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Learning Vocabulary While Asleep Actually Works, But in a Different Way Than Previously Believed

September 3, 2016 Training No Comments Email Email

Recent findings at the University of Zurich have shown that passive sleep learning actually works for memorizing vocabulary. However, sleep learning works differently than was what was once believed. As the complexity of the information that can be processed during sleep is limited, sleep learning is most effective for memorizing vocabulary that one has already been exposed to, rather than acquiring completely new vocabulary.

During the sleep learning session, memories are moved from short-term storage to the prefrontal cortex, where they are then archived for long-term memory. Recent research has shown that during the so-called NREM sleep phase, the mind is not only receptive to audio playbacks of vocabulary repetition but, astonishingly, the mind is more effective at storing vocabulary in long-term memory when listening to vocabulary revision during NREM sleep than when awake, saving language learners many hours of vocabulary study.

Anyone can now try sleep learning. It’s easy and there’s no cost using the free Vocabulary Trainer mobile app for iOS and android. The app, which has over 10 million users comes with the most frequent 5000 words in over 30 languages. The new, pioneering, sleep learning timer function was designed according to the recommendations of the leading researchers in the field of sleep learning.

Twenty to thirty minutes after falling asleep the first NREM sleep phase starts and will last for about 90 minutes. During this time an audio loop of the 60 most recently learned words will be played. EEG analysis in the sleep laboratory showed no signs of interference with sleep quality. Still, noise sensitivity during sleep varies greatly from person to person. Anyone who finds themself waking up during sessions should lower the volume. Particularly sensitive people may even wake up at very low volumes, in which case, sleep learning may not be for them.

Each sleep learning session will help build on current research as anonymous usage data will be shared with researchers at the university of Zurich to improve and deepen the understanding of optimum sleep learning performance.

Sleep learning in the press and academic journals:

Vocabulary Trainer download links:
web version:
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