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
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
With love and peace, Ruth