Changing the brain with meditation

Long but very interesting about meditation and sleep
Changing the Brain with Meditation: What’s Sleep Got to do With It?
November 13, 2013 By Ruth Buczynski, PhD 8 Comments
When a busy day is done, and you’re finally tucked in bed and fast asleep, your 
brain gets a break from that seemingly endless daily barrage of stimulation.
For researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, that made for an ideal opportunity
to take a look at brain waves in their most natural, uninfluenced state.
They wanted to find out if long-term meditation could increase gamma power.
Basically, gamma is a pattern of brain waves that’s usually associated with perception
and consciousness –
not to mention some plasticity-related processes like attention, learning, and memory.
Under the guidance of psychiatrist and neuroscientist Giulio Tononi, MD, PhD, Fabio
Ferrarelli and colleagues
worked overnight using high-density electroencephalography (hdEEG) to compare the
brains of long-term meditators (LTM)
with those of folks who had never meditated.
They recruited 29 right-handed LTM participants and the same number of non-meditators,
matching for age and sex – all between their late 30s and early 60s.
The meditation group was made up of folks who had been practicing for at least 3
years, had also participated in at least 3 one-week intensive retreats.
Each participant was recorded all night using high-density EEG, and for an added
the sleep technician was blind to group assignment.
After a lot of long nights, and thanks to a few pieces of hi-tech equipment,
the researchers had some exciting data to show.
Compared to the non-meditators, the LTM group had significantly increased gamma 
brain waves.
What’s cool is that these waves have also been linked with increased compassion,
happiness, and optimal brain function, and are often used as a measure of lasting
brain change.

With love and peace, Ruth


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