Analyzing Chuck: Do Messages Get Across When You Hear It While Sleeping?

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Last night’s Chuck might have been all about relationships and dictators from communist countries, but they did raise one important question: Can you learn things in your sleep as so many countless movies and television shows have told us you can?

Chuck told Sarah that the book he was reading, 101 Conversations Before I Do, suggested that couples should try talking about difficult subjects with their partner while the other one was asleep in order to get a message across. While Sarah tries doing that in an “aww” inspiring moment at the end of the episode, does talking to someone during their shuteye time really work? Can you perform inception by verbal suggestion?

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An article from 1948 in Time Magazine suggests hypnopaedia (the technical term for sleep learning) actually exists, but doctors today say the jury is still out. “It’s an exciting concept that humans have hoped for eons because it would be wonderful to be  able to learn effortlessly while we slept,” said Dr. William Kohler of the Florida Sleep Institute. The theory has yet to be proven, but there is some evidence out that the popular sci-fi concept might work.

“If we were able to have a mechanism where we could learn during sleep it would be outstanding,” he said. “We would be so much more productive.”

Before you pay your roommate to stay up all night reading The Principles of Macroeconomics to you as you sleep, Kohler points out “we’re not there yet.” What has been proven is sleep is a very valuable time for your brain to take what you’ve learned all day and create memories. “Sleep has a purpose and one of the purposes is sleep consolidation where we take thing that we’ve learned during the day… and encode that information positively into our brain,” Kohler explained.

Technically, if she wanted to work on the communication part of their relationship, what Sarah should have done was talk to Chuck before he fell asleep and let him process that information while he caught a few ZZZs, which would have been much more beneficial. But then again, talking to a person face to face while they are awake is much harder than telling them they just dreamed you told them that the next morning.

More on Techland:

Analyzing Last Night’s Chuck: Could A 100-Pound Girl Beat Another Person Up?

Chuck: What You’re Going To Be Missing If You Don’t Catch Up Now

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