You Might Use Them to Help Solve a Problem
You’ve heard it before, and now it’s legit—sleep on your problems to solve them. The catch: dreaming is only an advantage when it comes to solutions that require a Eureka-like flash of insight (for instance: what word can form a compound word with canal, true and boat?), finds a recent study at the U.K.’s University of Lancaster. During REM (rapid eye movement) sleep—the eyeball-jerking stage when vivid dreams often occur—the frontal cortex processes new information like the riddle above. As new experiences integrate with preexisting knowledge, memory networks are stimulated—and, as a result form new, random and sometimes wacky connections between unrelated concepts. Later, we wake up, stretch, and—we can’t explain how—but the brilliant and now-perfectly-obvious answer just comes to us. One we couldn’t see when we were doggedly trying to get at...for instance, Love.