Sometimes it feels that going to sleep is a nuisance, an interruption of our busy lives where so much needs to get done. But leading researchers on sleep might make you realize the true value of our sleeping time, even for those of us trying to learn complex piano music. In this article by Robert Lawrence Kuhn, we learn more about the brain and sleep.

“I talk to pianists, who say, ‘Bob, I was working on a Chopin étude and even after two hours of practicing I just couldn’t get a three-line measure right,'” Stickgold explained. “‘I went to bed, I got up the next morning, I sat down at the piano, and first time through, I had it perfectly.'”

Stickgold said that our brains need to “go offline” — to tune out other information — so we can process internally the information we already have. The brain, he added, “shuts out external inputs, cuts off the outside world, so it can do what it needs to do.”

So enjoy your sleep!