Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

You can learn a language while you sleep, says new study

rexfeatures-1826686a.jpg
rexfeatures-1668864a.jpg

It's a universal feeling that there are not enough hours in the day. How are we ever meant to find the time to learn a language, when most of us get only six-and-a-half hours sleep?

But what if you could learn while you were sleeping?

New research by the Universities of Zurich and Fribourg has found that listening to recordings of new material while asleep may help you learn it.

In the study published in the Cerebral Cortex Oxford Journal a group of 60 German-speaking volunteers were asked to learn pairs of words in Dutch at 10pm.

The group then went to sleep while recordings of the words were played back to them in a low volume. Meanwhile, a second group, that also studied the same pairs of Dutch words, stayed awake during the recorded playback.

The sleeping group were awoken at 2am and both groups were put to the test to see who remembered the most words.

Researchers found the sleeping group performed significantly better than the group that stayed awake.

Study authors Thomas Schreiner and Björn Rasch say the results provide evidence that sleep activates freshly learned material.

In a previous study, Rasch applied the same test to scent, where subjects were asked to learn memory cards according to the scent of rose. The group who slept once again performed better on the test than those who stayed awake while exposed to the scent.

"Our method is easy to use in daily life and can be adopted by anyone," says Rasch, study director and biopsychologist.

So does this mean we can sleep and fulfill our lifelong dream of learning French?

Unfortunately, the method only works once you've memorised the material before sleeping.

"You can only successfully activate words that you have learned before you go to sleep," says Schreiner. "Playing back words you don't know while you're asleep has no effect."

Even still, any evidence that proves sleeping is good for you is good with us.

(Words: Sejal Kapadia, Images: Rex Features)

Related

rexfeatures-3502053a.jpg

Couples who sleep naked together have a happier relationship, study reveals

use.jpg

Shocking infographic reveals how your face changes without enough water

rexfeatures-3762917a.jpg

Infographic reveals why sitting for too long is bad for you

hero.jpg

The 10 routine changes that are proven to make you happier

miserable.jpg

10 things that are scientifically proven to make you unhappy

caulisteakart.jpg

How to eat healthy: 10 amazing recipes to sneak vegetables into your meals and snacks

Comments

More

Breast cancer survivor marries seconds before running London Marathon

"I stood on the start line and I didn't know if I would make the finish."

by Sarah Biddlecombe
24 Apr 2017

Here's how to get free cake in London this week

Best be quick though...

by Anna Pollitt
24 Apr 2017

Shocking number of landlords offering sex for rent uncovered in the UK

"Nice room available in London for a girl who enjoys being a dirty little slut"

by Sarah Biddlecombe
24 Apr 2017

Friendships are vital in helping us through hard times, study confirms

When the going gets tough, friends get amazing

by Moya Crockett
24 Apr 2017

The disturbing rise of sex assault ‘stealthing’

If it's not consensual it's assault

by Anna Pollitt
24 Apr 2017

Eighties legends Bananarama announce comeback tour after 30 years

It's the original line-up

by Anna Pollitt
24 Apr 2017

Contraception is an emotional and mental burden for women, study finds

New research argues that men should be sharing more responsibility for avoiding pregnancy.

by Moya Crockett
24 Apr 2017

The 50 funniest feminist comebacks ever to grace the internet

“The day I dress for a man is the day they dress me in my coffin to see Jesus”

by Kayleigh Dray
24 Apr 2017

11 delicious and affordable places for afternoon tea in London

High tea, high style, low price

by Moya Crockett
24 Apr 2017

US school girl campaigned against her school's tank top ban and won

She arrived at school with the words #IAmNotADistraction on her arm.

by Hayley Spencer
21 Apr 2017