Science 3 min read

Study Shows Sleeping Brain can Learn Passively

In a new study, researchers from the University of Bern, Switzerland discovered that your sleeping brain can unconsciously learn new languages.

Want to learn a foreign language in your sleep? Science now says you can | Pexels

Want to learn a foreign language in your sleep? Science now says you can | Pexels

If you’re the type of person that falls asleep while listening to a Spanish or Portuguese language tape, you may be on to something.

Researchers just discovered that a short nap does not hinder learning. If anything, it actually enhances your ability to master new vocabulary.

From previous studies, we already know that sleep plays a significant role in the learning process. Researchers suggest that the brain uses our nap time to organize and consolidate information. Simply put, it files away important event and deletes the unimportant ones. That way, we’ll have room for something new.

With the nightly housekeeping, it’s hard to believe that we could learn anything while we’re asleep.

Well,  Researchers at the Decoding Sleep Interfaculty Research Cooperation at the University of Bern, Switzerland don’t think so.

Based on their newly published study, the brain’s channels for learning remains open during sleep.

Co-first-author of the paper, Marc Züst wrote;

“What we found in our study is that the sleeping brain can encode new information and store it for the long term. Even more, the sleeping brain can make new associations.”

In other words, we are capable of learning new things in slumberland. But, how is this possible?

The Link Between Sleep and Learning

The researchers wanted to know if it’s possible to form a meaningful association between foreign words and their translations when asleep.

So, they examined participants in the slow-wave sleep – a stage where people are barely conscious of their environment, and played recordings of word pairings.

For example, while a word like “tofer’ was made up, it’s pair “haus’ was always real.

Then the researchers presented the fake words to the awake participants again, but without the real pair. As long as they heard the word at an exact time during the slow-wave sleep, the participants were able to classify the foreign words.

“If you present ‘biktum’ and ‘bird’ to sleeping humans, their brains can make a new connection between the known concept ‘bird’ and the completely new and unknown word, ‘biktum,’” Züst said.

Be that as it may, it’s not a good idea to simply record a whole book and hope your brain would absorb the information in your sleep. It doesn’t work that way.

The accuracy rate is only 10 percent higher than random chance. Also, it’s an implicit, unconscious form of memory – like a gut feeling. So, you still need to study for that test.

Read More: How Techwear Can Help You Sleep Better

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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    Sarah Perry July 19 at 4:56 am GMT

    Researchers just discovered that a short nap does not hinder learning. https://happywheels2.io online If anything, it actually enhances your ability to master new vocabulary.

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