Thursday, June 07, 2007

Can You Really Learn While You Sleep

The benefits of sleep on cognitive function ...

"Long before scientists and researchers were dissecting what happens to our brains when we close our eyes at night, my mom (and probably yours as well) was doling out the simple secret of how to do well on the next day's big exam: get a good night's sleep.
According to an article on, several research teams have found that sleep actually strengthens learning; it can help you to remember facts. In fact, a few years ago, a Harvard University study revealed that a good night's sleep can enhance movement skills, things like playing a piece of music, riding a bike, or throwing a ball the way you want.

Heck, they could have just talked to my mom and saved themselves some effort.

The researchers -- according to -- created a number of test pictures that 56 young male and female subjects would not likely be familiar with, oval images of colorful abstract patterns. These quickly became known to the researchers and test takers as "Fabergé eggs" (see photo).

Participants, ages 18 to 30 years, were first shown a combination of five pairs of the eggs. The shapes were given ratings, and the subjects had to learn which shape rated higher and so should be chosen over another shape. For example, shape A should be chosen over B, B should be chosen over C, shape C over D, etc. What they were not told is that a hidden connection linked all five pairs together. They fit together a certain way on an imaginary chain.

The results? Those who got a good night's sleep performed best, those in the 20-minute group did the worst.

The study went on to prove that "sleeping on it" -- as the old saying goes -- is much more beneficial than cramming during an all-nighter. A good night's sleep shouldn't help just students preparing for a final exam but everyone dealing with near-overloads of critical information."    (Continued via    [Ergonomics Resources]

Listen to this article


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