Article

Practitioners of vipassana meditation exhibit enhanced slow wave sleep and REM sleep states across different age groups

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  • National Institute of Mental Heath and Neurosciences
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Abstract

Intense meditation practices influence brain functions in different ways and at different levels. Earlier studies have shown that meditation practices help to organize sleep–wake behavior. In the present study, we evaluated the sleep architecture of vipassana meditators across different age groups. Whole-night polysomnography was carried out in healthy male subjects between 30 and 60 years of age from control (n= 46) and meditation (n= 45) groups. They were further divided into younger- (30–39 years), middle- (40–49 years), and older-aged (50–60 years) groups. Sleep variables were evaluated from subjects who had a sleep efficiency index more than 85%. The sleep architecture of vipassana meditators was different from that of control groups. Vipassana meditators showed enhanced slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement sleep states with an enhanced number of sleep cycles across all age groups. When compared to meditators, the control groups exhibited pronounced age-associated decrease in slow wave sleep states. Our study suggests that vipassana meditation helps to establish a proper sleep structure in old age, probably through its capacity to induce neuronal plasticity events leading to stronger network synchronization and cortical synaptic strengthening.

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... The former enhances slowwave sleep but has no effect on REM sleep; whereas the latter increases both slow-wave sleep and REM sleep even in the older age group and enhances REM density 10 -12 . Despite attenuation of slow-wave generating mechanism with the normal ageing process 13 , our observation of retaining slow-wave sleep even in elderly long-term Vipassana meditation practitioners 11 is attributed to the meditation-induced neural plasticity changes. Effective thalamocortical and corticocortical interactions are reported among meditators, which facilitates the generation of slow waves 14 . ...
... The data for the study were from a subgroup of participants from our earlier report comprising of 91 subjects (mindfulness meditators and controls) who underwent consecutive two whole night polysomnography recordings 11 . Out of 91 subjects, 65 of them gave written consent for hormonal assay along with whole night polysomnography recordings. ...
... The meditators were practising Vipassana meditation regularly for more than three years, daily for 2-4 hours, i.e.,1-2 hours, in the morning (between 6-8 A.M.) and 1-2 hours in the evening (between 6-8 P.M.). The details of meditation training have been elaborated on in our earlier publication 11 . In brief, Vipassana meditation is possibly the most ancient form of mindfulness-based meditative technique. ...
Article
Objectives: Meditation practices positively influence the neural, hormonal and autonomic systems. We have demonstrated that long-term practice of mindfulness meditation increases N3 and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep stages and bring efficient autonomic modulation during sleep. In the present study, the probable humoral correlation that could bring about these changes is evaluated. Material and Methods: Long-term Vipassana meditators (n=41) and controls (n=24) (males, 30-60 years of age) underwent a two-day consecutive whole night polysomnography recording. During the second day, with exposure to 100Lux brightness, blood was sampled from the antecubital vein between 8-9 PM and in subsequent early morning. Sleep stage was scored as per American Society of Sleep Medicine (ASSM) guidelines for the second-day recording. Sleep-related hormones were estimated - melatonin by radioimmunoassay; dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), cortisol, growth hormone (GH) and prolactin with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA); DHEA/cortisol ratio was calculated. Percentage of sleep stages and hormonal levels were compared between both groups using independent ‘t’ test and Pearson’s correlation was estimated between sleep stages and hormonal levels. Results: Meditators showed increased N3, REM sleep stages. Though evening cortisol was comparable between the two groups; early morning cortisol, diurnal DHEA and melatonin were significantly higher in meditators. Diurnal DHEA correlated significantly with the N3 sleep stage in meditators. Discussion: Higher diurnal DHEA despite variations in corresponding cortisol in meditators demonstrates that long-term Vipassana meditation practice modulates the hypothalamicpituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and thereby influences sleep. Thus, the study provides evidence to explore the mechanism most likely involved with mindfulness meditation intervention in insomnia.
... This effect of long-term concentrative meditation on sleep amount was also reported by Ferrarelli and colleagues, with experienced Buddhist meditators sleeping an average of 6.14 hours, as compared to meditation novices which slept an average of 6.75 hours [71]. In contrast, research in mindfulness and compassion meditations indicate no differences in total sleep time between long-term meditators and non-meditator controls [65,[78][79][80]. It's unclear if this is due to differences in meditation practices, as there have been no systematic studies of sleep duration and meditation experience. ...
... Careful studies correlating specific frequency bands over specific cortical regions during meditation and during subsequent sleep may be able to parse these different processes. [78,79]. This fits into the meditation-homeostasis framework, causing a lesser need for nREM sleep and allowing them to spend more time in REM sleep. ...
... This fits into the meditation-homeostasis framework, causing a lesser need for nREM sleep and allowing them to spend more time in REM sleep. These daily meditators did not have their meditation practice temporally controlled around the sleep study [78,79], and this raises questions on whether their finding was a state or trait effect of meditation on sleep. OM meditations have been shown to have differences in sleep architecture, although sleep time did not differ between meditator and non-meditator groups [78][79][80]. ...
... Meditative practices are reported to improve sleep quality in chronic insomnia patients (S. B S Khalsa, 2004), enhance the slow wave sleep and Rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep) in long term practitioners of Transcedental meditation (Mason et al., 1997).We have observed changes in sleep architecture with increased duration of slow wave sleep and REM sleep states among senior Vipassana meditators (Nagendra, Maruthai, & Kutty, 2012;Pattanashetty et al., 2010;Sulekha, Thennarasu, Vedamurthachar, Raju, & Kutty, 2006). Buddhist meditative practices such as Vipassana meditation follows the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin as taught by S.N. ...
... Of these, 20 subjects were senior Vipassana meditators with a mean age (SEM) of 44.2 (3.43) years, 16 were the novice Vipassana meditator group with a mean age of 40.9 (4.14) years and 19 were the control group with a mean age of 36.7 (3.15) years. Sample size required for this study was calculated based on the REM duration data from an earlier study from our lab (Pattanashetty et al., 2010) using the standard routine of G*power 3.1 software (Faul, Erdfelder, Lang, & Buchner, 2007;Faul, Erdfelder, Buchner, & Lang, 2009). The calculations suggested a sample size of 13-17 for the proposed agegroup (13 for 30-40 yrs; 14 for 40-50 yrs; 17 for 50-60 yrs) with a confidence level of 95% and power of 80% for a two-tailed inference. ...
... We attribute the changes in REM sleep organization to the experience dependent plasticity as meditative practices are reported to produce both structural and functional changes of nervous system (Lazar et al., 2005). Earlier we have reported the changes in sleep architecture associated with Vipassana meditation (Pattanashetty et al., 2010;Sulekha et al., 2006). Our study support the view that meditation practices induce the brain plasticity towards a better sleep organization (Nagendra et al., 2012). ...
Article
The present study is aimed to ascertain whether differences in meditation proficiency alter rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep) as well as the overall sleep-organization. Whole-night polysomnography was carried out using 32-channel digital EEG system. 20 senior Vipassana meditators, 16 novice Vipassana meditators and 19 non-meditating control subjects participated in the study. The REM sleep characteristics were analyzed from the sleep-architecture of participants with a sleep efficiency index>85%. Senior meditators showed distinct changes in sleep-organization due to enhanced slow wave sleep and REM sleep, reduced number of intermittent awakenings and reduced duration of non-REM stage 2 sleep. The REM sleep-organization was significantly different in senior meditators with more number of REM episodes and increased duration of each episode, distinct changes in rapid eye movement activity (REMA) dynamics due to increased phasic and tonic activity and enhanced burst events (sharp and slow bursts) during the second and fourth REM episodes. No significant differences in REM sleep organization was observed between novice and control groups. Changes in REM sleep-organization among the senior practitioners of meditation could be attributed to the intense brain plasticity events associated with intense meditative practices on brain functions.
... As sleep follows an alternating NREM-REM sleep events with sleep state dependent cardio autonomic modulations, how meditative practices help to regulate such sleep cycle dependent cardio autonomic dynamicity is still not understood. We have studied the changes in sleep architecture among Vipassana mediation practitioners [14,15]. The present study evaluated the HRV across sleep cycles in long term practitioners of Vipassana meditation. ...
... Cyclic meditation practices are shown to enhance the subjective sense of quality sleep with increased vagal activity [13]. We have reported distinct changes in sleep architecture among senior Vipassana meditation practitioners with enhanced slow wave sleep, REM sleep states even among elderly meditators [14,15]. Thus, our study showed that Vipassana meditation practice help to defy the age related changes in sleep quality and structure. ...
