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Can You Learn Languages While You Sleep

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could learn languages while you were in sleep?? In this fast paced world of technology and social media, learning a language while sleeping is possibly every person’s dream. (no pun intended) And yes, it is possible.

According to recent studies, learning a foreign language in your sleep is possible. But first, it is important to understand the stages of sleep.

The Stages of Sleep

REM and Non REM are the two stages of sleep. REM is rapid eye movement in which a person has limited eye movement and consciousness while Non-REM is the stage of dreamless sleep which has very little cortical activity.

The Non-REM also consists of 3 progressively deeper stages N1, N2 and N3, the latter being the deepest form where one is less likely to wake up.

When a person sleeps, there is an increase in the predominance of theta and delta brainwave activities. Theta brainwaves are part of the light and medium sleep while the delta brainwaves are during the deep stages of sleep.

Learning during sleep

So coming back to the important question. Learning during sleep is possible. Our brains work while we are sleeping via the brainwaves and stimulated crucial part called the hippocampus.

Found in the temporal lobe, the hippocampus is responsible for retention of information and memory.

It also helps in learning a language because when it is offered new information, it is stimulated, whether the person is awake or sleep.

Not only this, studies show that non native phrases played to someone sleeping, also leads to stimulation in the hippocampus.

Since the brain dissects information that we’ve gathered during the day, if we spend time to learn a foreign language during the day, our brains continue to process the information during the night. That is why learning new words in your target language is important every single day!!

Findings from Study

According to a study by Cerebral Cortex- a neuroscience journal, learning a language is possible and more effective during sleep. It helps in understanding words significantly better than if one were awake!

In the study, new Dutch words were introduced to 60 German students. Out of the 60, 30 were awake for four hours while 30 of them were listening to the words during sleep. The results of the study were that the 30 who were asleep remembered the words surprisingly well compared to those who were awake!

Now, who says it’s not possible to learn a language while sleeping!


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