So it seems as though the people that tried to quit smoking, or learn something new while listening to recordings in their sleep may have actually been onto something, believe it or not.
As it turns out, according to a recent study, if done under the proper conditions, our brains are actually capable of learning new words. The human brain can take in information while sleeping.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Bern in Switzerland. Participants were played recorded words pairings while asleep, and were given both a made up word and a second, real word.
If the pairings were presented to the sleeper during a specific type of brainwave, then they were shown to be able to answer questions about the words once they woke from their sleep.
Brain scans taken during these sleeping tests also showed similar neural activity to that of someone who learned a new word. When it comes to a new language though, you are still better off staying awake. The participants didn’t show to retain anything quite as complex as a new language.
If you’re traveling abroad, you’re out of luck.