(Health.com) — We’ve all been there: After struggling over a problem for hours, we rest our eyes for a few minutes and suddenly the answer is lying before us, clear as day.
This common phenomenon has contributed to the idea of the so-called power nap, a quick snatch of rest that stops short of deep sleep yet somehow manages to refresh and stimulate.
Although there is much about the power nap that remains a mystery, researchers have begun to uncover the brain processes behind the little miracles it produces.
The latest research, presented Wednesday at an annual meeting of neuroscientists, may help explain the mental spark that sometimes occurs during a nap. Researchers monitoring the brain activity of 15 at-rest individuals found that the right side of their brain — the hemisphere most associated with creativity — chattered busily to itself as well as to the left hemisphere, which remained relatively quiet.
“The right side of the brain was better integrated,” says study author Andrei Medvedev, an assistant professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Functional and Molecular Imaging in Washington.
Get your nap and stay healthy