New study highlights the limitations behind learning while sleeping

Learning while sleeping

You must have heard, or at least, come across stances explaining the possibility of being able to learn while being in deep sleep. While this has been a hot topic back in the 1960s, the same has not been a solidified concept because of its lack of proper evidence behind supporting the claims. The concept of learning while sleeping might be a probability but nothing is set in stone.

A new study (R) conducted by a group of scientists led by Philippe Peigneux under the ULB Neuroscience Institute clarified in their new study that the concerning of learning while sleeping is limited, especially during the slow wave sleep.

The researchers conducted a magneto encephelography (MEG) in which they clearly stated that while the brain is able to perceive sound waves during sleep, it fails to arrange them in perfect sequence or organization during sleep, thus proving that the concept of learning during sleep might not be a concrete possibility.

A few other studies have thrown some light on the possibility and correlation of stimulus-reflex response during sleep but that is all for the time being because any other advanced possibility doesn’t seem like a possibility as of now. There are still several questions and queries regarding the possibility of something more in terms of more sophisticated forms of learning while sleeping.

The conducted study under the guidance of Philippe Peigneux clearly states while the perception of sound waves during sleeping is a possibility, the organization of those sound waves in an aligned sequence are only possible during wakefulness and not otherwise. This ability, according to the conclusions, is completely lost during the sleep.

Another research fellow of the FNRS, Juliane Farthouat, who is also working under the guidance of Philippe Peigneux, conducted a vivid magneto encephalography in order to have a clear and wider picture of the cerebral activity which mirrors the statistical learning of the series of sound waves, in two different conditions – one that being during the slow wave sleep when the brain has a highly synchronized activity and the other during the state of wakefulness.

While the subjects were in sleep, they were exposed to fast flows of pure sounds, either in random spurts or arranged in an organized manner so as to ensure that the auditory stream could easily be grouped into sets of 3 elements.

In terms of results and observation, they found that during the state of sleep, the brain MEG responses reflected signs of preserved detection of isolated sounds but the same were not converting to responses reflecting the statistical clustering.

During wakefulness, when the same impulse and sound wave stimulus was administered, the response reflected by grouping the sound clusters into sets of 3 distinct elements.

In conclusion, the study helps provide with an intrinsic insight into the limitations concerning learning while sleeping. The state of sleep conforms elementary impacts concerning perception of sound waves but the same can’t be efficiently organized and processed during sleep.