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Said of Thomas Edison. Each hand held a steel ball as he prepared for a nap.. When he nodded, they would fall, waking him and allowing him to capture his thoughts in the moments before sleep – a period he considered most creative. But are there really times when our brains perform better? And, more broadly, do we excel at different types of thinking at different stages of our lives? If so, it’s worth asking how we can make the most of these mental peaks and maximize our brain’s potential.

While Edison’s method may have been unorthodox. Turns out he was onto something.As Delphine Odinet at the Paris Brain Institute and his colleagues discovered in 2021. They gave 103 slightly sleep-deprived people a seemingly complex math problem that could be solved with simple creative intuition. Participants who woke up immediately after falling asleep were nearly three times more likely to make creative leaps and solve problems than those who stayed awake during the experiment.

If you’re looking for inspiration, this knowledge can help. But if it’s memory you’re trying to improve, deep sleep is when your brain does its heavy lifting – laying down new long-term memories from your day’s experiences. To get the most out of it, you need enough sleep, which varies for adults. Between 7 and 9 hours every night. If you are one of them. Many people who…