Meditation has been shown to help people fall asleep twice as fast, improve rapid eye movement (REM) sleep states and preserve deep sleep. These results suggest that meditation provides at least short-term performance improvement, even in novice meditators. In long-term meditators, several hours spent meditation are associated with a significant decrease in total sleep time compared to age and sex controls who did not meditate. Research is being done on whether meditation can actually replace part of sleep or pay off sleep debt.
In the second study with long-term meditators, 7 subjects (3 female and 4 male, from India) with at least 3 years of regular meditation practice (2 hours or more per day for most days of the year) were used. Age range 24-48 years (all citizens of India in the Delhi region) and an average age of 38.1 years. Everyone was healthy with no history of major medical, psychiatric or sleep problems. All practiced traditional styles of yogic meditation with a focus on breathing, and all would probably be classified as concentrative meditation as opposed to mindfulness meditation, although these distinctions are not always clear.
Sleep diaries were kept in a previously supplied format for a minimum of 15 days (a maximum of 30 days). Activity monitors (ACTITRAC) were used for Actigraphy recordings for a minimum of 15 days to a maximum of 22 days. Subjects pressed a marker button (read digitally) each time they started meditating. EEGs were performed on a subset of subjects (n% 3D) using a Neurocare Wingraph Digital EEG system (Biotech).
A standard 10-lead placement system was used. MSLT and PVT tests were also performed on a subset of subjects (n% 3D) using standard methods. EEGs were scored by hand with the help of a trained and certified polysomnographic technician. Twenty-three control subjects were also selected in India for comparisons of total sleep time relative to the seven meditators.
These control subjects were matched by sex and age. Another limitation is the possibility that subjects expect that they will do better after meditation, either because of their own beliefs or unconsciously transmitted by researchers. This is a difficult problem in meditation studies and many other treatments, since double-blind studies are not possible (subjects know what treatment they are receiving). While we cannot eliminate this possibility in the present study, we believe that it is unlikely for two reasons.
First, several subjects told us that they thought that both meditation and napping would improve their performance, since they were unaware of the effects of sleep inertia. Clearly, their expectations after naps did not substantially improve their performance (as they consistently fared worse than their previous test). Second, PVT is a very basic test of reaction time and vigilance that does not have a learning curve and would be difficult to perform consciously or unconsciously and then overcome the results after meditation. In addition, our subjects were young and highly motivated, and we encouraged them to do their best in all the tests.
In short, we think we would have seen evidence if our results were mainly due to the expectations of subjects or researchers. These issues will continue to be important as we try to expand our studies from PVT performance to cognitive performance or other functions. In this latest study on yogis and controls in India, yogis may wish to exaggerate the benefits of yoga and the reduction of sleep it allowed, but it seems unlikely that they have maintained such limited sleep for the entire duration of these studies. Moreover, it is for this reason that we insist on at least 15 days of actigraphy data on each yogi and not on simple sleep diaries that are much easier to skew.
Read on to learn about the different types of sleep meditation and how to meditate to improve sleep. We will also discuss the benefits and potential risks. Guided meditation is when someone else guides you through each step of meditation. You may be told to breathe or relax your body in a certain way.
Or, they can cause you to view images or sounds. This technique is also known as guided imagery. While the exact steps may vary from source to source, the following step-by-step instructions provide an overview of how to do guided meditation. Far from being a new trend of the era, meditation has been shown to provide a variety of physical and mental health advantages, including improving concentration, reducing stress, managing pain, lowering overall blood pressure, and even helping improve sleep.
A major difficulty in assessing whether meditation can replace part of sleep is that sleep functions are not well understood and there is no direct measure of the need for sleep. When done before bedtime, meditation can help reduce insomnia and sleep problems by promoting overall calm. If you plan to use meditation to help improve your daily rest, daily meditation is usually suggested. The study reported that older meditators spent more time in slow-wave sleep (SWS) with higher tha-alpha power with background delta activity, along with a reduced electromyogram (EMG).
I'm not sure if you have any reason to think that meditation is the cause of your sleep problems, but it may be worthwhile to see a doctor to make sure there haven't been any physiological changes in recent months. In experiments with experienced long-term meditators, sleep duration was measured using sleep diaries and actigraphy. Since sleep meditation for insomnia is relatively affordable, low-risk, and easy to implement, it is an attractive option for people who have difficulty accessing other types of therapy or medications. Let's take a look at the specific meditation techniques that tend to work well for sleep and how to do each of them.
Meditation can be a powerful tool to help you sleep better, but it doesn't replace sleep nor is it the only thing that can improve your sleep. Vipassana meditation practices help to retain the flexibility of autonomous activity during the different stages of sleep. But how is it that every time I try to meditate, I end up yawning and fighting the sandman instead of finding my third eye? Is not everyone suitable for meditation?. .