How to practice guitar in your sleep

Can you really learn guitar while sleeping?

You must be thinking this is complete nonsense, but some guitarists do believe this can be done. But really, “learning while you are asleep”, this sounds crazy, right? But have you have had the situation where you are trying to solve some problems, homework maybe, right up until the moment you fall asleep? Sometimes you may be cramming for an exam or just doing work way too late in the evening. Maybe you may even fall asleep whilst solving the problems. The odd thing is that what seems to happen is that you fall asleep and in your dreams the reality continues. What is happening here is that your brain continues to focus on the task that it was doing before you fell asleep. The brain seems to continue to work and process whatever it was doing before you fell asleep. This is very like how meditation works.

There is a way to take advantage of the brain continuing to help you learn new things in this state of sleep. If you do practice some form of meditation then it is probably best that you stick to that as your method of accessing this dreamlike state. You can find many different meditation techniques that are relatively easy to do. However, to get started, try this;

  1. Lie on your back in bed with your legs slightly apart and your arms slightly away from your body with the palms of your hands down
  2. Concentrate on your toes as if you are tensing them, but don’t tense them and then imagine that you are releasing this tension, repeat this five to ten times
  3. Hopefully your feet will know start to feel heavy at which point you can move up through your body, repeating this in your calf muscles, upper leg muscles, torso, shoulders and then down through your arms and to your hands
  4. Now you can think about that particularly difficult riff or scale that you have been trying to learn and imagine you are playing it
  5. Keep repeating the exercise and the chances are that you will probably fall asleep

At this point you may even dream about playing guitar, or you may have no dreams or maybe a completely unrelated dream. Whatever happens, the result will be the same. Your brain will be forming new neural pathways all night long, based around what you are trying to learn or improve.

Not everybody will find this super easy to do and some may even find it impossible. However, if you can do this, what you will find is that when you wake up, the riff or scale that you were having trouble with, all of a sudden seems a whole lot easier. This is an incredibly effective way to improve your guitar playing much more quickly.

If you try this technique but find that you don’t seem to have a good night’s sleep, don’t panic. For some people who have not tried to ‘experiment’ with their brain, this may not seem natural and your body may react unnaturally. Sometimes people report back that they felt groggy or tired when they woke up. If this happens we recommend that you leave it alone for one week and then try it again, that usually works just fine.

If you are not the sort of person who falls asleep easy, there may be some different reasons for this. I’d recommend that you read this post about the most popular reasons you can’t fall asleep and their simple solutions.

I hope you have enjoyed this rather unusual post on Fine Guitar Consultants. Night Night and keep on practicing, even if you are asleep!



Luba Podgayskaya - February 23, 2019

Dear Sir or Madam,

I have found your article on practicing during sleep; I am not a guitarist – a pianist, but of course this is relevant to any musician.
I am trying to know a bit more about this effect of practice in sleep, as I experienced it, and the results were fascinating but also scary (I could only perform the music while being a little bit sleepy, unconscious – even on the stage! The moment I would become alert, I would be forgetting every second bar of the piece…)

Could you perhaps tell more about this phenomen, or also advise where could I find more information on this subject? I would be very happy to hear from you any kind of information on this!

Thank you,
Kind regards,

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