Article
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Background: Sleep state related cardiac autonomic modulations are important for proper cardiovascular functions and to maintain homeostasis during sleep. The present study evaluates the efficacy of Vipassana meditation on cardio autonomic dynamicity across sleep cycles during sleep. Methods: 26 Senior Vipassana meditation practitioners and 23 non-meditating control subjects participated in the study. Whole night polysomnography with lead II ECG were carried out using 32 channel, 2110 digital EEG system (Nihon Kohden, Japan) and with 16 channels Power Lab data acquisition system (AD Instruments, Australia. Differences in sleep variables across sleep cycles among the meditation practitioners and control groups (between groups) were analyzed by two way ANOVA with turkey posthoc test. The heart rate variability (HRV) was assessed during N2 and N3 and REM sleep state across three consecutive sleep cycles. The HRV variables-High frequency power (HF) and low frequency power (LF) density, their normalized units (HFnu and LFnu) and ratio (LF/HF ratio) were compared across sleep cycles using Analysis of variance with repeated measures for within group and ‘t’ test for between groups. Results: Vipassana meditators showed significantly high HFnu irrespective of sleep states across sleep cycles. During REM sleep, as HF nu was concomitantly enhanced along with increased LFnu, the LF/HF ratio was reduced in meditators. In addition, meditators showed distinct sleep architecture with enhanced slow wave sleep and REM sleep states along with significantly reduced intermittent awakenings indicative of proper sleep organisation. Conclusion: Vipassana meditation practice helps to establish a proper cardio autonomic dynamicity during sleep with a persistent increase in parasympathetic activity across sleep states. Such a state of heightened parasympathetic activity especially during REM sleep helps to buffer the sympathetic surges and helps to maintain a proper sympatho-vagal balance essential for quality sleep and cardio protection.
... As sleep follows an alternating NREM-REM sleep events with sleep state dependent cardio autonomic modulations, how meditative practices help to regulate such sleep cycle dependent cardio autonomic dynamicity is still not understood. We have studied the changes in sleep architecture among Vipassana mediation practitioners [14,15]. The present study evaluated the HRV across sleep cycles in long term practitioners of Vipassana meditation. ...
... Cyclic meditation practices are shown to enhance the subjective sense of quality sleep with increased vagal activity [13]. We have reported distinct changes in sleep architecture among senior Vipassana meditation practitioners with enhanced slow wave sleep, REM sleep states even among elderly meditators [14,15]. Thus, our study showed that Vipassana meditation practice help to defy the age related changes in sleep quality and structure. ...
... It is known that proficient meditative practices regulate various physiological mechanisms that promote proper sleep organization [1].  In this context, we have already showed that Vipassana Meditation practitioners exhibit enhanced Slow Wave Sleep and REM sleep across different age groups [2,3].  We have observed the effects of meditation on dynamic changes such as spindles which are orchestrated by thalamocortical oscillations and pontine brain. ...
...  We have observed the effects of meditation on dynamic changes such as spindles which are orchestrated by thalamocortical oscillations and pontine brain. Additionally, we have seen age-defying preservation of different band frequencies [2]. ...
... [26] In another study, Vipassana practitioners had increased NREM and REM across age groups, young, middle, and older ages. [27] Yoga improves mental functions in professionals working in demanding environments. A 5-day capsule program was reported to improve the anxiety, insomnia, and mental well-being of managers. ...
... Aged people who practiced Yoga on regular basis had a better quality of sleep with enhanced NREN and REM sleep, less lethargy during daytime, reduced intake of sleep medications, and subjective feeling of freshness in morning. [27] Yoga practice help in the amelioration of age-related degeneration by changing cardiometabolic risk factors, autonomic function, and BDNF in healthy males. [54] In another study, a relationship between poor sleep quality and reduced oxygen saturation of <90% which compromised physical performance in the form of decreased grip strength and walking speed was observed. ...
Article
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Stress is one of the major problems globally, associated with poor sleep quality and cognitive dysfunction. Modern society is plagued by sleep disturbances, either due to professional demands or lifestyle or both the aspects, often leading to reduced alertness and compromised mental function, besides the well documented ill effects of disturbed sleep on physiological functions. This pertinent issue needs to be addressed. Yoga is an ancient Indian science, philosophy and way of life. Recently, yoga practice has become increasingly popular worldwide. Yoga practice is an adjunct effective for stress, sleep and associated disorders. There are limited well controlled published studies conducted in this area. We reviewed the available literature including the effect of modern lifestyle in children, adolescents, adults and geriatric population. The role of yoga and meditation in optimizing sleep architecture and cognitive functions leading to optimal brain functioning in normal and diseased state is discussed. We included articles published in English with no fixed time duration for literature search. Literature was searched mainly by using PubMed and Science Direct search engines and critically examined. Studies have revealed positive effects of yoga on sleep and cognitive skills among healthy adults as well as patients of some neurological diseases. Further, on evaluating the published studies, it is concluded that sleep and cognitive functions are optimized by yoga practice, which brings about changes in autonomic function, structural changes, changes in metabolism, neurochemistry and improved functional brain network connectivity in key regions of the brain.
... A growing body of evidence suggests that long term meditation practice brings about experience dependent neuro-plastic changes in specific cortical areas involved in emotion regulation and cognitive control (Hölzel et al., 2011;Kang et al., 2013;Lazar et al., 2005;Luders et al., 2012). These trait effects of long term meditative practices have been explored both in sleep (Pattanashetty et al., 2010;Sulekha, Thennarasu, Vedamurthachar, Raju, & Kutty, 2006) and waking states (Brefczynski-lewis, Lutz, Schaefer, Levinson, & Davidson, 2007;Cahn, Delorme, Polich, Diego, & Jolla, 2013;Cahn & Polich, 2006;Manna et al., 2010). Indeed, state changes in long term meditators can be considered to be a combination of state and trait effects (Davidson & Kaszniak, 2015). ...
Article
Meditation induces a modified state of consciousness that remains under voluntary control. Can meditators rapidly and reversibly bring about mental state changes on demand? To check, we carried out 128 channel EEG recordings on Brahma Kumaris Rajayoga meditators (36 long term: median 14240 h meditation; 25 short term: 1095 h) and controls (25) while they tried to switch every minute between rest and meditation states in different conditions (eyes open and closed; before and after an engaging task). Long term meditators robustly shifted states with enhanced theta power (4–8 Hz) during meditation. Short term meditators had limited ability to shift between states and showed increased lower alpha power (8–10 Hz) during eyes closed meditation only when pre and post task data were combined. Controls could not shift states. Thus trained beginners can reliably meditate but it takes long term practice to exercise more refined control over meditative states.
... The improvement in the median scores after yoga reached a value of 4.00 ± 3.36 indicating that these patients slept normally, while the patients in control group also showed some improvement in their scores (7.20 ± 3.49) that did not reach normalcy. Studies using meditation and chanting similar to the techniques used in this study showed improved quality of sleep in the form of appearance of theta rhythm during slow wave sleep along with low EMG and enhanced REM duration following Transcendental Meditation(TM) among healthy volunteers [31,32] and enhanced slow wave sleep and REM sleep state among different age groups of healthy Vipassana meditation practitioners [33,34]. This improved quality of sleep may be due to the improved REM sleep and slow wave sleep by meditation practice and regularization of breathing through pranayama practices. ...
Article
Objective: To study the add-on effects of pranayama and meditation in rehabilitation of patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). Patients and method: This randomized control pilot study was conducted in neurological rehabilitation unit of university tertiary research hospital. Twenty-two GBS patients, who consented for the study and satisfied selection criteria, were randomly assigned to yoga and control groups. Ten patients in each group completed the study. The yoga group received 15 sessions in total over a period of 3 weeks (1 h/session), one session per day on 5 days per week that consisted of relaxation, Pranayama (breathing practices) and Guided meditation in addition to conventional rehabilitation therapeutics. The control group received usual rehabilitation care. All the patients were assessed using Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Numeric pain rating scale, Hospital anxiety and Depression scale and Barthel index score. Mann-Whitney U test and Wilcoxon's signed rank test were used for statistical analysis. Results: Quality of sleep improved significantly with reduction of PSQI score in the yoga group (p = 0.04). There was reduction of pain scores, anxiety and depression in both the groups without statistical significance between groups (pain p > 0.05, anxiety p > 0.05 and depression p > 0.05). Overall functional status improved in both groups without significant difference (p > 0.05). Conclusions: Significant improvement was observed in quality of sleep with yogic relaxation, pranayama, and meditation in GBS patients.
... A reduction in TST has been recently reported by another sleep study in LTM [45], and it indicates that meditation practice may decrease sleep needs. However other studies [46,47] investigating sleep architecture didn't find a reduction of TST, suggesting that the sleep architecture is not the most reliable parameter to study the effect of meditation on neuronal plasticity during sleep. Consistent with this idea, we did not find a correlation between the changes in any traditional polysomnographic sleep parameters and meditation practice. ...
