This is an interesting question. I've not tried the idea yet, but plan to start learning a new language in the hopefully near future and may try something close to this.
Seems that just what one's expectations are, what one does otherwise (!!!) abt learning something, and just how one tries to integrate any activity with sleep in an effort to see if sleeps helps the learning are are critical elements.
I'm very interested in anyone's experiences with this, what you tried, hbow you tried it and and what happened. I'd also be interested in any resources on others' experience.
I don't think we'd get much help from scientific literature just because of what Scott Bird and Scott H Young have said---
1) the literature is vague and often doesn't answer the question. Think of the what a large N (study population number) you'd need to have for an active study group --doing the "sleep learning"-- and an inactive group-- doing some placebo activity for comparison-- to be sure both groups have enough in common to make it a reasonable test on the study question itself.
2) Theoretical information is important -- e.g., "proxy outcomes" like information on where in the brain short term to long term memory is transferred, and what that part of the brain appears to be doing on EEG during sleep cycles. Even if this sort of information were to be encouraging (e.g., the memory transfer cortical components appear to be active during sleep), it wouldn't tell us the answer to the question "can this work in some way?", since that information doesn't look at the whole shebang. Often when one part of our physiology doesn't work in some conditions, other parts do work.
Originally Posted by Scott Bird
I've never tried it, but it seems plausible. I often go to bed thinking of a problem and wake up with its solution.
As with many areas of sleep research though, the studies are vague at best. The only way to really find out is to give it a try. I'm very keen to hear how things go for you.
Yah, me too !
I have seen a few reports on improved recall with sleeping directly after learning or studying something. There might be something to that.
And I can relate that I have also experienced an improved understanding of a problem or question after "sleeping on it", but not in relation to rote or other memorization.
Fascinating stuff, though...
Originally Posted by jpletting
At the end of my junior year in high school, my horrible, strict English teacher handed out a review for the final exam: 150 multiple choice questions on everything we'd studied. I procrastinated until it was too late, and the night before the exam, recorded every "example" question on the review and what I thought was the correct answer. I played this cassette in my auto-reversing Walkman overnight (in addition to having already "studied" the exam through the act of recording it) and woke up... a little late. I just missed the bell to my English class and was told I'd have to come back at the end of the day, which happened to be the last day of school--friends leaving, hugs, goodbyes, etc. So pissed was I by the end of the day that I flew through those 150 questions in half an hour. My hand had a mind of its own and ticked off Scantron dots before I could finish reading the questions. I have no doubt that subconsciously I was recognizing the correct answer out of the group from having pressed it into my brain the night prior.
Though in this instance it was pretty much a desperate CYA situation rather than a deliberate test, my experience with it causes me to lean toward an acceptance of sleep learning as a viable, reliable method of ingraining information into your subconscious. What I didn't get to experience is how to access that information in a conscious manner. Recognizing memorized multiple choice answers isn't the same as trying to learn philosophy or mathematics if one has never encountered the material before. I'd like to try it again sometime just to see what else I can do.
This is too funny, hope you passed the exam
I agree you probably "studied" for the exam making your recording. Also wondered if you already knew the material pretty well since you recorded what you "thought was the right answer" --if you already knew the right answers, why sleep at all except to stay awake the next day?
Originally Posted by Scott H Young
Sleep learning is largely scientifically bunk because the parts of the brain that transfer information from short-term to long-term memory are inactive during sleep. The only reason you remember anything from a dream/sleeping is when you wake up considerably fast enough so that your short term memory (which can hold about 7 +/- 2 items for as long as you focus on them) is still centered on the dream after you've woken up.
Lucid dreams may differ, but subconscious learning during sleep doesn't make sense. Research has shown that when you wake people up during Stage 1,2 or 3 sleep they are generally thinking fairly normally, however nobody remembers that they were even conscious during this period the next morning. Why? Because long-term memories weren't being encoded during this time.
There may be some technique that can bypass this, but I'd be very skeptical before investing heavily in such a product.
Have you seen reports of objective data linking altered brain wave patterns or sleep cycle shifts concurrent with lucid dreaming? I ask because I'm not clear about what level of consciousness lucid dreaming is, and how that has been objectively documented.
I have to say that there is a wide variety of recollection of being awakened during EEG documented stage 1, 2 or 3 sleep. This information comes from take offs (side studies) of sleep studies used clinically to evaluate restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea etc. People are very different as to whether or not they remember being awakened, or what they remember abt the awakened period of time.
Let's hear more on this, anyone interested!