Smokers know how difficult is to quit, because cigarettes contain substance nicotine which causes addiction. Smokers are aware enough about health risks of their habit. Some of them want to quit for good, others do not. Data shows that annually more than one third of smokers at least once try to stop smoking and only 2% manage to do it.
Scientists from Israel found that a learning procedure which takes place durong sleep helps smokers to reduce consumption of cigarettes for several days. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers say that the method shows its effectiveness and is affordable for everyone as it is cheap. It tells something important about the connection between learning and sleep.
It is well known fact that sleeping plays an important role in memory. Many studies showed that different kinds of memory are strengthened during particular stages of sleep. Recent studies suggest that existing memories can be modified during sleep and this affects body functions and brain activity.
Few years ago, Anat Arzi and her peers at the Weizmann Institute of Science managed to demonstrate that people can learn new smell-associated information during their sleep and remember it when they awake. However, scientists wanted to know more about it. Thus Azri and her team selected 66 smokers who wanted to quit. Scientists asked them to keep a smoking diary for a week and write how many cigarettes they smoked daily. Then they were invited to the lab where during sleep some of them were subjected to a learning procedure in which scientists made them associate the smell of cigarette smoke with several unpleasant smells.
Scientists concluded that group of smokers who were involved in the learning procedure, smoked less cigarettes than before the experiment. The results suggest that this method is very effective in quitting.