Can you learn a skill while you sleep?


If you feel the urge to nap during the day, then you may need to start getting better sleep at night. One thing that may help you do so is an herbal insomnia supplement, which contains natural ingredients to help your body get back to a healthy sleep pattern. However, if you happen to be trying to learn a new piece of music, taking a nap may not be a bad idea, according to a recent study.

Researchers from Northwestern University had study participants learned how to play two pieces of music on a keyboard. They then took a 90-minute nap, while one of the pieces was played nearby. When the individuals in the study awoke, they had a stronger ability to perform the song that was on while they were asleep, compared to the other.

"Our results extend prior research by showing that external stimulation during sleep can influence a complex skill," said Ken Paller, professor of psychology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern and senior author of the study.

The scientists are now trying to determine how this could be extended to fields other than music. For example, if you are trying to learn a new language by listening to educational tapes, playing those tapes while you sleep may help you retain what you learned during the day. 

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