By Ingrid Wickelgren
The structure of benzene, Google and Frankenstein: What do these icons of science, technology and literature all share? They are among the numerous discoveries and inventions that are said to have been inspired through the act of dreaming.
For decades sleep scientists have mulled over the link between dreaming and creative inspiration. They have long thought these insights came from the rapid eye movement stage of sleep, which is rich with dreams and begins an hour or more into the sleep cycle. But new evidence puts the spotlight on a much earlier sleep phase—the twilight zone that separates sleep and wakefulness—as fertile ground for a creative burst.