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PLoS One. 2016 Feb 22;11(2):e0148961. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0148961. eCollection 2016.

Short Meditation Trainings Enhance Non-REM Sleep Low-Frequency Oscillations.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin Madison, 6001 Research Park Blvd, Madison, WI, 53719, United States of America.
2
Waisman Center for Brain Imaging and Behavior, University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, WI, 53705, United States of America.
3
Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, WI, 53705, United States of America.
4
Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, INSERM U1028, CNRS UMR5292, Lyon 1 University, Lyon, 69500, France.
5
Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, United States of America.

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVES:

We have recently shown higher parietal-occipital EEG gamma activity during sleep in long-term meditators compared to meditation-naive individuals. This gamma increase was specific for NREM sleep, was present throughout the entire night and correlated with meditation expertise, thus suggesting underlying long-lasting neuroplastic changes induced through prolonged training. The aim of this study was to explore the neuroplastic changes acutely induced by 2 intensive days of different meditation practices in the same group of practitioners. We also repeated baseline recordings in a meditation-naive cohort to account for time effects on sleep EEG activity.

DESIGN:

High-density EEG recordings of human brain activity were acquired over the course of whole sleep nights following intervention.

SETTING:

Sound-attenuated sleep research room.

PATIENTS OR PARTICIPANTS:

Twenty-four long-term meditators and twenty-four meditation-naïve controls.

INTERVENTIONS:

Two 8-h sessions of either a mindfulness-based meditation or a form of meditation designed to cultivate compassion and loving kindness, hereafter referred to as compassion meditation.

MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS:

We found an increase in EEG low-frequency oscillatory activities (1-12 Hz, centered around 7-8 Hz) over prefrontal and left parietal electrodes across whole night NREM cycles. This power increase peaked early in the night and extended during the third cycle to high-frequencies up to the gamma range (25-40 Hz). There was no difference in sleep EEG activity between meditation styles in long-term meditators nor in the meditation naïve group across different time points. Furthermore, the prefrontal-parietal changes were dependent on meditation life experience.

CONCLUSIONS:

This low-frequency prefrontal-parietal activation likely reflects acute, meditation-related plastic changes occurring during wakefulness, and may underlie a top-down regulation from frontal and anterior parietal areas to the posterior parietal and occipital regions showing chronic, long-lasting plastic changes in long-term meditators.

PMID:
26900914
PMCID:
PMC4764716
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0148961
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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