Article
Full-text available
Over the past several years meditation practice has gained increasing attention as a non-pharmacological intervention to provide health related benefits, from promoting general wellness to alleviating the symptoms of a variety of medical conditions. However, the effects of meditation training on brain activity still need to be fully characterized. Sleep provides a unique approach to explore the meditation-related plastic changes in brain function. In this study we performed sleep high-density electroencephalographic (hdEEG) recordings in long-term meditators (LTM) of Buddhist meditation practices (approximately 8700 mean hours of life practice) and meditation naive individuals. We found that LTM had increased parietal-occipital EEG gamma power during NREM sleep. This increase was specific for the gamma range (25-40 Hz), was not related to the level of spontaneous arousal during NREM and was positively correlated with the length of lifetime daily meditation practice. Altogether, these findings indicate that meditation practice produces measurable changes in spontaneous brain activity, and suggest that EEG gamma activity during sleep represents a sensitive measure of the long-lasting, plastic effects of meditative training on brain function.
... [38,62] Meditative practices help man to achieve a perfect body-mind harmony, enhance the cognitive functions, and are shown to induce various aspects of neural plasticity in areas associated with self-judgment, introspection, perception, and so forth, and enhance neuroprotection of cortical tissues against aging. [63] We have reported that long-term practice of Vipassana meditation enhances the sleep quality and structure and helps to defy the age-associated changes in sleep.646566 Practitioners of Vipassana meditation showed enhanced slow wave sleep, REM sleep, and also number of sleep cycles. ...
Article
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The modern concept of sleep and wakefulness has evolved from the landmark discovery of ascending reticular activating system by Moruzzi and Magoun in 1949. The other major contributions have come from the electrophysiological studies of sleep-wake states following the discovery of electroencephalogram by Hans Berger in 1929. Research studies over the past 60 years have provided us an enormous understanding on the neural basis of sleep-wake states and their regulatory mechanisms. By shuttling through the two behavioral states of sleep and wake, brain coordinates many complex functions essential for cellular homeostasis and adaptation to environment. This review briefly summarizes the current awareness on the dynamicity of brain mechanisms of sleep and wakefulness as well as the newer concepts of the biological functions of sleep.
... VM retreats among long-term offenders in a maximum security prison showed that the participants achieved enhanced levels of mindfulness and emotional intelligence and had decreased mood disturbance relative to a comparison group (Perelman et al., 2012). VM also helped to establish a proper sleep structure in older adults (Pattanashetty et al., 2010). ...
Article
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A Thai company organizes a weekly sermon and meditation session for its clients and members. We hypothesized that vipassana meditation’s positive effects in work would be manifested in peace of mind, loving kindness, and organizational citizenship behavior (ocb), that peace of mind would predict ocb, and that loving kindness would mediate the relationship of peace of mind to ocb. Peace of mind is operationally defined as the experience of inner peace and harmony; loving kindness as the thoughts, words, and acts of kindness extended to all creatures; and ocb as individual behavior that involves courtesy, civic virtue, sportsmanship, conscientiousness, and altruism. We conducted a study among 147 vipassana meditation participants; the results supported the hypotheses. Participants’ peace of mind predicted ocb and loving kindness significantly mediated the peace of mind-ocb relationship. The beneficial effects of vipassana meditation suggest its adoption by organizations to foster efficient functioning.
... Evidence denotes a direct relationship between sleep quality and sperm health (83), thus affecting reproduction. A study carried out with 45 men explore how vipassanā meditation can improve sleep (84). This meditation likely induces neuronal plasticity events and then enhances SWS and the number of sleep cycles, reducing REM sleep time. ...
Article
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Sleep disorders are hazardous to both physical and psychological health across different population groups, resulting in increased medical expenditure and social costs. Diverse treatments are available to cope with this problem, involving complementary and alternative therapy in which meditation is a non-medication, non-intrusive, safe and economical choice. Research supports the efficacy of various types of meditation on a wide range of sleep-related diseases among disparate bodies of people such as youngsters, the elderly, military and individuals with emotional illnesses when they practise it properly and regularly. Moreover, integrating this practice with other therapeutic measures is recommended to maximise its effectiveness; for example, counselling, music therapy, physical exercise and aromatherapy. Meditation has become a remarkable method for promoting sleep health from curative, rehabilitative and preventive perspectives.
... Our finding is also unexpected because practice of meditation has been associated with increased neuroplasticity (Lazar et al., 2005;Slagter et al., 2011;Kang et al., 2012), and is thought to have neuroprotective effects against cognitive decline (Gard et al., 2014) and psychopathology (Shonin et al., 2015). For instance, in one study (Pattanashetty et al., 2009) Vipassana practitioners showed no age-related decline in slowwave sleep and REM sleep compared to controls. Our results are interpreted with caution since these exploratory analyses would not withstand error correction for multiple comparisons (e.g., the Bonferroni correction). ...
Article
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AimRapid eye movement (REM) sleep, non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, and sleep spindles are all implicated in the consolidation of procedural memories. Relative contributions of sleep stages and sleep spindles were previously shown to depend on individual differences in task processing. However, no studies to our knowledge have focused on individual differences in experience with Vipassana meditation as related to sleep. Vipassana meditation is a form of mental training that enhances proprioceptive and somatic awareness and alters attentional style. The goal of this study was to examine a potential role for Vipassana meditation experience in sleep-dependent procedural memory consolidation.Methods Groups of Vipassana meditation practitioners (N = 22) and matched meditation-naïve controls (N = 20) slept for a daytime nap in the laboratory. Before and after the nap they completed a procedural task on the Wii Fit balance platform.ResultsMeditators performed slightly better on the task before the nap, but the two groups improved similarly after sleep. The groups showed different patterns of sleep-dependent procedural memory consolidation: in meditators, task learning was positively correlated with density of slow occipital spindles, while in controls task improvement was positively associated with time in REM sleep. Sleep efficiency and sleep architecture did not differ between groups. Meditation practitioners, however, had a lower density of occipital slow sleep spindles than controls.Conclusion Results suggest that neuroplastic changes associated with meditation practice may alter overall sleep microarchitecture and reorganize sleep-dependent patterns of memory consolidation. The lower density of occipital spindles in meditators may mean that meditation practice compensates for some of the memory functions of sleep.
... The relationship between mindfulness and good sleep has been demonstrated also through physiological measures. For example, Pattanashetty et al. (2010) found that meditators demonstrated more slow waves and REM sleep phases per night than controls; moreover, the sleep cycles were more stable in meditators than in non-meditators, particularly when comparing older participants of the two groups. ...
Article
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Objectives There is ample evidence that mindfulness contributes to psychological well-being. There is also evidence that mindfulness can improve sleep, and previous research has suggested that the positive effects of mindfulness on well-being may depend on its capacity to decrease sleep disturbances. However, it is possible that a third factor that is affected by mindfulness may in turn affect both sleep quality and well-being. Given the well-known protective effects of mindfulness on stress and the influence of stress on both sleep disturbance and well-being, stress represents a strong candidate for such a mediational role. Methods We collected cross-sectional data on mindfulness, stress, sleep disturbance, and well-being in a sample of adults taken from the general population, and then we applied structural equation modeling to analyze the relationships between a set of latent variables. Results Our results confirm that mindfulness is negatively related to stress and this effect fully mediates the positive relationship between mindfulness and both sleep quality and well-being. Furthermore, our results show that if the effect of stress is taken into account, sleep quality does not mediate the influence of mindfulness on well-being and in fact does not relate to well-being at all. Conclusions Our study points to the central role of stress reduction in explaining the beneficial effects of mindfulness on both behavioral and psychological variables.
... Slow-wave sleep, or N3, is thought to be the most restorative sleep stage and is robustly associated with subjective sleep quality. 32 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 12 date, and the only significant change in macroarchitecture reported has been increased time spent in N1. 11 The lack of significant change in N3 in the MBTI group is thus aligned with these older findings. In addition, we made the novel observation of a significant increase in time spent in N2 following MBTI, although this did not result in a significant time by group interaction, and thus may not be specific to the intervention. ...
Article
Objectives: We conducted a secondary analysis of the MIST study, a randomized controlled trial testing Mindfulness-Based Therapy for Insomnia (MBTI) against a sleep hygiene education and exercise program (SHEEP). We investigated whether the interventions led to changes in sleep macroarchitecture (N2, N3 and REM), and microarchitecture (sleep fragmentation, slow wave activity, spectral band power) measured by ambulatory polysomnography (PSG). Methods: 48 MBTI and 46 SHEEP participants provided usable PSG and subjective sleep quality data both pre- and post-intervention. The interventions consisted of 8 weekly 2-hour group sessions, and daily practice. PSG data were staged according to AASM criteria by two technicians blind to time point and condition. Repeated-measures ANOVA and permutation analysis were used to test for differences over time and between the interventions. Results: Self-reported sleep quality improved in both study groups. We observed significant increases in N2 in MBTI but not SHEEP (p = .045), and significant increases in N3 in SHEEP but not MBTI (p = .012). No significant differences over time or between group were observed in N1, REM, or sleep fragmentation. Higher frequency non-REM EEG power decreased in SHEEP but not MBTI. Slow wave activity (SWA) and SWA dissipation did not differ over time or between groups. Among all variables, significant time by group interactions were observed in only N3 and non-REM alpha power. Conclusions: MBTI and sleep hygiene education had different effects on sleep macro and microarchitecture, suggesting that the underlying mechanisms of mindfulness training in improving sleep quality may differ from traditional interventions.
