Want to Learn Something? Sleep on it, But not too Deeply: Study

Memory traces can be both formed or suppressed during sleep.


It is important to remember that all learning is brain-based. Through the process of education, we are trying literally to change the brain. The key to better understanding the brain’s ability to learn has been to focus on a specific cognitive function where learning, memory, and decision-making all intersect visual categorization.

In addition, a human brain can learn something in sleep too. Scientists are fascinated by this idea and coming up with clashing experimental results. They suggest, if you want to learn something, sleep on it.

During sleep, humans can strengthen previously acquired memories, but whether they can acquire entirely new information remains unknown. Scientists discovered it why. The human brain can learn only in certain phases of shut-eye.

During the study, participants were able to remember sound patterns played to them during two phases of sleep called Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and N2. REM is the phase of unconsciousness where we usually dream. N2 is non-REM sleep.

Scientists noted, “Sounds previously learned during N2 sleep are forgotten or unlearned as if erased from memory.”

Almost 23 volunteers were tested by EEG brain monitors. When they awoke, the trial participants were tested on how well they could remember the simple compositions.

After playing them recordings of sound patterns while they slept, scientists observed a sharp distinction between light NREM sleep, during which learning was possible.

After waking, the members who unlearn the sounds during N3 sleep found similar patterns harder to relearn than to get totally new ones. Means N3 sleep serves to uncluttered the memory.


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