Why your brain is utterly creative just before sleep

You’re just about to drift off to sleep after a long day, and your brain will not shut down.

Rather than going comfortably to sleep land, your brain starts to run around and you find yourself coming up with ideas or solving problems. Why is that?

As you go throughout your day your brain is bombarded with incoming information non-stop. Everything around you is subtly processed through your brain: the sound of birds outside, the sound of an AC unit, dust floating around a room, the ambient lighting around you, the feeling of your clothing hanging around your shoulders, everything is processed through your brain.

When you lay down to go to sleep at night you are suddenly shutting out most of that incoming data, which means your brain finally has time to make sense of everything going on.

This explains why sleep is so valuable to creative thinkers: taking a break from everything else allows your brain to do what it does best: think.


It’s also important to note that because your brain is utterly creative before sleep that having a notebook nearby is a good idea. More on that from this Idea Champions blog post.

Illustration by Jelene Morris.