... We have previously examined the influence of Vipassana meditation practice on sleep in a series of whole night polysomnography studies (Maruthai et al., 2016;Nagendra, Maruthai, & Kutty, 2012;Nagendra et al., 2017;Pattanashetty et al., 2010;Sulekha, Thennarasu, Vedamurthachar, Raju, & Kutty, 2006) finding that senior meditators had enhanced slow wave sleep and REM states, increased REM activity, evidence of better sleep architecture preservation even with aging, and enhanced parasympathetic activity during sleep. Overall, these studies point out to the neuroplastic changes due to long term practice of meditation. ...
Article
Meditation, as taught by most schools of practice, consists of a set of heterogeneous techniques. We wanted to assess if EEG profiles varied across different meditation techniques, proficiency levels and experience of the practitioners. We examined EEG dynamics in Vipassana meditators (Novice, Senior meditators and Teachers) while they engaged in their traditional meditation practice (concentration, mindfulness and loving kindness in a structured manner) as taught by S.N. Goenka. Seniors and Teachers (vs Novices) showed trait increases in delta (1–4 Hz), theta-alpha (6–10 Hz) and low-gamma power (30–40 Hz) at baseline rest; state-trait increases in low-alpha (8–10 Hz) and low-gamma power during concentrative and mindfulness meditation; and theta-alpha and low-gamma power during loving-kindness meditation. Permutation entropy and Higuchi fractal dimension measures further dissociated high proficiency from duration of experience as only Teachers showed consistent increase in network complexity from baseline rest and state transitions between the different meditation states.
... The distinct theta-alpha activity is indicative of a stabilized state of higher state of consciousness in sleep. Sulekha, Thennarasu, Vedamurthachar, Raju, and Kutty (2006) and Pattanashetty et al. (2010) show that sleep architecture in Vipassana meditation practitioners is different from non-meditating control group. They demonstrated that long-term practitioners experience enhanced states of SWS and REM sleep. ...
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By a systematic analysis of the current literature, we compare two states of sleep and meditation in terms of their role in the formation or suppression of Deese–Roediger–McDermott (DRM) false memory. We aim to suggest that the occurrence of false memory under these two states is a result of reinforcing some abilities and changes in cognitive systems which can ultimately improve some aspects of cognitive functions. In our analogy, we propose that: (1) both sleep and meditation may improve source monitoring ability whose failure is one of the most important mechanisms in producing false memories, and (2) despite improvement in source monitoring ability, adaptive cognitive processes, as mechanisms which are common in sleep and meditation, can still produce false memories. In conclusion, we propose that in spite of their contribution to false memory through adaptive processes, the beneficial role of sleep and meditation in cognition may be more prominent than their harmful role.
... Vipassana is a Buddhist meditative practice which encompasses multiple meditative techniques such as concentration, mindful awareness and loving-kindness (Kakumanu et al., 2018). We have previously reported a number of trait changes in neural processing during sleep (such as increased duration of slow wave and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep as well as increased REM density) attributable to longterm practice of Vipassana (Maruthai et al., 2016;Pattanashetty et al., 2010;Sulekha et al., 2006), suggesting the regulatory role of Vipassana meditation on sleep (Nagendra et al., 2012(Nagendra et al., , 2017. Others have reported enhanced cognitive performance assessed using event-related potentials (ERPs) after a Vipassana meditation session. ...
Chapter
Several studies have demonstrated that meditation naïve subjects can, in just a few weeks, become proficient enough in meditation to show cognitive improvements accompanied with functional and structural changes in the brain. Would long-term exposure to qualitatively different levels of meditative training bring about differences in cognitive processing? Would meditation prior to task performance help separate out these differences? Could the nature of the task influence the findings related to cognitive enhancements? To address these questions, we evaluated cognitive functions in three groups of experienced Vipassana practitioners (Novices: n = 22, Mean ± SD meditation experience = 989 ± 595 h; Senior practitioners: 21, 10,510 ± 5313; Teachers: 16, 14,648 ± 9623) who differed in terms of duration and quality of meditative practice. Specifically, we employed “ANGEL” a gamified multilevel oddball paradigm, to assess P3 event-related potentials (ERPs) and associated EEG dynamics—power spectra, event related spectral perturbations (ERSP) and inter-trial coherence (ITC). In order to elicit the state-trait influences of meditation, the cognitive task was performed after the participants had undergone an hour long traditional meditation session. All participants could perform the task well and the gross ERP waveforms were similar for the three groups. As hypothesized, we found distinct state-trait influences of meditation leading to graded differences in P3 EEG dynamics. Specifically, we found reduced theta synchrony, enhanced alpha de-synchrony and lesser theta-alpha coherence in the more proficient meditators. Post hoc analyses revealed several differences between the novice and teacher groups but not as many between novice and seniors suggesting that the senior meditators formed an intermediate group. Our study demonstrates that both quantity and quality of meditation influence EEG dynamics during cognitive processing and that meditation prior to a task can provide additional state-trait effects involved in meeting the specific cognitive demands.
... Lastly, interests in the philosophical roots of mindfulness practices, such as Vipassana, contemplative science, ethics, morality and silence, were also noted (e.g. Pattanashetty et al. 2010). The current findings corroborate Valerio's (2016) observation that works related to the understanding of the mindfulness construct have gone beyond Buddhism, as evidenced by the multiple perspectives embraced in mindfulness research. ...
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Objectives As the volume of mindfulness research continues amassing exponentially, there have been attempts to review works in various aspects of mindfulness research systematically. The present study provides a scoping review via a topic modelling approach to supplement the overall research synthesis effort. Specifically, the objective is to scope the mindfulness research by identifying topics relevant to mindfulness research using the probabilistic topic modelling approach. Methods A literature search based on “mindfulness” returned 5947 bibliographical records from the Web of Science Core Collection platform (for records up to 20 October 2017). The combined field of titles and abstracts was subjected to probabilistic topic modelling based on latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA). Results The optimal number of topics suggested was 106. Further interpretation by the research team resulted in a total of 231 Suggested Terms. The terms were further categorised into Condition/Issue, Construct/Philosophy, Modality, Population/Setting and Research Methodology. Conclusions The topic modelling process obtained a panoptic view of mindfulness research, providing mindfulness researchers with some indicators regarding the range of topics researched. The outcome of this topic modelling effort has been made available at https://hdl.handle.net/10497/20862.
... Further , the study opened up new avenues to explore the influence of meditation on sleep. Studies by Sulekha et al. (2006) and Ravindra et al. (2010) demonstrated the differences in sleep architecture in practitioners of Vipassana meditation (mindfulness meditation). The sleep architecture of senior practitioners of Vipassana meditation was endowed with enhanced states of SWS and REM sleep compared to that of non-meditating control group. ...
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Intense meditation practices help to achieve a harmony between body and mind. Meditation practices influence brain functions, induce various intrinsic neural plasticity events, modulate autonomic, metabolic, endocrine, and immune functions and thus mediate global regulatory changes in various behavioral states including sleep. This brief review focuses on the effect of meditation as a self regulatory phenomenon on sleep.
Technical Report
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This research aims to examine how traditional insight meditation in Thailand is trained and to investigate the impact of this practice on happiness and perceived stress. The fuller meaning of mindfulness and how to interweave mindfulness in daily practice is discussed. The intervention was a seven-day traditional insight meditation retreat in Thailand. The final sample included 656 participants, n = 330 and 326 in experimental group and control group, respectively. Validated versions of happiness and perceived stress scales for Thai people were used. The magnitude of happiness and stress changes following the intervention, determined by effect sizes were used as a benchmark for interpreting the health status change between baseline and post-test. The effect sizes for happiness and perceived stress were .379 and −.428 in the meditation group, which is much greater, compared to the effect sizes of −.045 and −.003, respectively, in the control group.
