Sleep-learning may not be limited to the world of fiction

Posted: December 30, 2014 in Genius Intelligence, Underground Knowledge
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In academic circles, it’s fair to say the debate continues over the effectiveness, or otherwise, of hypnopædia, or sleep-learning. And although still not conclusive, some research has shown the subconscious mind is very receptive to absorbing knowledge whilst we sleep. (Hypnopædia, incidentally, comes from the Greek hypnos, meaning ‘sleep’, and paideia, meaning ‘education’). 

Sleep learning - you must be dreaming!

The debate is nothing new. There are numerous references to hypnopædia in Aldous Huxley’s 1932 dystopian novel Brave New World. Thirty years later, this unusual learning method was also mentioned in A Clockwork Orange, another dystopian novel, by Anthony Burgess.

We even include hypnopædia in the education of our fictitious orphans in book two of our international thriller series The Orphan Trilogy. Their education continues through the night; audio courses play through headphones and they’re able to learn new subjects like high finance or foreign languages while asleep.

The popularity of Brave New World and similar bestselling novels coincided with the release of positive results of preliminary studies into sleep-learning, ensuring that hypnopædia became relatively well known around the world and interest in it blossomed.

However, from the early 1960’s onwards, more in-depth scientific studies were conducted in laboratories in the US and the UK, disproving the theory that humans could learn during sleep.

Even though many students in numerous countries kept claiming they achieved better exam results after listening to audio recordings on subjects whilst asleep, official studies simply did not confirm this. As a result, hypnopædia was discredited for about 50 years and slipped into obscurity in scientific and education circles.

Only in the last few years has the potential learning method resurfaced. Recent studies are beginning to contradict earlier experiments and it may not be long before hypnopædia is proven to be a valid form of education.

For example, on August 29, 2012, The Huffington Post ran a news article under the headline Sleep Learning May Be Possible: Study. The article mentioned a new study by researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science, which demonstrated test subjects learnt new information while asleep.

In an interrelated experiment, scientists at Illinois’ Northwestern University discovered that taking a 90-minute nap immediately after studying helps solidify knowledge in the brain. They taught new things – both physical and mental – to people and then tested them on how well they remembered and applied the knowledge taught.

There were two groups involved: one whose members slept after learning and one whose members stayed awake the whole time. Those who slept in the lab after studying showed significantly better mastery of the subject matter when tested.

Dream on: Sleeping shortly after learning something is the best way to remember it later, according to a new study

NBC’s Today published an article about the subject on September 11, 2014 which concurred with other recent findings.

“Research is beginning to show that our brains don’t go completely offline during a doze,” the article states, “but are actually busy organizing and storing away memories of events — and may be quite open to other activities.

“In fact,” the article continues, “a new study has shown that the brain can be started on a task just as a person is dropping off to sleep and then, during slumber, take in new auditory information and then process it, according to a report published Thursday in Current Biology.”

So hypnopædia is once again on the scientific radar, and it may not be long before this unorthodox and rare technique is conclusively proven to be a genuine learning method. Until then, many students, professionals and academics will continue to listen to audio recordings as they sleep and many will also continue to provide positive testimonials.


While the child was asleep, a broadcast programme from London suddenly started to come through; and the next morning…Little Reuben woke up repeating word for word a long lecture by that curious old writer…The principle of sleep-teaching, or hypnopædia, had been discovered…The principle had been discovered; but many, many years were to elapse before that principle was usefully applied…They thought that hypnopædia could be made an instrument of intellectual education.” –Aldous Huxley, Brave New World.


To learn more about hypnopædia, or sleep-learning, see our Kindle Bestseller GENIUS INTELLIGENCE: Secret Techniques and Technologies to Increase IQ:


GENIUS INTELLIGENCE: Secret Techniques and Technologies to Increase IQ (The Underground Knowledge Series Book 1)


To view the discussion thread on genius intelligence (the phenomenon) in our ‘Underground Knowledge’ group on Goodreads check out:—a-discussion-group >>> Everyone’s welcome!



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