Going to sleep after a long day is like putting the contents of your brain on shuffle mode and waiting to see what kind of interesting dreams your subconscious mind spits back out at you. The dreams don’t seem to make a lot of sense, but they reveal so much about who you are and what you truly want. Dreams can also help you solve problems, so there is truth in the saying “just sleep on it.”
It happened to me a few nights ago. For a couple of months, I was kicking a few story ideas around in my head during the day, and every night when I went to sleep, I’d get something that I could actually use in the story. It’s like the plot and characters would form when I slept and I’d be ready to put them down on the page when I woke up. Your brain, as distracted as it is during the day, really works well “behind the scenes” when you’re asleep.