Can You Learn Spanish While You Sleep?

There are hundreds of ways to learn Spanish, but one method sticks out like a crude drawing in a high school textbook: Learning Spanish while you sleep. In my time learning Spanish, I’ve seen countless “sleep learning” videos pop up in my recommended tab on Youtube. Some of these videos have over a million views, so obviously I’m not the only one who has raised an eyebrow at the concept. So, can you learn Spanish while you sleep? We decided to do some digging.

If you came here from our Youtube channel or would like to participate in our own experiment, you can download the accompanying PDF by filling out the form below.

Download the Spanish While You Sleep PDF Here

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Everyone knows the old saying “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” But what we learned when we started investigating sleep learning surprised us. While the concept hasn’t gotten a lot of attention by the scientific community, two modern studies caught our attention.

The Case for Learning a Language While You Sleep

One study conducted by a team of Swiss psychologists shows some evidence adding to the credibility of sleep learning a language. But there’s a catch: it only works when we you review the words while conscious.

In their study, evidence showed that listening to newly-learned foreign vocabulary while sleeping can help solidify the memory of new words. Their research was published in the journal Cerebral Cortex by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Another study took a group of 41 Germans and had them listen to groups of made-up words while sleeping. The new words were created to ensure that the participants of the study had no prior knowledge of the words they would be presented with.

After playing the new vocabulary tied to real German words at certain times while sleeping, the participants of the study were put to the test. Participants were shown a number of words from the invented languages and asked a series of questions. For example, one word was given the definition of “key” for the study. Scientists would then ask the participants if the word presented was bigger or smaller than a shoe box.

The participants on average gave the answer correct 60% of the time. That’s 10% better than luck. While a 10% advantage may not sound revolutionary, it’s not bad considering the lack of effort required. You can check out the study published in Current Biology here.

Can you really learn Spanish while you sleep? Does it work at all, or is this another scam that feeds off of people’s dreams of getting something for nothing…

Does it Really Work?

So, as a skeptic at heart, my personal inclination is that something-for-nothing schemes tend to disappoint. But I’m intrigued by the data found in the studies mentioned above. Is this really something we should be paying attention to?

In the spirit of curiosity, we decided to do our own little experiment. Want to participate? While this isn’t nearly as controlled as the studies referenced above, we wanted to use what we learned from them to give you the best shot at reaping the potential benefits of sleep learning. Just follow these steps:

  1. Fill out the form above and download the PDF.
  2. Review the PDF at night before going to bed. We recommend making flashcards.
  3. Allow the video below to play throughout the night while you sleep.
  4. Review how you did.

Finally, let us know how it went in the comments. Do you think there’s any truth to sleep learning?


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