Saturday, 20 November 2010

Learn in sleep

Can you learn while sleeping? There is no consensus of evidence on this- but some people make claims that it works. Many studies have shown that a good night's sleep assists the learning process. Sleep helps you to learn information that you have come across during the day.
Sleep may contribute to neurogenesis, the formation of new nerve cells in the brain1.
First of all, if your ‘lifestyle’ doesn’t let you learn or memorise during the day, then you can forget learning anything in sleep.

Some people are in a state of ‘FLOW’ with a chosen task; and even in their sleep they are recalling the same thoughts. For example, when you are ‘in love’- you can help thinking or even dreaming about the person you love. You thought about this person all day & your brain has done similar activity even when you were sleeping!

Sleep-learning attempts to convey information to a sleeping person, typically by playing a sound recording to them while they sleep.

Neuroscientists say that during sleep the hippocampus (where memory is stored) becomes highly active and moves knowledge from short-term memory to long-term memory2,3.

A midday nap can help boost your memory -, but only if you learned them well in the first place4.

Fact: Overscheduled people often look at sleep as wasted time. Sleep plays a crucial role in brain development and growth. We all multi-task while we’re awake- its not healthy & reduces your efficiency. At least in sleep, you should have no external distraction & let the brain reorganise the chemicals that make ‘memory’.
The body should not be viewed as a machine- all natural things follow cycles: night after day, winter after summer & so on. This is for a reason, nature wants to reset & restore the capacity of functioning for the next cycle.

Conclusion: Miracles happen only in fairy tales. 

Solution: Focus & learn while you are awake & have a sound sleep to consolidate it.

1)      Guzman-Marin R, Suntsova N, Bashir T, Nienhuis R, Szymusiak R, McGinty D. Rapid eye movement sleep deprivation contributes to reduction of neurogenesis in the hippocampal dentate gyrus of the adult rat. Sleep. 2008 Feb 1;31(2):167-75. PubMed
2)      Gais S, Born J. Declarative memory consolidation: mechanisms acting during human sleep. Learn Mem. 2004 Nov-Dec;11(6):679-85. PubMed
3)      Marshall L, Helgado'ttir H, Molle M, Born J. Boosting slow oscillations during sleep potentiates memory. Nature. 2006 Nov 30;444(7119):610-3. PubMed
4)      Tucker MA, Fishbein W. Enhancement of declarative memory performance following a daytime nap is contingent on strength of initial task acquisition. Sleep. 2008 Feb 1;31(2):197-203. PubMed

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