Using Relaxed Sleep to Re-shape Brain Activity

According to a study published in the journal Sleep, you can accelerate your learning and ability to memorize, as well as improve the quality of sleep, through a process that reshapes your brain activity.

Participants in the study were able to shape their brain activity by manipulating certain brain activity. Researchers believed that an increase in relaxation, and a decrease in muscle tension. leads to less tossing and turning during sleep. They theorize that less movement enhances memory and accelerates learning.

Scientists already know that the brain processes memory during periods of deep sleep, so this adds a different dimension to the equation.

Electroencephalograph (EEG) readings showed the 27 subjects in the experiment were able to transition into sleep quicker, which improved their ability to retrieve information after learning. They were able to fall asleep faster, and had better memory performance after just two weeks of instrumental sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) amplitude by the use of instrumental SMR conditioning (ISC). “The aim of the study was to improve sleep quality and memory performance by ‘rewarding’ the existence of certain activities of the brain,” said Dr. Manual Schabus, workgroup leader from the University of Salzburg in Austria.

The Sensory Motor Rhythm (SMR) is brain wave rhythm that synchronizes electromagnetic activity in the brain, and is more active when the body is at rest or not moving. Electroencephalography (EEG) is the recording of electrical activity along the scalp. It measures the fluctuations in voltage resulting from ionic current flows within the neurons of the brain. The use of these tools to adjust the brain waves in the brain has been extremely successful in treating many different types of disorders, including ADHD and epilepsy. Other studies have shown the process to be effective in the treatment of psychophysiological insomnia, which stems from excessive worrying.

Subjects for the study were randomly selected to participate on one of two groups, an ISC group or one that uses random frequencies to study the effects of ISC on declarative memory performance and sleep.

Subjects visited the laboratory on 13 occasions, 10 in which they were hooked up to a feedback system that was connected to a computer screen in order for the researchers to visibly track the brain activity.  Each participant was asked to come in with a positive mental attitude, and utilize some form of physiological relaxation technique, like meditation, in order to shape his or her brainwaves.None of the participants had knowledge as to the type of group or assignment they were participating in.

Through the use of ISC, participants were rewarded with a pleasant image when they successfully enhanced their specific type of brain activity. Researchers then collected date concerning their quality of sleep and depression, as well as intelligence and memory levels. They all were asked to associate word-pairs before and after a 90-minute naps taken before and after each 90-minute treatment session.

About the author:

Ron White is a two-time U.S.A. Memory Champion and memory training expert. As a memory keynote speaker he travels the world to speak before large groups or small company seminars, demonstrating his memory skills and teaching others how to improve their memory, and how important a good memory is in all phases of your life. His CDs and memory products are also available online at

Sources: – Learning to shape your brain activity:

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