Shhh! Genius At Work

New research explains why your brain may be at its most creative when you're asleep

Phillip Toledano for TIME

Sleep, as ancient maps once labeled uncharted territories, is where the dragons be. The human brain is a loud and messy and stormy place. We spend our days in a sensory typhoon, buffeted by sights and sounds and experiences, and all that time the brain's prefrontal cortex keeps order: focus here, tend to that, ignore the rest. But at night, the prefrontal punches out--and the crazy begins to stir.

To go to sleep is to enter a world entirely like our own and entirely unlike it too. You can board a plane that's really a car that flies to Russia, except...

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