Chapter
Meditative techniques are powerful tools to explore the splendour of our inner world of consciousness. Meditation practices are intense, sensory, emotional and cognitive experiences that help to establish deep relaxation, emotional stability and resilience to stress, a positive attitude, enhanced self-awareness and self-regulation through a perfect body-mind harmony. Very long-term intense meditation practices also help to develop various higher mental attributes such as wellbeing, compassion, environmental mastery, personal growth, self-realisation and altruism. The establishment of such higher mental attributes reflects the galvanising power of meditation to kindle the countless dimensions of cognitive reserve capacities and the transformation of network properties of the brain, such as those associated with attention, executive functions and memory formation. Modern scientific studies have provided ample evidence of enhanced structural plasticity, fibre tract integrity, enhanced brain synchrony and oscillations that reflect general aspects of meditation effects. Such practices make the brain more resilient by bringing about anatomical and functional variability at the network levels, leading to increased performance and mental capabilities, and the distinct qualia that are often described in subjective reports of long-term meditators. We are yet to understand the nuances of brain and mind relations and the inner world of consciousness. Our studies on the neural correlates of meditation and yogic practices—Vipassana meditation, Sudarshan Kriya yoga and Rāja yoga meditation—together with the studies on dysfunctional brain mechanisms associated with schizophrenia, provide us with valuable information on the cognitive reserve capacity as well as the phenomenon of brain plasticity. The empirical evidence from our studies help us to look at the nuances of brain network, meditation and the attainment of meta-consciousness. A better understanding of these would help in developing a possible meditation-based approach to improve the challenges in self-regulation and self-awareness implicated in mental disorders such as schizophrenia.
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Background: Mindfulness-based interventions are becoming increasingly popular in clinical and nonclinical settings. Civilian and Military policy makers responsible for corporate health management and human-resource development are increasingly interested in mindfulness training as a useful tool for reducing stress and enhancing cognitive performance, leadership, and well-being. Objective: This article aims to inform readers concisely about the scope, efficacy, and adequate application of mindfulness training. Moreover, particular interest is paid to rehabilitative and preventive applications of mindfulness in a Military environment. Method: This overview describes mindfulness training programs that are useful for addressing stress-related conditions for North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops during times of peace and conflict. Conclusions: Mindfulness has been tested successfully as an applicable measure in the military. This modality remains to be implemented in clinical and the nonclinical, Military environments to enhance the well-being of every soldier. First steps could include basic training and leadership programs as well as pre/post deployment trainings. Targeted populations as educators of mindfulness include chaplains, clinical personnel, physiotherapists, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, and general practitioners. Finally, the development of a NATO handbook on practical mindfulness training guidelines is recommended, addressing the most important questions and fundamental aspects of a practice.
Poster
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Proficient practice of Mindfulness Meditation helps establish proper sleep organization, enhanced slow wave sleep, enhanced REM, more sleep cycles, reduced wake after sleep onset (WASO) and N2. We describe spindle-delta dynamics in ten healthy male (aged 30-60 years) long-term Vipassana Meditators (Theravada tradition). For this, we show the sleep architecture in conjunction with Neuro-loop gain which is a predictor of sleep-related delta & spindle repetition, irrespective of EEG amplitude changes. The findings of this preliminary study show that there is a complex delta-spindle dynamicity in non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep that describes the sleep architecture in spite of wide variation amongst the long term meditators. This needs further research. Acknowledgements We acknowledge funding from Indian Council for Medical Research (Grant No:55/2/2012-BMS to B.M.K., SRF to A.K.N.) and Department of Science and Technology Cognitive Science Initiative (Grant No: SR/CSI/63/2011 to B.M.K., SRF to N.M.), Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy (Grant No:12-2/ Res/CCRYN/ 2003–04 to B.M.K., SRF to R.P.N.) and the facility provided by NIMHANS.
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The effect of age on sleep and the sleep EEG was investigated in middle-aged men (mean age: 62.0 years) and in young men (mean age: 22.4 years). Even though the older men reported a higher number of nocturnal awakenings, subjective sleep quality did not differ. Total sleep time, sleep efficiency, and slow wave sleep were lower in the middle-aged, while stage 1 and wakefulness after sleep onset were higher. The difference in wakefulness within nonREM-REM sleep cycles was most pronounced in the third and fourth cycle. In the older men, EEG power density in nonREM sleep was reduced in frequencies below 14.0 Hz, whereas in REM sleep age-related reductions were limited to the delta-theta (0.25-7.0 Hz) and low alpha (8.25-10.0 Hz) band. Slow-wave activity (SWA, power density in the 0.75-4.5 Hz range) decreased in the course of sleep in both age groups. The between-group difference in SWA diminished in the course of sleep, whereas the difference in activity in the frequency range of sleep spindles (12.25-14.0 Hz) increased. It is concluded that frequency and state specific changes occur as a function of age, and that the sleep dependent decline in SWA and increase in sleep spindle activity are attenuated with age.
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The effect of melatonin (5 mg, p.o.) on electroencephalographic (EEG) activity during sleep was investigated in eight men in a placebo-controlled cross-over design. Melatonin was administered immediately prior to a Ph daytime sleep episode (13-17 h) after a partial sleep deprivation. The non-REM sleep stages and REM sleep duration were not significantly affected. Melatonin enhanced EEG power density in non-REM sleep in the 13.75-14.0 Hz bin (i.e., within the frequency range of sleep spindles), and reduced activity in the 15.25-16.5 Hz band. In the first 2 h spectral values within the 2.25-5.0 Hz range were reduced. These changes in the EEG are to some extent similar to those induced by benzodiazepine hypnotics and to the contribution of the endogenous circadian pacemaker to the spectral composition of the sleep EEG when sleep occurs at night.
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Stress has been implicated in both somatic and mental disorders. The mechanisms by which stress leads to poor health are largely unknown. However, studies in animals suggest that chronic stress causes high basal cortisol and low cortisol response to acute stressors and that such changes may contribute to disease. Previous studies of the Transcendental Mediation® (TM) technique as a possible means of countering effects of stress have reported altered levels of several hormones both during the practice and longitudinally after regular practice of this technique. In this prospective, random assignment study, changes in baseline levels and acute responses to laboratory stressors were examined for four hormones—cortisol, growth hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone and testosterone—before and after 4 months of either the TM technique or a stress education control condition. At pre- and post-test, blood was withdrawn continuously through an indwelling catheter, and plasma or serum samples were frozen for later analysis by radioimmunoassay. The results showed significantly different changes for the two groups, or trends toward significance, for each hormone over the 4 months. In the TM group, but not in the controls, basal cortisol level and average cortisol across the stress session decreased from pre- to post-test. Cortisol responsiveness to stressors, however, increased in the TM group compared to controls. The baselines and/or stress responsiveness for TSH and GH changed in opposite directions for the groups, as did the testosterone baseline. Overall, the cortisol and testosterone results appear to support previous data suggesting that repeated practice of the TM technique reverses effects of chronic stress significant for health. The observed group difference in the change of GH regulation may derive from the cortisol differences, while the TSH results are not related easily to earlier findings on the effects of chronic stress.
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The function of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep is still unknown. One prevailing hypothesis suggests that REM sleep is important in processing memory traces. Here, using positron emission tomography (PET) and regional cerebral blood flow measurements, we show that waking experience influences regional brain activity during subsequent sleep. Several brain areas activated during the execution of a serial reaction time task during wakefulness were significantly more active during REM sleep in subjects previously trained on the task than in non-trained subjects. These results support the hypothesis that memory traces are processed during REM sleep in humans.
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Standard ambulatory night sleep electroencephalograph (EEG) of 11 long-term practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program reporting "higher states of consciousness" during sleep (the experimental group) was compared to that of nine short-term practitioners and 11 non-practitioners. EEG tracings during stages 3 and 4 sleep showed the experimental group to have: 1) theta-alpha activity simultaneously with delta activity and 2) decreased chin electromyograph (EMG) during deep sleep (p = 0.002) compared to short-term practitioners. Spectral analysis fast Fourier transform (FFT) data of the first three cycles showed that: 3) the experimental subjects had significantly greater theta 2 (6-8 Hz)-alpha 1 (8-10 Hz) relative power during stages 3 and 4 than the combined control groups [t(30) = 5.5, p = 0.0000008] with no difference in time in delta; 4) there was a graded difference across groups during stages 3 and 4 in theta 2-alpha 1 power, with experimentals having greater power than short-term practitioners, who in turn had greater power than non-practitioners [t(30) = 5.08, p = 0.00002]; and 5) experimentals also had increased rapid eye movement (REM) density during REM periods compared to short-term practitioners (p = 0.04). Previous studies have found increased theta-alpha EEG activity during reported periods of "transcendental consciousness" during the TM technique. In the Vedic tradition, as described by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, transcendental consciousness is the first of a sequence of higher states. The maintenance of transcendental consciousness along with deep sleep is said to be a distinctive criterion of further, stabilized higher states of consciousness. The findings of this study are interpreted as physiological support for this model.
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Disorganized sleep patterns, can be found both during normal development and in pathological conditions. Aging could also be accompanied by a disorganization of the night sleep episode; sleep could be interrupted by spontaneous awakening, sleep cycle could be shortened or incomplete, sleep states modified. These patterns suggest an inability to sustain a stable condition, i.e. a condition of functional uncertainty. Biological and cognitive implications of functional uncertainty conditions are discussed. In particular, the hypothesis has been put forward that disturbances of sleep could have a detrimental role on memory. Recent results obtained in our lab support this hypothesis: recall is correlated with NREM-REM cycles proportion. Future research should ascertain the role of the functional uncertainty with respect to the kind of memory being involved during sleep, and establish how much and for which cognitive processes (including those involved in dream production) the inability to sustain a steady condition impairs the functioning during sleep. The duration of the functional uncertainty condition is also important. The long-term study of the link between functional uncertainty and cognitive resources, could be important for the understanding of the night life and for an adequate treatment of patients.
