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Sleeping for profit

An executive coach's tips for getting work done while you snooze.

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(Fortune Small Business) -- For business owners eager to put their subconscious minds to work, Alan Stafford has some tips. Based in Charlotte, Stafford launched three successful firms before embarking on his current career as an executive coach. Today he's a devoted sleepworker who teaches his method to clients.

The first step, Stafford says, is to identify the problem you want to solve, but without trying to solve it.

"Too often we jump to a 'solution' before we understand the real problem," he notes. Then, in bed just before dozing off, ask yourself for the answer. "This question should be your last waking thought, and again, no trying to consciously problem solve," Stafford says.

The third step: patience. "It may take a day or two for the answer to pop into your head, seemingly from the blue," he explains.

Try keeping a dream journal near your bed so you can write down both the questions you ask your subconscious to tackle and any answers that arrive in the night, says Lynn Robinson, author of Trust Your Gut: How the Power of Intuition Can Grow Your Business.

She also suggests waking slowly. This may mean ditching that alarm clock with the heart-stoppingly loud beep in favor of a device that wakes you gently to bird song, or even the gentle ruffle of dollar bills landing in your bank account. To top of page

Have sleep issues affected your work? Join the discussion in our forum - or share your story in video and pictures with iReport.

Make sleep work for you

In praise of the power nap

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