Back in 2013, Fast Company featured an article on 10 things about the brain. Item number one is: “Your brain does creative work better when you’re tired.”
The article quotes a study published in Scientific American, stating “Insight problems involve thinking outside the box. This is where susceptibility to “distraction” can be of benefit. At off-peak times we are less focused, and may consider a broader range of information. This wider scope gives us access to more alternatives and diverse interpretations, thus fostering innovation and insight.”
So what does that mean practically? When you need to come up with clever and innovative ideas, it’s better to do it from the side rather than straight on. Allow yourself to be distracted, or tired, or not even think about the problem at hand. Allow the unconscious mind some time to come up with the solution or find a breakthrough.