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The daily timing of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep reflects an interaction between the circadian pacemaker located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus (SCN) and a homeostatic process that induces compensatory REM sleep in response to REM sleep loss. Whether the circadian variation in REM sleep propensity is caused by active promotion, inhibition, or passive gating of REM sleep homeostasis by the SCN is unknown. To investigate these possibilities, compensatory responses to 24 hr REM sleep deprivation (RSD) were compared between SCN-lesioned (SCNx) and sham-lesioned rats at different times of day in constant dark. The attempts to enter REM sleep (REM tendency) increased during RSD in all rats and were modulated by circadian phase in sham-lesioned, but not SCNx rats. REM sleep homeostasis interacted with circadian time, such that REM tendency doubled during the rest phase in sham-lesioned rats relative to SCNx rats (F((6,93)) = 17.9; p = 0.0001). However, REM tendency was indistinguishable between SCNx and sham-lesioned rats during the activity phase, suggesting the SCN does not inhibit REM tendency at this time. By contrast, the amount of compensatory REM sleep examined 2, 6, 12, or 24 hr after RSD did not depend on circadian phase. Thus, transitions into REM sleep are facilitated by the SCN during the rest phase, but the amount of REM sleep, once initiated, is determined primarily by homeostatic mechanisms. This work supports a role for the SCN in the active promotion of REM sleep at specific times of day.
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Cortical long-term plasticity depends on firing rate, spike timing, and cooperativity among inputs, but how these factors interact during realistic patterns of activity is unknown. Here we monitored plasticity while systematically varying the rate, spike timing, and number of coincident afferents. These experiments demonstrate a novel form of cooperativity operating even when postsynaptic firing is evoked by current injection, and reveal a complex dependence of LTP and LTD on rate and timing. Based on these data, we constructed and tested three quantitative models of cortical plasticity. One of these models, in which spike-timing relationships causing LTP "win" out over those favoring LTD, closely fits the data and accurately predicts the build-up of plasticity during random firing. This provides a quantitative framework for predicting the impact of in vivo firing patterns on synaptic strength.
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There is good evidence for cognitive and physiological arousal in chronic insomnia. Accordingly, clinical trial studies of insomnia treatments aimed at reducing arousal, including relaxation and meditation, have reported positive results. Yoga is a multicomponent practice that is also known to be effective in reducing arousal, although it has not been well evaluated as a treatment for insomnia. In this preliminary study, a simple daily yoga treatment was evaluated in a chronic insomnia population consisting of sleep-onset and/or sleep-maintenance insomnia and primary or secondary insomnia. Participants maintained sleep-wake diaries during a pretreatment 2-week baseline and a subsequent 8-week intervention, in which they practiced the treatment on their own following a single in-person training session with subsequent brief in-person and telephone follow-ups. Sleep efficiency (SE), total sleep time (TST), total wake time (TWT), sleep onset latency (SOL), wake time after sleep onset (WASO), number of awakenings, and sleep quality measures were derived from sleep-wake diary entries and were averaged in 2-week intervals. For 20 participants completing the protocol, statistically significant improvements were observed in SE, TST, TWT, SOL, and WASO at end-treatment as compared with pretreatment values.
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Previous research indicates that long-term meditation practice is associated with altered resting electroencephalogram patterns, suggestive of long lasting changes in brain activity. We hypothesized that meditation practice might also be associated with changes in the brain's physical structure. Magnetic resonance imaging was used to assess cortical thickness in 20 participants with extensive Insight meditation experience, which involves focused attention to internal experiences. Brain regions associated with attention, interoception and sensory processing were thicker in meditation participants than matched controls, including the prefrontal cortex and right anterior insula. Between-group differences in prefrontal cortical thickness were most pronounced in older participants, suggesting that meditation might offset age-related cortical thinning. Finally, the thickness of two regions correlated with meditation experience. These data provide the first structural evidence for experience-dependent cortical plasticity associated with meditation practice.
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This paper discusses the synaptic homeostasis hypothesis of sleep. The main claim of the hypothesis is that plastic processes occurring during wakefulness result in a net increase in synaptic strength in many brain circuits, and that role of sleep is to downscale synaptic strength to a baseline level that is energetically sustainable, makes efficient use of gray matter space, and is beneficial for learning and memory. Thus, sleep is the price we have to pay for plasticity, and its goal is the homeostatic regulation of the total synaptic weight impinging on neurons. In this chapter we review evidence pro and contra the hypothesis, discuss similarities and differences with other hypotheses that focus on the role of sleep in neural plasticity, and mention ongoing and future experiments to test it directly.
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Yoga is an ancient Indian science and way of life that has been described in the traditional texts as a systematic method of achieving the highest possible functional harmony between body and mind. Yogic practices are claimed to enhance the quality of sleep. Electrophysiological correlates associated with the higher states of consciousness have been reported in long-term practitioners of transcendental meditation during deep sleep states. The present study was carried out to assess sleep architecture in Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) and Vipassana meditators. This was to ascertain the differences, if any, in sleep architecture following yogic practices. Whole night polysomnographic recordings were carried out in 78 healthy male subjects belonging to control and yoga groups. The groups studied were aged between 20 and 30-years-old (younger) and 31 to 55-years-old (middle-aged). The sleep architecture was comparable among the younger control and yoga groups. While slow wave sleep (non-REM (rapid eye movement) S3 and S4) had reduced to 3.7 percent in the middle-aged control group, participants of the middle-aged yoga groups (both SKY and Vipassana) showed no such decline in slow wave sleep states, which was experienced by 11.76 and 12.76 percent, respectively, of the SKY and Vipassana groups. However, Vipassana practitioners showed a significant enhancement (P < 0.001) in their REM sleep state from that of the age-matched control subjects and also from their SKY counterparts. Yoga practices help to retain slow wave sleep and enhance the REM sleep state in the middle age; they appear to retain a younger biological age as far as sleep is concerned. Overall, the study demonstrates the possible beneficial role of yoga in sleep–wakefulness behavior.
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To determine whether a period of meditation could influence melatonin levels, two groups of meditators were tested in a repeated measures design for changes in plasma melatonin levels at midnight. Experienced meditators practising either TM-Sidhi or another internationally well known form of yoga showed significantly higher plasma melatonin levels in the period immediately following meditation compared with the same period at the same time on a control night. It is concluded that meditation, at least in the two forms studied here, can affect plasma melatonin levels. It remains to be determined whether this is achieved through decreased hepatic metabolism of the hormone or via a direct effect on pineal physiology. Either way, facilitation of higher physiological melatonin levels at appropriate times of day might be one avenue through which the claimed health promoting effects of meditation occur.
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The relation between the duration of prior wakefulness and EEG power density during sleep in humans was assessed by means of a study of naps. The duration of prior wakefulness was varied from 2 to 20 hr by scheduling naps at 1000 hr, 1200 hr, 1400 hr, 1600 hr, 1800 hr, 2000 hr, and 0400 hr. In contrast to sleep latencies, which exhibited a minimum in the afternoon, EEG power densities in the delta and theta frequencies were a monotonic function of the duration of prior wakefulness. The data support the hypothesis that EEG power density during non-rapid eye movement sleep is only determined by the prior history of sleep and wakefulness and is not determined by clock-like mechanisms.
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In order to study the sleep characteristics of the normal elderly male, 16 volunteers aged 71 to 95 years (mean age, 80.2), slept in the laboratory for at least 2 or 3 base line nights each. Age correlated positively (r = .64, p < .01) with number of awakenings and negatively (r = -.43, .05 < p < .1) with percentage of time asleep, indicating increasing sleep disturbance between the ages of 71 and 95 years. Mean rapid eye movement sleep (REM) percentage was 20.1; total REM time, 74 minutes; and mean REM period length, 17 minutes. Age correlated negatively with each of these measures (-.50, -.47 and -.51, respectively, all p < .05); however, REM sleep did not appear markedly reduced until late old age. Mean percentage of stage 4 sleep was 4.5 and stage 3, 17.2. In comparison to the young adult, stage 4 sleep appeared decreased and stage 3 sleep, increased. The amplitude of delta waves in the aged was reduced, a finding which probably contributed to the lowered amounts of stage 4 sleep. The latency from sleep onset to the first REM period in the elderly seemed shortened. This reduced latency probably resulted from decreased stage 4 sleep during the first non-REM period. REM sleep increased in the latter part of the night, and this was due to decreased intervals between REM periods and not to increased REM period lengths. Finally, with increased age there were more frequent interruptions of REM periods by stretches of stage 2 sleep.
