By Tarun Patel
Suppose it were possible to learn a new language, keep fit or stop smoking by sleeping on it? Literally.
The theory of sleep learning or “hypnopaedia” was kick-started by novels like Brave New World. Here, having been played a George Bernard Shaw broadcast while asleep, a Polish-speaking boy is able to repeat it verbatim (and, presumably, with an Irish lilt) following morning.
Thus inspired, companies started marketing sleep learning courses, usually endorsed by “leading psychologists”. In one advertisement, a woman claims that, by playing Spanish tapes during sleep, at the end of just one week, she was in negotiations with a Venezuelan ambassador.
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