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According to new research, language learning can happen during sleep

Learning a new language while asleep may seem like a fantasy but research indicated that you can learn new words and connect them with meaning. An article published in Insider suggests that learning can take place even while we are sleeping. It is because our brains never switch off completely and constantly process information even when we are sleeping.

While we won’t be able to perform any physical activities in our sleep, our brains are constantly busy absorbing and analyzing information. According to the research published in Current Biology, it is actually possible to pick up new information while we sleep.

Researchers already understand that sleep reinforces the learning of new information that we gain when awake. The information is repeated and deeply embedded in the sleeping brain. Now researchers at the University of Bern in Switzerland found out that learning can take place during slow-wave or deep sleep. The study published in the Current Biology journal shows how associations with new words can happen at specific phases of slow-wave sleep.

New research at the University of Bern, Switzerland from the Decoding Sleep Interfaculty Research Cooperation shows that the brain’s channels remain open for learning during sleep. The study found that the sleeping brain can actually encode new information and store it for a long time. The sleeping brain can also make new associations.

Based on earlier findings, information acquired right before going to bed is remembered better during sleep. A group of German scientists embarked on the research venture of establishing whether the same applies to processing new information.

They conducted an experiment involving participants listening to different terms in an artificial language in their sleep and the results were fascinating. While the participants weren’t able to produce the exact equivalents of the word and expressions in their native language, they were able to identify the terms in the made-up language by associations. For example, they were able to identify whether certain words referred to smaller or bigger objects.

Other research in the area maintains that while exposure in itself is not enough to learn a language, it constitutes a great part of achieving good fluency. Constant exposure allows learners to see or hear a word enough times to be able to use it when needed. From what it seems, listening to a foreign language while sleeping, can actually provide such exposure.

The German researchers were able to conclude that the areas of the brain which regulate the language-learning process remained activated even while we sleep. And since sleep is no longer considered a state of total isolation from our surroundings, sophisticated language learning can occur even during the state of deep sleep. Another research study indicates that memory formation in sleep is believed to be caused by the brain structures that are responsible for supporting vocabulary learning when awake. Their experiments provide new proof that vocabulary learning can take place and that memories can be formed in

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