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Age, length of prior wakefulness, length of time asleep, and a circadian influence all affect stage 4 sleep. The amount of stage 4 sleep decreases as subject's age increases and as time asleep increases. Longer periods of wakefulness before sleep result in greater amounts of stage 4 sleep in the first 3 hours of sleep. Sleep periods that begin at times other than the regular onset time tend to produce less stage 4 sleep; this decrease suggests a circadian effect.
Article
Four of five nights of uninterrupted recording of EEG and rapid eye-movement (EM) were obtained in fifteen young normal (YN), fifteen aged normal (AN) and fifteen chronic brain syndrome (CBS) subjects. All subjects were studied in the absence of drugs and with care taken to prevent daytime sleep.Compared to YN and AN groups, CBS subjects showed significantly lower values for total sleep time, emergent stage 1 EEG, EM activity and the latter two measures expressed as per cent of sleep time. Although the total amounts of NREM and REM sleep did not differ significantly for the YN and AN groups, the latter subjects manifested prolonged wakefulness and frequent interruptions of sleep. In these respects, results for the AN subjects were intermediate between those of the YN and CBS groups, differing significantly from both. The average durations of successive periods of NREM and REM sleep were similar in the YN and AN groups; in contrast, reduction in both stages of sleep led to an overall contraction of the sleep cycle in the CBS group.Statistically significant correlation coefficients were obtained between tests of cognitive function, independently administered and scored, and a number of sleep variables in both the AN and CBS groups. While brain metabolism and waking EEG have shown similar relationships in chronic brain syndrome, neither of these measures has been able to detect the more subtle changes in brain function that occur with normal aging. It therefore appears that the EEG of sleep may prove to be a diagnostic and research tool of special value to geriatric psychiatry.The quantitative changes in sleep with normal and pathological aging are similar to changes which take place in rate of overall brain metabolism. These findings, taken in association with the relationships of sleep variables to psychometric test scores in the AN and CBS group, are consistent with the hypothesis that sleep is intimately concerned with the central nervous system processes underlying cognition.
Sleep was analysed in 8 young adults subjects during two baseline nights and two recovery nights following 40.5 h sleep deprivation. Sleep stages were scored from the polygraph records according to conventional criteria. In addition, the EEG records of the entire nights were subjected to spectral analysis to compute the frequency distribution of the power density in the 0.25-25 Hz range for 0.5 Hz or 1.0 Hz bins. In the first recovery night, the power density in the delta band was significantly higher than baseline for total sleep time as well as for sleep stages 2, 3 and 4, 4 and REM. These changes were not restricted to the delta band, but extended to higher frequency bands. Minor, but significant, effects of sleep deprivation were seen in the power density distribution of the second recovery night. In the baseline nights, a progressive reduction of power density in the delta/theta range was present for successive non-REM-REM sleep cycles for total sleep time and stages 2, 3 and 4, and 4. The results show that effects of sleep deprivation as well as trends within the sleep periods are readily apparent from spectral analysis, but are inadequately reflected by conventional sleep scoring. When the power density values were integrated over the entire frequency range (0.75-25 Hz) for each non-REM-REM sleep cycle, an exponential decline from cycle 1 to cycle 3 was suggested. The present findings support the hypothesis that the EEG power density in the low frequency range is an indicator of a progressively declining process during sleep whose initial value is determined by the duration of prior waking.
Article
To evaluate the effects of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) and TM-Sidhi program on the aging process, a standardized test of biological aging, utilizing auditory threshold, near point vision, and systolic blood pressure, was given to a cross-sectional group (N = 84) with a mean age of 53 years. There were 11 controls, 33 short-term TM and TM-Sidhi participants, and 40 long-term participants. The mean biological age of the controls was 2.2 years younger than for the general population; of the short-term TM subjects, 5.0 years younger; of the long-term TM subjects, 12.0 years younger. The difference between the groups was significant covarying for a diet factor. Also, there was a significant correlation between length of time practicing the TM program and biological age (r = -0.46). Together with numerous physiological and psychological studies conducted on the TM and TM-Sidhi program, this study suggests that the TM program may affect certain neural mechanisms which in turn influence age correlated physiological variables.
Article
Low-frequency EEG was analyzed quantitatively during 2 nights in 40 females and 34 males aged 26 to 101 years. Analyses were based on Rechtschaffen and Kales NREM sleep stages, on absolute low-frequency amplitude (i.e. power in the range of 0.2–2.0 Hz) and on low-frequency continuity. The latter parameter describes how much (0–100%) of the current slow-wave activity is continued in the near-future EEG. Such continuation can occur through closed loops in the underlying neuronal network and cells. These loops are slow, thus corresponding to slow-wave frequencies, and can consist of electrophysiological, chemical and/or other pathways. The continuity percentage then monitors the relative activity of these loops. It does not depend directly on absolute EEG amplitudes. All analyzed parameters, including amplitude-independent continuity, decreased substantially and significantly with increasing age. The amplitudes of low-frequency EEG in females were significantly and substantially (40%) larger than those in males. However, the amplitude-independent continuity percentage did not differ between the genders. These findings support the notion that gender-related anatomical differences have a general effect on EEG amplitude, including during slow-wave sleep. Aging, however, specifically affects the neurophysiological slow-wave-generating mechanism.
Article
Electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings from 19 scalp recording sites were used to differentiate among two posited unique forms of mediation, concentration and mindfulness, and a normal relaxation control condition. Analyzes of all traditional frequency bandwidth data (i.e., delta 1-3 Hz; theta, 4-7 Hz; alpha, 8-12 Hz; beta 1, 13-25 Hz; beta 2, 26-32 Hz) showed strong mean amplitude frequency differences between the two meditation conditions and relaxation over numerous cortical sites. Furthermore, significant differences were obtained between concentration and mindfulness states at all bandwidths. Taken together, our results suggest that concentration and mindfulness "meditations" may be unique forms of consciousness and are not merely degrees of a state of relaxation.
Article
Frontal midline theta rhythm (Fm theta), recognized as distinct theta activity on EEG in the frontal midline area, reflects mental concentration as well as meditative state or relief from anxiety. Attentional network in anterior frontal lobes including anterior cingulate cortex is suspected to be the generator of this activity, and the regulative function of the frontal neural network over autonomic nervous system (ANS) during cognitive process is suggested. However no studies have examined peripheral autonomic activities during Fm theta induction, and interaction of central and peripheral mechanism associated with Fm theta remains unclear. In the present study, a standard procedure of Zen meditation requiring sustained attention and breath control was employed as the task to provoke Fm theta, and simultaneous EEG and ECG recordings were performed. For the subjects in which Fm theta activities were provoked (six men, six women, 48% of the total subjects), peripheral autonomic activities were evaluated during the appearance of Fm theta as well as during control periods. Successive inter-beat intervals were measured from the ECG, and a recently developed method of analysis by Toichi et al. (J. Auton. Nerv. Syst. 62 (1997) 79-84) based on heart rate variability was used to assess cardiac sympathetic and parasympathetic functions separately. Both sympathetic and parasympathetic indices were increased during the appearance of Fm theta compared with control periods. Theta band activities in the frontal area were correlated negatively with sympathetic activation. The results suggest a close relationship between cardiac autonomic function and activity of medial frontal neural circuitry.
Article
Although emerging evidence during the past several decades suggests that psychosocial factors can directly influence both physiologic function and health outcomes, medicine had failed to move beyond the biomedical model, in part because of lack of exposure to the evidence base supporting the biopsychosocial model. The literature was reviewed to examine the efficacy of representative psychosocial-mind-body interventions, including relaxation, (cognitive) behavioral therapies, meditation, imagery, biofeedback, and hypnosis for several common clinical conditions. An electronic search was undertaken of the MEDLINE, PsycLIT, and the Cochrane Library databases and a manual search of the reference sections of relevant articles for related clinical trials and reviews of the literature. Studies examining mind-body interventions for psychological disorders were excluded. Owing to space limitations, studies examining more body-based therapies, such as yoga and tai chi chuan, were also not included. Data were extracted from relevant systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and randomized controlled trials. Drawing principally from systematic reviews and meta-analyses, there is considerable evidence of efficacy for several mind-body therapies in the treatment of coronary artery disease (eg, cardiac rehabilitation), headaches, insomnia, incontinence, chronic low back pain, disease and treatment-related symptoms of cancer, and improving postsurgical outcomes. We found moderate evidence of efficacy for mind-body therapies in the areas of hypertension and arthritis. Additional research is required to clarify the relative efficacy of different mind-body therapies, factors (such as specific patient characteristics) that might predict more or less successful outcomes, and mechanisms of action. Research is also necessary to examine the cost offsets associated with mind-body therapies. There is now considerable evidence that an array of mind-body therapies can be used as effective adjuncts to conventional medical treatment for a number of common clinical conditions.
