The Loh Down On Science

Sleep Skills

Is the key to being all you can be … naps?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, and on how strategic siestas can sharpen your skills.

Meet Ken Paller from Northwestern University in Illinois. He and colleagues rigged a computer so that pressing certain keys produced tones. They taught volunteers two short songs, and then? Nap time. Subjects slept for 90 minutes, during which the team recorded brain activity and played one of the tunes ad nauseum. Then they held post-snooze recitals.

How’d everyone do? They nailed the sleep time song--but not the other one. It’s as if the tune unconsciously tapped their inner Mozart. Indeed, neurons associated with the keyboard playing never rested--they seemed to practice along with the music. So by the time subjects woke up, they’d mastered that melody.

In sum? Sounds associated with any task you've performed, heard while asleep, may train the brain in that task, making you better at it when awake.

My question? If you fall asleep to Jersey Shore… do you wake up a master potty mouth?

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC Pasadena, California. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


blog comments powered by Disqus