How Sleep can Help you Learn a New Language

Posted by Darian Dozier on Mar 19, 2022 8:00:00 AM

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Learning a new language can be fun, but also very intimidating, especially the older we are. When we are younger, our brains soak up everything, which makes it the most optimal time to learn a new language. However, sometimes we don't see the value in picking up this new skill until we're older. Can sleep help with learning a new language? Continue reading to find out how sleep can impact your learning capabilities and if you'll wake up singing a French tune after playing French music during the night. 

Benefits of learning a new language

Learning a new language can have excellent benefits, both for your learning and for having that skill in your back pocket. As diverse as the world is, learning new languages can help you bridge a gap with someone where language may be a barrier. 

Learning a new language is also beneficial for your brain. The older we get, the harder it can be to be motivated to learn something new. However, learning benefits our brains and helps us reduce our chances of getting certain disorders like Alzheimer's. 

Also, one of the more obvious benefits of learning a new language is that it makes traveling so much easier when you know the home language. Traveling to countries where you can't understand anything and require a translator can be more expensive and you're less immersed in the culture. By picking up, even some key phrases in each country, you maximize your experience that much more. 

Can you learn in your sleep? 

Now here's the big question, if you play a song or audio in another language, will you eventually wake up fluent in that language? The short answer is unfortunately, no. There is not a lot of information or studying on learning while asleep, however, what is out there suggests that our brains can only make very loose associations and not pick up an entire language to learn. 

The issue with these studies and this attempt is that learning disturbs the brain's sleep pattern by requiring it to be on and more alert longer. This is actually detrimental to learning because deep sleep is required for maximizing language. 

How sleep can help with learning

Sleep is actually very important for learning. When we enter the deeper stages of sleeping, our brain is able to consolidate our memories. This means that it forms neural connections that will help us remember what we've learned throughout the day. The more we learn and then get good sleep after, the better we'll continue to remember that information. 

Best ways to learn a new language

If you want to learn a new language, it's important to understand this isn't going to be something that happens overnight. It is going to take a long time of consistent learning that builds on top of what you've previously learned. There are several apps like Babbel that have different plans to help you start learning, as well as in person classes.

When you get to a certain level of comfort, then it may be best to find someone who speaks that language fluently and have conversations with them so you can get more comfortable with speaking and understanding the language in a conversational manner. 

Also it's important to get some sleep! If you don't sleep then your brain is only focused on keeping you alive. It doesn't have the energy for something as consuming as learning a new language. Take advantage of the work that does happen during sleep which is reinforcing what you spent time learning the day before.

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Topics: learning

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