Learning in your sleep?

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to sleep the day away and learn what you need to while you are in deep slumber? Teaching verbal information so far has not been much of a success, according to the Weizmann Institute of Science inn Israel. Scent and sound associations however seem more promising. As the New Scientist reports, “While subjects slept, the team played different sounds, each followed by the release of a specific aroma. Just as they would when awake, the sleeping subjects took deeper sniffs in response to pleasant scents and shallower sniffs in response to unpleasant scents.”

This of course doesn’t mean that we can learn random historical facts, like when Columbus discovered America, but there are definitely more things that can be discovered and what we are really capable of during our sleep.

They also discovered that the olfactory system does not go to sleep like we do, and that it actually retains some information. Not many other studies have been done but they were thinking about helping someone who is suffering from sleep apnea to take in deep breaths on cue.

In what other ways could you imagine learning with your nose in your sleep? What benefits could this hold and would it really be useful?

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