The whole brain doesn’t shut down to get some shut eye. Much of the brain is very alert and that’s the part that learns.
Research has shown we can improve our musical ability, learn to associate a smell with a sound or solidify negative feelings.
Falling asleep after a negative experience can cement those feelings in the brain, so stay awake after a trauma to reduce the impact. If rotten fish is placed under your nose while you sleep and a tone is played at the same time, you’ll associate the note with the smell when you awaken.
You can expand your vocabulary by listening to tapes while you sleep.
After listening to a song while you are napping, you’ll find it easier to hit the right notes on a keyboard.
Since we still don’t understand why we need to sleep, maybe we’re better off by leaving the brain alone at night so it can do what it needs to do.
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