the average size of the correlation effect;
% Explained var. = explained variance of the effect size observed; χ² (k-1) = chi-square test value; p
value = probability of Chi-square test.

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The results indicate that the correlation
between the amount of sleep and creativity
is moderate (r = .34 ̅0). The relationship
between these two variables is significant,
which is reflected in the 95% CI [.31; .40]
that does not include the value 0, suggesting
a positive relationship between the amount
of sleep and creativity.
Even if 95% of the r ̅0 mean indicates the
presence of a significant relationship
between the amount of sleep and creativity,
homogeneity of variance tests show that
this relationship is not influenced by
moderators. As shown in Table 2, the
percentage of variance explained by other
variables is less than 75%. The
heterogeneity of effect size across studies
included in the analysis was not reflected
by the chi-square test. The test value is

significant at p <.01. Thus, the percentage
of variance explained by the chi-square test
does not indicate the need for moderation
analysis of the relationship between the
amount of sleep and creativity. The results
show us that the amount of sleep and
creativity are moderately correlated,
showing the importance of the number of
hours of sleep in the creative performance
of a subject.
Table 3 contains the results of the metaanalysis of correlation effects between
sleep quality and creativity. The data
presented reflects the number of
independent samples within each ratio (k),
the total number of participants in the
sample under examination (C), and the size
of the sample weighted mean effect size
(r ̅0).

Table 3. Features of the studies included in the meta-analysis Correlation of Sleep Quality and
Creativity (N = 5)
Reference
1. Brand et al. (2011)
2. Chivers & Blagrove (1999) –
sample 1
3. Healey & Runco (2006)
4. Lewin & Glaubman (1975)
5. Randazzo, Muehlbach,
Schweitzer, & Walsh (1998)
6. Sladeczek & Domino (1985)

N
Type of sample
5580
Students
32 General population

Study design
Correlational
Correlational

r
.18
-.08

60
12
16

Students
Students
Students

Experimental
Experimental
Experimental

-.31
.37
.33

60

Students

Experimental

.17

Nota. N = sample; r = Pearson correlation coefficiente.
Table 4. Total results between sleep quality and creativity
Variable
Creativity

k
6

N
5852

࢘ത0
.17

SD
.0

95% IC
-

% explained var.
>75%

χ²(k-1)
.00

p value
1.00

Note. k = number of independent samples; N = total number of participants; r 0̅ = Observed weighted
mean of the effect size; 95% CI = 95% confidence interval = mean size of the correlation effect; % of
Explained var. = explained variance of the effect size observed; χ² (k-1) = chi-square test value; p value
= probability of Chi-square test.

The results indicate that the correlation
between the quality of sleep and creativity

is positive but weak (r = .17) and
significant.

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Future studies should examine the impact
of moderation variables in the relationship
between sleep quality and creativity.
Some authors (eg, Miro, Cano-Lozano, &
Buela-Casal, 2005) argue that a better
quality/quantity of sleep improves
cognitive performance, motivation and
creativity, and this statement can be
confirmed by the results presented in this
study.
The implications of studies on creativity are
of great importance in accordance with the
lines of the European Community which
recently recognized the need of developing
this investigation, when celebrated 2009 as
"The Year of Creativity".
Despite the complexity of this construct
several investigation lines point to the
development of research in this area,
largely due to the importance attached to
innovation, new solutions and new methods
of learning, as referred Starko (2010).
Future
studies
investigating
sleep
associated with creativity should address
the issue of quality of sleep and moderators
involved in the relationship of the two
variables.

The two homogeneity tests revealed that
this relationship is influenced by
moderators. As shown in Table 4, the
percentage of variance explained by other
variables is greater than 75%. The
heterogeneity of effect size across studies
included in the analysis was reflected by the
chi-square test. The test value is significant
at p <.01. Thus, the percentage of explained
variance indicates the need for moderation
analysis of the relationship between sleep
quality and creativity. In short, the quality
of sleep influences the creativity of
phenomena, although this relationship is
weak, pointing to the existence of other
factors involved in this relationship.
4. CONCLUSIONS
The goal of this study was to summarize the
empirical studies that investigated the
relationship between sleep and creativity,
using meta-analytic techniques.
We decided, based on the collected studies,
to have two separate analyzes. The first in
which we analyzed the results of the
relationship between amount of sleep and
creativity, and the second in which we
analyzed the results of the relationship
between sleep quality and creativity. The
characteristics of the studies we collect
enabled us to analyze sleep in two ways
(quantity and quality) in relation to
creativity.
On the basis of samples taken from 9
independent samples, we conclude that
there is a direct relationship positive but
moderate between the amount of sleep and
creativity, and this is not influenced by
moderators.
We also conclude that the relationship
between sleep quality and creativity is weak,
yet positive, this being influenced by
moderators. In this way, we realize that the
influence of sleep quality on creativity is
more than a simple linear relationship.

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