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Journal articles

Sleep onset is a creative sweet spot

Abstract : The ability to think creatively is paramount to facing new challenges, but how creativity arises remains mysterious. Here, we show that the brain activity common to the twilight zone between sleep and wakefulness (nonrapid eye movement sleep stage 1 or N1) ignites creative sparks. Participants (N = 103) were exposed to mathematical problems without knowing that a hidden rule allowed solving them almost instantly. We found that spending at least 15 s in N1 during a resting period tripled the chance to discover the hidden rule (83% versus 30% when participants remained awake), and this effect vanished if subjects reached deeper sleep. Our findings suggest that there is a creative sweet spot within the sleep-onset period, and hitting it requires individuals balancing falling asleep easily against falling asleep too deeply.
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Submitted on : Friday, December 10, 2021 - 12:38:24 PM
Last modification on : Friday, May 20, 2022 - 11:06:47 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, March 11, 2022 - 7:07:02 PM


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Célia Lacaux, Thomas Andrillon, Céleste Bastoul, yannis Idir, Alexandrine Fonteix-Galet, et al.. Sleep onset is a creative sweet spot. Science Advances , American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2021, 7 (50), ⟨10.1126/sciadv.abj5866⟩. ⟨hal-03474706⟩



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