Meditation appears to provide at least a short-term improvement in reaction time performance, and can also provide a long-term reduction in the need for sleep, roughly equal to the time spent meditation. Researchers found that reduced sleep is quite common at times of intensive meditative practice, such as multi-day silent retreats. Sleeping less is often considered a sign of meditative ability and progress. Buddhist texts suggest that competent meditators sleep about 4 hours a night.
Meditation can help you sleep better. As a relaxation technique, it can calm the mind and body while improving inner peace. When done before bedtime, meditation can help reduce insomnia and sleep problems by promoting overall calm. However, in deep meditation, breathing can become extremely thin and shallow, and even be completely suspended for periods.
While breathing also slows down in deep sleep, it doesn't slow down as much as in deep meditation. Meditation is not a cure for catching up with sleep, and there is no substitute for sleep. But once our sleep count is balanced, those who continue to meditate on a daily basis may find that they need less sleep. Now, you may be thinking, Awesome, so mediation basically counts as a dream, right? Not at all.
Unless you've spent at least two hours a day meditating for the past three years or more, you probably won't notice a difference in your sleep needs on a regular basis when taking meditation. In other words, don't skimp on sleeping at night and try to recover with a midday meditation. However, if you feel that you need to focus again in the middle of the day, you might opt for half an hour of meditation instead of half an hour of nap. Not only will your alertness increase and improve your reaction time, but you are also likely to feel much less stunned afterwards.
The daytime sleepiness that follows can make you feel unwell and undermine your productivity, and can even harm your health. Now, a small study suggests that mindfulness meditation, a mind-calming practice that focuses on breathing and awareness of the present moment, can help. 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). Vipassana meditation appears to preserve SWS, suggesting that meditation could prevent age-related changes in slow-wave generating mechanisms.
Probably because meditation provides the body and mind with some of the same restorative benefits as sleep. Electrophysiological correlates of higher states of consciousness during sleep in long-term practitioners of the transcendental meditation program. In addition, the evaluation of heart rate variability during REM sleep showed greater sympathetic activity in meditators than in controls. The restorative alertness that you may experience with meditation is associated with a decrease in heart rate, a reduction in metabolism, and changes in the nervous system that reduce the excitement that occurs during sleep.
Neither of you can replace the other, but if you're looking for better sleep, slow down and meditate. Sleep and meditation are similar in that they both contribute to physical, mental and emotional health and well-being. Being well rested after a good night's sleep reduces the chances of falling asleep during the meditation session. The study suggested that older meditators could retain the sleep pattern of younger controls who did not meditate.
While both sleep and meditation are beneficial to the human body and mind in the way we have seen before, there are some essential differences, which we will now explore. Neuroimaging studies are beginning to support the idea that a meditation practice promotes greater wakefulness and a lower propensity for sleep as it progresses in intensity. Meditation practices influence brain functions, induce various events of intrinsic neuronal plasticity, modulate autonomic, metabolic, endocrine and immune functions, and thus mediate global regulatory changes in various behavioral states, including sleep. .