Go to Sleep and Wake Up Smarter?
You probably won't gain any IQ points, but you really can
learn while you sleep, and in more than one way...
You might recall that years ago that there were "sleep
learning products" being sold. The basic idea was that if
you listened to recordings of things while you slept you could
absorb what you heard and integrate it into your knowledge. Thus
you might listen to language recordings to learn a new language
as you slept. But did it work?
done so far says no, you can't really learn from recordings
while sleeping. It is possible that people who had some "success"
with this technique learned things as they fell asleep and while
waking up, but probably not while actually sleeping. That kind
of learning is just too complex and it seems it requires consciousness.
However, there have been some studies which show that some
forms of learning during sleep are possible. For example, a couple
years ago Israeli researchers discovered that we can learn simple
associations while sleeping. Their
research showed something else that was very interesting
as well. Apparently we learn best while in the REM (dreaming)
phase of sleep, but are only able to use those things learned
while sleeping. In order to transfer what we learn while sleeping,
the learning has to be done in the non-REM phase.
Inception is Real?
You may recall the movie "Inception," in which people
trained themselves to have lucid dreams and even enter the dreams
of others. Well that last part is still fiction, but lucid dreaming
itself has been around for a while. I have had these "conscious"
dreams, where I was aware that I was in a dream and therefore
able to direct the action.
Most people can be trained to have lucid dreams, and it might
be easier than previously thought to induce them. Research
done at Harvard University found that even inexperienced
dreamers would have lucid dreams most of the time if they were
"zapped" with an electrical current. The specific frequency
used was 40 hertz.
Other research into this lucid dreaming state seems to contradict
the conclusion that we cannot learn more complex things while
University research shows that people can actually learn
new skills while asleep, if they are learned during lucid dreams.
The researchers plan to try training people during sleep, by
telling them what to dream about. You can bet I'll report on
that research if it produces anything useful.
This is not mere speculation. A study at the University of
Bern in Switzerland had people practice throwing a coin into
a cup during their lucid dreams. It was found that after some
of this "dream practice" they actually were better
throwing a coin into a cup while awake.
One Swiss study, led by Daniel Erlacher of the University
of Bern, showed that lucid dreamers who 'practiced throwing a
coin into a cup were better at the real thing when they woke
Richard Wiseman created a dream
shaping app to see if he could influence people's dreams.
I wouldn't be surprised if in the next few years we see "dream
training" systems marketed to sports teams and others. Of
course for purposes of profit the technology usually charges
on ahead of and in ignorance of the science, so stick to doing
your own inexpensive dream learning experiments at home for a