Article
Mindfulness is an attribute of consciousness long believed to promote well-being. This research provides a theoretical and empirical examination of the role of mindfulness in psychological well-being. The development and psychometric properties of the dispositional Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) are described. Correlational, quasi-experimental, and laboratory studies then show that the MAAS measures a unique quality of consciousness that is related to a variety of well-being constructs, that differentiates mindfulness practitioners from others, and that is associated with enhanced self-awareness. An experience-sampling study shows that both dispositional and state mindfulness predict self-regulated behavior and positive emotional states. Finally, a clinical intervention study with cancer patients demonstrates that increases in mindfulness over time relate to declines in mood disturbance and stress.
Article
CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS-- At a conference last month called Investigating the Mind, held here at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, neuroscientists and Buddhist scholars discussed attention, mental imagery, emotion, and collaborations to test insights gleaned from meditation.
Article
During much of sleep, the cerebral cortex is rippled by slow waves, which appear in the electroencephalogram as oscillations between 0.5 and 4.5 Hz. Slow waves are regulated as a function of previous wakefulness, being maximal at the beginning of sleep and then progressively returning to a baseline level. This paper discusses a hypothesis about the significance of slow-wave activity and its homeostatic regulation. The hypothesis is as follows: 1. Wakefulness is associated with synaptic potentiation in several cortical circuits; 2. Synaptic potentiation is tied to the homeostatic regulation of slow-wave activity; 3. Slow-wave activity is associated with synaptic downscaling; 4. Synaptic downscaling is tied to the beneficial effects of sleep on performance. The hypothesized link between sleep and synaptic homeostasis is supported by several lines of evidence and leads to testable predictions.
Article
This study investigated the relationships between a mindfulness-based stress reduction meditation program for early stage breast and prostate cancer patients and quality of life, mood states, stress symptoms, and levels of cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEAS) and melatonin. Fifty-nine patients with breast cancer and 10 with prostate cancer enrolled in an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program that incorporated relaxation, meditation, gentle yoga, and daily home practice. Demographic and health behavior variables, quality of life, mood, stress, and the hormone measures of salivary cortisol (assessed three times/day), plasma DHEAS, and salivary melatonin were assessed pre- and post-intervention. Fifty-eight and 42 patients were assessed pre- and post-intervention, respectively. Significant improvements were seen in overall quality of life, symptoms of stress, and sleep quality, but these improvements were not significantly correlated with the degree of program attendance or minutes of home practice. No significant improvements were seen in mood disturbance. Improvements in quality of life were associated with decreases in afternoon cortisol levels, but not with morning or evening levels. Changes in stress symptoms or mood were not related to changes in hormone levels. Approximately 40% of the sample demonstrated abnormal cortisol secretion patterns both pre- and post-intervention, but within that group patterns shifted from "inverted-V-shaped" patterns towards more "V-shaped" patterns of secretion. No overall changes in DHEAS or melatonin were found, but nonsignificant shifts in DHEAS patterns were consistent with healthier profiles for both men and women. MBSR program enrollment was associated with enhanced quality of life and decreased stress symptoms in breast and prostate cancer patients, and resulted in possibly beneficial changes in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis functioning. These pilot data represent a preliminary investigation of the relationships between MBSR program participation and hormone levels, highlighting the need for better-controlled studies in this area.
Article
Practitioners understand "meditation," or mental training, to be a process of familiarization with one's own mental life leading to long-lasting changes in cognition and emotion. Little is known about this process and its impact on the brain. Here we find that long-term Buddhist practitioners self-induce sustained electroencephalographic high-amplitude gamma-band oscillations and phase-synchrony during meditation. These electroencephalogram patterns differ from those of controls, in particular over lateral frontoparietal electrodes. In addition, the ratio of gamma-band activity (25-42 Hz) to slow oscillatory activity (4-13 Hz) is initially higher in the resting baseline before meditation for the practitioners than the controls over medial frontoparietal electrodes. This difference increases sharply during meditation over most of the scalp electrodes and remains higher than the initial baseline in the postmeditation baseline. These data suggest that mental training involves temporal integrative mechanisms and may induce short-term and long-term neural changes.
Article
Sleep in older persons is characterized by decreased ability to stay asleep, resulting in fragmented sleep and reduced daytime alertness. Pharmacological treatment of insomnia in older persons is associated with hazardous side effects. Hence, the present study was designed to compare the effects of Yoga and Ayurveda on the self rated sleep in a geriatric population. Of the 120 residents from a home for the aged, 69 were stratified based on age (five year intervals) and randomly allocated to three groups i.e., Yoga (physical postures, relaxation techniques, voluntarily regulated breathing and lectures on yoga philosophy), Ayurveda (a herbal preparation), and Wait-list control (no intervention). The groups were evaluated for self-assessment of sleep over a one week period at baseline, and after three and six months of the respective interventions. The Yoga group showed a significant decrease in the time taken to fall asleep (approximate group average decrease: 10 min, P<0.05), an increase in the total number of hours slept (approximate group average increase: 60 min, P< 0.05) and in the feeling of being rested in the morning based on a rating scale (P<0.05) after six months. The other groups showed no significant change. Yoga practice improved different aspects of sleep in a geriatric population.
Article
This study investigated the ongoing effects of participation in a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program on quality of life (QL), symptoms of stress, mood and endocrine, immune and autonomic parameters in early stage breast and prostate cancer patients. Forty-nine patients with breast cancer and 10 with prostate cancer enrolled in an eight-week MBSR program that incorporated relaxation, meditation, gentle yoga and daily home practice. Demographic and health behaviors, QL, mood, stress symptoms, salivary cortisol levels, immune cell counts, intracellular cytokine production, blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) were assessed pre- and post-intervention, and at 6- and 12-month follow-up. Fifty-nine, 51, 47 and 41 patients were assessed pre- and post-intervention and at 6- and 12-month follow-up, respectively, although not all participants provided data on all outcomes at each time point. Linear mixed modeling showed significant improvements in overall symptoms of stress which were maintained over the follow-up period. Cortisol levels decreased systematically over the course of the follow-up. Immune patterns over the year supported a continued reduction in Th1 (pro-inflammatory) cytokines. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) decreased from pre- to post-intervention and HR was positively associated with self-reported symptoms of stress. MBSR program participation was associated with enhanced quality of life and decreased stress symptoms, altered cortisol and immune patterns consistent with less stress and mood disturbance, and decreased blood pressure. These pilot data represent a preliminary investigation of the longer-term relationships between MBSR program participation and a range of potentially important biomarkers.
Article
This study investigated differences in brain activation during meditation between meditators and non-meditators. Fifteen Vipassana meditators (mean practice: 7.9 years, 2h daily) and fifteen non-meditators, matched for sex, age, education, and handedness, participated in a block-design fMRI study that included mindfulness of breathing and mental arithmetic conditions. For the meditation condition (contrasted to arithmetic), meditators showed stronger activations in the rostral anterior cingulate cortex and the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex bilaterally, compared to controls. Greater rostral anterior cingulate cortex activation in meditators may reflect stronger processing of distracting events. The increased activation in the medial prefrontal cortex may reflect that meditators are stronger engaged in emotional processing.
Article
Zen meditation, a Buddhist practice centered on attentional and postural self-regulation, has been speculated to bring about beneficial long-term effects for the individual, ranging from stress reduction to improvement of cognitive function. In this study, we examined how the regular practice of meditation may affect the normal age-related decline of cerebral gray matter volume and attentional performance observed in healthy individuals. Voxel-based morphometry for MRI anatomical brain images and a computerized sustained attention task were employed in 13 regular practitioners of Zen meditation and 13 matched controls. While control subjects displayed the expected negative correlation of both gray matter volume and attentional performance with age, meditators did not show a significant correlation of either measure with age. The effect of meditation on gray matter volume was most prominent in the putamen, a structure strongly implicated in attentional processing. These findings suggest that the regular practice of meditation may have neuroprotective effects and reduce the cognitive decline associated with normal aging.
Advanced human development in the Vedic psychology of Mahar-ishi Mahesh Yogi; Theory and Research
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30 Alexander CN, Heaton DP, Chandler HM. Advanced human development in the Vedic psychology of Mahar-ishi Mahesh Yogi; Theory and Research. In: Miller ME, Cook-Greuter SR, eds. Transcendence and Mature Thought
Ageing and the circadian and homeostasic regulation of R Pattanashetty et al. 40 © 2009 The Authors Journal compilation © 2009 Japanese Society of Sleep Research human sleep during forced desynchrony of rest, melatonin and temperature rhythms
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Studying the well-trained mind
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Advaita Ashrama: Calcutta
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Human Physiology: Expression of Veda and Vedic Literature Maharishi Vedic University: Vlodrop, Netherlands The benefits of being present: mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being
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Sleep and synaptic homeostasis: a hypothesis
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