French scientists from Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital report that in the gray zone on the verge of wakefulness and sleep, a person’s creativity increases, his ability to make quick and extraordinary decisions.
It is known that artists, scientists and inventors consider the moment of transition from wakefulness to sleep a period of insights and discoveries. For example, Salvador Dali and Thomas Edison deliberately began to doze with an object in their hand, so that at the moment of transition to sleep it would fall and wake them up, making it possible to write down the solution found during the gray zone.
More than a hundred volunteers participated in the study, who were hung with sensors of brain, eye and muscle activity for the duration of the experiment. As the problem posed to them, the solution of which should have been found on the verge of sleep and wakefulness, scientists used the Number Reduction Task. First, the volunteers tried 60 times to solve it in the waking state — 16% found the answer at this stage and left the test.
The rest were given the opportunity to rest for 20 minutes in a dark room with a blindfold. Participants were given an Edison and Dali plastic bottle to drop as they transitioned from nap to sleep. In total, three groups of subjects were identified: a group of people who did not sleep at all during the entire break; those who dozed off and entered the first stage of sleep, N1; those who have reached the second stage, N2.
At the end of the break, the participants made another 330 runs to solve the same problem. It turned out that 83% of the subjects from group N1, who dozed off and reached the gray zone, discovered a hidden solution to the problem. Of the group that did not sleep at all throughout the rest, only 31% of the subjects found the solution. And, finally, of those who reached the N2 stage, that is, fell asleep despite the bottle, only 14% of the participants in the experiment found the solution.
The scientists emphasize that the difference between the non-sleeping group and the N1 group was about a minute in the first stage of sleep. Nevertheless, this minute gave a threefold increase in creativity.
Researchers believe that this is an occasion to continue studying this phenomenon. And for those who want to put it into practice, we can advise you to activate your creative abilities at the beginning of sleep: doze without falling into a deep sleep. Scientists warn that the solution does not appear immediately, but getting to it using the method of Edison and Dali is faster.