Hide This

FREEHER HealthToolkit

HER Health Toolkit

Sign up for EmpowHER updates and you'll receive our
FREE HER Health Toolkit

Sleep Disorders

Get Email Updates

Sleep Disorders Guide

Alison Beaver

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.

ASK

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

Sleep and Memory: You Don't Have to be Awake to Learn

By Jody Smith HERWriter
 
Rate This
Sleep and Memory: You Don't Have to be Awake to Learn 0 5
about memory and learning while you sleep
George Dolgikh/PhotoSpin

Learning can happen while you're sleeping, according to a study performed by the Weizmann Institute.

Prior attempts at research on this subject had been complicated by the fact that while sleep has been shown to be important for memory consolidation and for learning, it remained to be seen as to just how this sleep-enhanced learning takes place.

Prof. Noam Sobel and research student Anat Arzi, along with Sobel's group in the Institute's Neurobiology Department, collaborated with researchers from Loewenstein Hospital and the Academic College of Tel Aviv -- Jaffa. An Aug. 26, 2012 article on Sciencedaily.com reported on the Weizmann study.

Participants' sleep was under constant supervision in a special lab. A tone was played, an odor was released. Another tone was sounded, then another odor was released.

If the first odor was pleasant, the second was unpleasant, or vice versa. As one might expect, the participants inhaled more deeply of the pleasant odors, and breathed in a more shallow manner for the less pleasant smells.

Sometimes the participants just heard tones, without odors. The participants had reactions to the tones in their sleep that were the same as their reactions to the tones and odors.

The different reactions were accompanied by different modes of breathing, deep for pleasant smells, shallow for unpleasant odors. Deep breathing also occurred when the tones that had become associated with pleasant smells were heard without any odor.

After the participants were awake the next day, tones were heard, without any odors. None of the participants had any recollection of the experience through the night, yet their breathing corresponded with the learned behavior of the night before.

Conditioning of this type involves areas of the brain like the hippocampus which plays a role in formation of memory.

Does the phase of sleep play a role as well? The researchers wanted to find out.

In another experiment by these same researchers, reported in an Aug. 26, 2013 article on Sciencedaily.com, it was found that learning was more thorough during REM sleep.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Improved

1766 Health

Changed

669 Lives

Saved

531 Lives
8 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

Do you keep electronics out of your bedroom to help you sleep?:
View Results