Technology Our brain is hyper-creative a few minutes before we fall asleep

Our brain is hyper-creative a few minutes before we fall asleep

If you’re stuck for ideas, take a micro-nap. A French study shows that the brain goes through a “eureka moment”, when our brain is working at full speed, just before falling asleep.

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If you feel like you’re lacking genius, the solution is to take a break, but there is one technique that works much better than the others. This is what researchers from Inserm and the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute in Paris have just demonstrated. Their work has been published in Advances Sciences. This technique consists of “almost” taking a nap. The researchers floored 103 volunteers on a complex arithmetic problem, but there was actually a logical trick to solving it simply. Spontaneously, 16% of the participants found the solution. These were left out of the experiment. The researchers then suggested to all those who were blocking the problem, to take a break.

Some had to take a nap sitting in the dark, others were able to enjoy a break without a nap, and the last had the mission to go to drowsiness but the participants had to wake up just before sleeping and to they were asked to take a plastic bottle in their hand, and when it fell to the floor as it approached sleep – because the muscles relax – participants in this group had to stand up and return to the problem. math. They are the ones who then succeeded the best in solving the problem by far since 83% of the participants in this group found the solution against only 14% of those who had napped and 30% of those who had. a break without sleeping.

When we even spend a few tens of seconds in this border zone between sleep and waking – which is the first phase of sleep – there is both a loss of control of thoughts and a form of lucidity. It is the ideal cocktail for creativity, because this state allows the brain to generate associations of new ideas, original, but which remain anchored in reality, it is what the researchers call the “eureka moment”.

The difficulty lies in reaching this border area and waking up before falling into deep sleep. The best technique is actually taking a nap with an object in your hand and you get up when it falls to the ground. It was a ritual of Thomas Edison, a prolific inventor in the fields of electricity, cinema and sound. Remember that this scientist was nevertheless the source of nearly 1,000 patents. Does this “eureka moment“helps to solve all types of problems? Not only in science but does it also help to make professional, emotional, artistic decisions? This is a real question and it will be the subject of the next work of this team from researchers at the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute There is still a lot to discover about this number one phase of sleep, which allows our brains to make sparks but which only lasts a few minutes. that 5% of a total night’s sleep.

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