The Sleep Programming Story

By Dick Sutphen

According to a U.S. Department of Commerce Technical Services bulletin, the power of sleep programming may extend well beyond the levels of alpha and theta.

There is no question as to the power of sleep programming suggestions heard as you relax and drift into first-stage and second-stage sleep. The cycle-per-second activity of your brain slows down to alpha, then to theta (hypnogogic level). These are levels accessed for hypnosis programming.

But deeper delta sleep usually isn't considered to be effective for programming. That may not be so, based upon the research projects reported by A.M. Svyadoshch in a 26-page bulletin printed and distributed by the Office of Technical Services, United States Department of Commerce.

Most of the American and Russian research was based on reading stories to their sleeping subjects then questioning them when they awakened. The researchers didn't start reading the stories until the subjects had been asleep at least an hour, which would assure a level of deep sleep.

The following are quotes directly from the report:

"There can be no doubt that a sleeping person can also perceive speech without distorting it. Evidence of this is to be found in the observations of physicians who have treated children by 'reeducation during natural sleep.' When they awoke the next morning, the children did not know that they had perceived speech during their sleep, but the therapeutic effect that they manifested was evidence that they had assimilated the speech.

"In another experiment, a boy of 12 years was found, after hearing 20 repetitions of a poem while deep asleep, to be able to memorize this poem eight times as fast as a control subject. When questioned upon awakening, he remembered nothing of what had happened during his exposure to the recitation."

"It was shown by the experiments that were performed that of the 25 subjects selected by us for testing, 20 were found experimentally to be capable of developing an ability to perceive speech during natural sleep."

"The data shows that it is possible in some cases, during natural nocturnal sleep, to perceive speech: lectures, stories, chapters from books of literary, philosophical, technical, and other content, as well as words of a foreign language, either uttered by known or unknown persons or reproduced by a tape recorder. The speech that is perceived under these conditions is assimilated, does not undergo distortion, and can be reproduced after the subject awakens.

"Unlike dreams, which are forgotten rapidly, this speech is retained in the memory just as well as speech heard while in working state. Hence, it is possible, in principle, to acquire knowledge during natural sleep.

"The psychological peculiarity of the perception of speech during sleep lies in the fact that the very act of perception is not consciously realized by the sleeping subject, i.e., the sleeper is not aware that he is hearing speech, that he is lying in bed and listening to speech. For the majority of our subjects, the speech assimilated during sleep was 'experienced' after awakening either as ideas that had arisen spontaneously, so that the subject 'could not imagine how they came into his head,' or as notions that had arisen in the logical course of the dream process. A minority of the subjects noted that they had heard speech during their sleep, although at that time they too were not conscious that they were asleep and were hearing speech."

"The experience connected with the perception of speech during sleep can sometimes find their expression in subsequent dreams. Thus, a boy in whom the ability to perceive speech during sleep was developed without the aid of hypnosis (suggestion while awake and autosuggestion), next morning remembered verbatim a story about a small dog named Nelly that had been read to him during his sleep.

"At first, in the morning,' he reported, 'I thought I had dreamed it. Then I thought to myself: How could I have dreamed it when I didn't see anything!'"

"In the process of perception, the speech perceived during sleep, unlike that perceived in the waking state, does not undergo critical reworking and is experienced after awakening as an idea whose source of origin has remained outside the consciousness, and for this reason it appears, to some extent, as an alien personality."

"The ability to assimilate speech during natural sleep can be developed artificially by: 1. suitable suggestion to a person who is in a waking state; 2. during hypnotic sleep; 3. by means of autosuggestion with the cultivation of voluntary efforts to establish a suitable mental set for the perception of speech; 4. by autogenous training; 5. by applying weak stimuli to the sleeper in the course of his sleep, without awakening him. It can be brought about most easily by using a combination of the methods indicated above. This ability can be developed in persons of both sexes and of various ages and cultural levels.

"Both in sleep and in the waking state some parts of the brain may be in a state of inhibition, while other parts are in a state of excitation. The cerebral cortex in the waking state presents a mosaic with intermingled points of excitation and inhibitions, i.e., it is permanently in a state of partial sleep. The region of optimal excitability, the creative portion of the large hemispheres, according to L.P. Pavlov, is constantly shifting. Thus, the cortex is simultaneously alert and resting."