Study confirms people can learn while sleeping

Recent research from researchers at the University of Bern in Switzerland has shown that humans can actually learn new information during periods of slow-wave sleep.

Sleep has been shown to stabilise and consolidate memories, as well as embed them in the acquired knowledge store in the brain. Through the use of electroencephalograms, brainwave activity of 41 male and female volunteers was recorded whilst they had a daytime nap.During the nap, the volunteers were made to listen to pairs of words, for example “house” and “tofer”, or “cork” and aryl”.

When the words were repeated at an active phase of slow-wave sleep, the association between the two words was remembered during wakefulness. In addition, the brain areas that are active during wakeful learning were also still working during sleep, so areas such as the hippocampus and language areas.

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