Language learners look for ways to make language learning easier and Swiss psychologists made a study to confirm the theory that it is possible to learn another language while you are asleep. The results of their study were published three years ago in Cerebral Cortex. The Swiss National Science Foundation published the study.
How do you learn a language?
If you’re a language learner, you understand that learning a language means learning a new set of words. As you learn new words you’ll be able to form sentences, which is essential for communication and conversations.
There were several suggestions before that one can learn a language while asleep, which can boost language learning and consolidating memory. Researchers also found that learning and remembering foreign words is greatly enhanced when students are allowed to sleep after learning a new set of vocabulary. The researchers say that sleep boosts the acquisition of language because of the repeated and spontaneous reactivation of the information that is newly received during sleep without rapid eye movement, which elevates memory integration and stabilization.
In the study, 60 German-speaking students were divided into two groups. Each group was told to learn several Dutch words that were unfamiliar to them. All participants learned the words at 10 in the evening, but one group was told to sleep after learning the words while the other group stayed up and listened to the words.
A playback of the words was turned on while one of the groups was sleeping. When they were tested at two o’clock in the morning, the group that was able to sleep and subliminally listened to the words was able to remember most of the Dutch words. The other group, because they were sleep deprived, were barely able to remember the words they learned.
Relationship of sleep and learning
Sleep helps a person to relax and recharge. Sleep improves the mood, and note this – it helps to remove the dark circles under your eyes! It helps to improve one’s quality of life, spur inherent creativity, boost performance and sharpen the attention. Aside from these, sleeps helps strengthen the memory. While a person is asleep, the mind is still busy and it helps to consolidate what was learned during the day. NYU Langone Medical Center associate professor Dr. Rapoport explains that if someone is trying to learn a mental or physical thing, he or she needs to practice whereas while if one is sleeping, the ability to learn is better,
Why try to learn another language while you sleep?
It is a fact that it takes time to learn a new language even if the language belongs to the same language family of the language that you are speaking. For example, German and English belong to the same branch of the Indo European language family and the majority of the English vocabulary comes from German. This means that English speakers will have an easier time learning the German language.
Here are some reasons why you should try learning a language while you’re catching up on your zzzzzz’s every evening.
A word of caution here. It is essential to remember that the capacity to learn depends on the person, so if you actually have trouble remembering, do not fully rely on sleep to help you with your studies.
- You will not be wasting time when you try to learn a new language as you sleep. Let’s be practical here. Even if you’re not trying to remember something, you still need to go to sleep, so it is not a waste of time because you are technically relaxing.
- As a language learner, you need all the help you can get. As mentioned in the study, sleep is said to help escalate a person’s retention of the vocabulary to learn in class. Keep in mind that sleep learning is just a supplement to your actual learning of the language. There are several more resources for language learning that you can access to support your classroom learning.
- Do remember that constant exposure to the language you are learning enhances your studies. So try to learn a few things or even review your lessons before you go to bed. You might not remember everything but if you wake up in the middle of your sleep, you can spend some time to improve your pronunciation or learning more words before you go back to sleep.
Conditions of sleep learning
Before you show up to your language class in your PJs, know that there are conditions to learning a language while you sleep. It takes time to learn a language and while the study is promising, there’s more to it than just sleeping.
Learning a language while you sleep depends to a great extent on various audio tools, including audio language courses and language learning audio programs that you use. This is to be expected because it is impossible for someone to write or read something while asleep. Instead of practicing your pronunciation aloud, the practical method is listening.
Do you know the term for sleep learning? It is called hypnopedia. Its popularity started in the early part of the 20th century and some of the first to undertake studies regarding the subject are the Soviets.
A study done in 1965 proposed that learning while a person sleeps is possible, with special mention of language learning where this theory is most apt.
In the early days, there were various contentions about the subject and many thought it a pseudoscience due to the lack of concrete evidence that sleep learning works. However, it is already a fact that learning is given a boost by sleep. At the same time, researchers are still doubtful if it is possible to learn while you sleep.
Analysts indicate that there is a link between quality sleep and language learning. They say that you need to have a good night’s sleep if you are doing activities that are mentally exhausting.
The most recent proof that it is possible to boost skills in language learning through listening while sleeping is the result of a study of Swiss scientists.
While some are still skeptical, sleep learning is something that is worth trying. If sleep can help you remember new words, that is very beneficial, because you need words to be able to speak as well as understand what it means when you hear someone say it. Even if you are able to write grammatically correct sentences, if you cannot speak the language, you are not going to advance.
Sleep learning resources
Question: How do you start sleep learning to boost your foreign language studies?
Answer: Find the right resources for language learning while you sleep.
As mentioned earlier, sleep learning means using audio-based learning tools. So here are some possible tools you can use. Check them out and see which one suits you best.
1. Eko Languages Channel
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGBvI8xXfyPWVXYRnvbe7rw/featured (PLS EMBED)
If you’re fond of watching YouTube videos, you’ll enjoy watching the Eko Languages channel. You’ll be able to find learning videos for a number of world languages here. Wait! Videos? You’re thinking that it is not possible to watch videos while you sleep and we agree with you. The channel does have videos for sleep learning. The audio of these videos is delivered in a smooth and serene voice that helps you to sleep. You’ll be able to listen to common words and phrases as well as pronunciation. The language choices for sleep learning are Spanish, Russian, Italian, Hindi, German, French, English and Chinese. They even have videos for Spanish-speakers who wish to learn German.
2. Sleep Learning Channel (1)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8hrVYljKmaDdvGwkes8EQA (PLS EMBED)
Another channel on YouTube is aptly called Sleep Learning. You can learn languages from this channel as well as topics for general education such as math, science and geography. The channel offers a variety of playlists to help students learn Portuguese, Korean, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, French and English. Each phrase is said in English and repeated three times in a specific language. Heads up! The sleep learning videos are from three to ten hours long!
3. Sleep Learning Channel (2)
The name may be the same but they have a different set of resources. They have sleep learning downloadable MP3s as well as CDs. They claim that you will be able to learn a foreign language within a month. The recorded program teaches words and sounds until you can put the words together to form sentences. It provides learners about 850 common words in the foreign language of your choice. The sleep learning programs are available in 50 languages for English speakers. The list of languages comprises major languages and minor language like Yiddish, Marathi, Macedonian, Khmer, Hmong, Galician and Basque.
4. SleepyLanguages Channel
https://sleepylanguages-learn-languages-while-sleeping-ios.soft112.com/ (PLS EMBED)
SleepyLanguages offers individual apps for memorizing vocabulary while you’re sleeping. The app, available for download from their site, promotes learning a language while you sleep. Likewise, it also encourages language learners to learn new words for a minimum of three minutes each day. The words that you learned during the day will be played back when you go to sleep. SleepyLanguages app promotes studying and has daily lessons and even exams to help you learn your chosen foreign language better. SleepyLanguages offers individual lessons in Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Italian, German, French, English, Chinese and Arabic.
Why not give sleep learning a try? It might help you improve your vocabulary and allow you to construct sentences in your target language better and faster. After all, having another option to boost your language learning is beneficial, right?
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