Have you ever tried to learn French while you sleep? See our tips below to learn how to study and learn French while sleeping.
Can you learn French while you sleep?
Do you want to learn French while you sleep? When you’re juggling family, school, work, and other obligations, sleeping for eight hours a day can seem like a waste of time. That would be fantastic if you could use that time!
Many websites, podcasts, and YouTube playlists claim that you can learn a language by passively exposing yourself to it. In your dreams as well. If you just sit back and relax, you’ll be fluent in no time. Are these assertions true?
I’ll start with the attention-grabbing answer you were looking for: yes, you can learn French while sleeping. Now that you’re in a good mood, I’ll address what you probably meant when you Googled “can you learn French while sleeping?” I apologize for the disappointment.
What is subliminal language learning?
Subliminal language learning is the process of learning a language without consciously attempting it. Even if you aren’t paying attention, your brain will remember frequently repeated words and make connections between those words and their definitions in your native language.
Subliminal learning, in general, refers to the ability to pick up intricate rules underlying a foreign language without being aware of it. This is a type of implicit language learning, in which young children learn language skills without much help from grammar or pronunciation books.
Learning a language as an adult is not always easy, and success is not always guaranteed., That is probably why many people (and researchers) are curious about whether adult language learners can still learn a language subconsciously.
The most well-known example of subliminal language learning is hypnopaedic learning. That simply means studying while sleeping. The plan is to put on headphones and listen to a language’s words and phrases all night, but quietly enough not to wake us up.
Could listening to French music or news while sleeping, for example, help you memorize it? A quick search for products that claim to make listeners bilingual will yield a plethora of get-fluent-quick products in languages ranging from Portuguese to Japanese. As a result, you may be led to believe that you can learn French while sleeping.
What does science say about sleep learning?
After waking everyone up at 2 a.m., the psychologists tested both groups. When compared to uncued words, repeated exposure to Dutch words while sleeping improved later memory for the cued words’ French translation. Uncued word recall matched that of a separate group that slept without any verbal cues.
Don’t you think that sounds good? However, it is still too early to declare that you can study French at night. However, a significant body of research contradicts those findings. Subliminal language learning opponents, in particular, propose the following alternative explanations for the researchers’ findings:
- The vocabulary words had all been taught at least once to the French students, so the participants weren’t learning anything new while they slept. They were simply mapping the relationships between the words they had learned while awake in their minds.
- It’s possible that they learned despite sleeping rather than because they slept. Students who are allowed to take a break to perform are almost always better than tired students who have been forced to sit through hours of the same boring vocabulary recording. That is more obvious than any recent scientific discovery.
Consider this person’s attempt to learn the French language while sleeping for a month: “I found it difficult to sleep because of the nightly French lessons, and I didn’t feel as rested some mornings. I lost about 30 minutes of sleep each night trying to turn my brain off, and one month later, the only French words I know are bonjour, au revoir, and croissant.”
In 2016, linguists from the language website MosaLingua conducted their research on hypnopaedic learning. While sleeping, the participants listened to word and phrase recordings.
After listening to recordings of words they had never seen before, 72% of participants saw no difference in their test results. There was no new vocabulary retained from the recording. In other words, you cannot study French at night.
In particular, new words, patterns, and so on. You’re disappointed, so let me explain why sleeping is still necessary for learning French, or any other language. Once you understand how your brain develops while you sleep, you can set reasonable expectations for your French learning progress.
Your brain learns by itself in your sleep
Sleep, learning, and memory are all complex phenomena that are still poorly understood. However, studies on both humans and animals show a link between sleep duration and quality, and cognition. Sleep improves learning and memory in two distinct ways, according to research:
- To begin with, lack of sleep makes it difficult to concentrate and hinders learning.
- Sleep aids memory consolidation, which is required for learning new information.
Sleep researchers use two methods to investigate how sleep affects learning and memory formation:
- Investigating the various stages of sleep (and how their lengths change in response to learning various new tasks).
- Investigating the effect of sleep deprivation on learning Total sleep deprivation (no sleep permitted), partial sleep deprivation (both early and late sleep are deprived), and selective sleep deprivation (specific stages of sleep are deprived).
Memory functions: acquisition, consolidation, recall
Even though the precise mechanisms are unknown, three functions are commonly used to describe learning and memory.
- The acquisition is the process of introducing new information into the brain.
- Consolidation processes allow memory to become stable.
- The recall is the ability to access information after it has been stored, whether consciously or unconsciously.
Each of these steps is necessary for optimal memory performance. While memory consolidation is thought to occur while we sleep by fortifying the neural connections that form our memories, acquisition, and recall are thought to occur only while we are awake.
Although researchers disagree on the mechanism by which sleep facilitates this process, many believe that certain characteristics of brainwaves during various stages of sleep are linked to the formation of specific types of memory.
What enables you to learn French while sleeping? While it is true that you cannot learn new things while sleeping (for example, French words), studies have shown that sleep is the time when your brain consolidates information, converting it into long-term memories or eliminating irrelevant information.
By exposing your brain to previously experienced information again, you can make it transfer to long-term memory.
Take a nap to learn French?
Numerous studies have been conducted to determine how sleep affects language learning. For example, lexical competition, which indicates the incorporation of a newly learned word into the mental lexicon, appears only after a period of sleep, not after an equivalent period of wakefulness.
It appears that generalizing patterns or rules within a language are particularly dependent on sleep. Surprisingly, both wake experiences and neurophysiological sleep mechanisms influence the abstraction of linguistic rules over time. The majority of experts agree that getting a full night’s sleep is best for both learning and memory.
Even short naps of six minutes or less can improve learning, memory, and problem-solving creativity. In contrast, sleep deprivation causes our attention, focus, and vigilance to wander, making it more difficult to absorb information.
Without enough sleep and rest, we lose our ability to access previously learned information because overworked neurons are unable to coordinate information properly.
As a result, you could learn French while sleeping. So that’s science.
You can learn French while sleeping, but not the way you thought
If you were hoping for a magic formula to speak French fluently (literally) overnight, you might be disappointed. However, you can indeed study French at night. If you want to improve your mental capacity, I can recommend the best nootropics for language learning.
If you’re serious about learning how to learn faster, you’ve probably realized the importance of sleep in the learning process. As a result, you should undoubtedly get a good night’s sleep in between study sessions.
Serious language audio courses are designed with lessons that should be taken once daily and recommend sleeping between them rather than during them. You could, for example, study French while driving.
On a related note, if you feel like you don’t have enough time to study, it’s possible that your study techniques, rather than your hectic schedule, are making the process more difficult than it needs to be.
While there are study methods for learning French that can be beneficial, the most effective way to learn a new language is to watch a comprehensive tutorial and receive one-on-one instruction from a professional.