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Difficulty in Remembering Names? Why not try sleeping on it.

A new study by Northwestern University showed that name recall can be improved by reactivating the name recognition during sleep. By playing a recorded list of names during a deep stage of sleep, you can dramatically improve your face-name recall.

This is an important finding because memory storage can now be improved during sleep.  The study discovered that sleep could be used to improve memory.  By providing audable information during deep stages of sleep can improve learning.  Listening to the names during light sleep would either not improve or actually decrease the results.

The study was conducted on 24 participants. Each participant was asked to memorize the names and faces of 40 students from a hypothetical Latin American history class and another 40 from a Japanese history class. When the faces were shown again they were asked to produce the names associated with each picture. The participants were then asked to take a nap. During this period, the names of the classmates were played to the participants upon entering deep non-rem sleep.

Upon awakening, the name of each student’s face were requested. Miraculously, the results had improved. Apparently, learning still goes on during sleep.

Richard Hamburg MD