In 1904 Frederic Myers labeled the transition from sleep to wakefulness the hypnopompic state. This dreamlike mental state is the short period that occurs between deep sleep and alertness. In this space of time the mind is fluid and "open," creating the ideal environment for the free flow of ideas and creative insights. With practice, you can become more conscious of the waking process and utilize this auspicious time of day to its fullest.

Although one of the characteristics of this semi-sleep state can cause disorientation -- such as when you are aroused from a very deep sleep -- it can also be a time offering the opportunity for creative intention. In fact, many people function intelligently during a hypnopompic state. Doctors have been known to answer the phone, offering detailed instructions on patient treatment, only to be mystified the following day when thanked for advice they do not remember dispensing.

The early morning hours are also the best time for problem solving and heightened ingenuity. For example, when you dream -- particularly during the interval between sleep and wakefulness -- logical thinking often takes the back seat while the mind easily creates links between unconnected things. There has been a great deal of research relating to the power of sleep and linking unusual connections. This particular state is where innovation and imagination thrives. It is a proven technique for enhancing creativity, widely used by writers, artists and inventors, including Benjamin Franklin.

Taking full advantage of the hypnopompic state requires some planning. Set your alarm a few minutes earlier and, if possible, use soft music or other peaceful sounds instead of blaring music or the news. Try waking up as slowly as possible. Allow the mind to linger -- stay relaxed and cultivate a sense of calm and equanimity. Be open to any images, ideas and messages that come through. Keep a pen and paper close to your bedside to write down any "eureka" moments, as they can often vanish quickly.

This is also the best time to set your intentions for the day, and these intentions have enormous creative power that help shape your reality. They act as guiding principles that define your values, and how you "show up" in the world. As Wayne Dyer once said, "Our intention creates our reality."

Intentions are purposeful and pointed directives, that act as the "seed" of action. So when you wake up in the morning, before you open your eyes, ask yourself, "what do I want to create today?" or "how do I want to feel?"

Here are more intention setting ideas:

1. "Today, I act with confidence."

2. "I attract healthy and solid relationships."

3. "I have more than enough time and energy."

4. "I am able to embrace change."

5. "I am heard and I am valued."

Try it and see what happens. The semi-conscious hypnopompic state is very potent, and may be a simple tool to help you experience a sense of empowerment and enhanced inspiration.