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Sleep learning possible says new research from Israel


A new study looking at subconscious learning found that it is, in fact, possible.


Nicolas Asfouri

A new study that looks at subconscious learning found that it is possible to learn while sleeping.

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute in Israel measured heart rates, breathing rates and sleep states combined with smells and tones to make the finding.

Red Orbit reported that the study used volunteers for the sleep study and paired good and bad odors with tones simultaneously over the course of a night.

The next night the researchers found that the tone associated with the bad smell affected the breathing of the subject.

The good tone caused the volunteers to inhale deeply.

Even while awake, reported the Jerusalem Post, the subjects' breathing was affected by the tones.

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The New York Times said the study authors found that the experiment worked better when the associations were made during the REM phase of sleeping.

“The common knowledge is that you cannot learn new information while you’re asleep, even though your brain is able to do so many other things while you are asleep,” said lead author Anat Arzi, of the Weizmann Institute, reported the New York Times.

“We need to understand where the border lies between what we can and what we cannot learn in sleep."

The study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.