Vipassana meditation enhances REM sleep

For those who wish to discuss the purely scientific aspects of sleep and dreams, including new research and future technologies.
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Vipassana meditation enhances REM sleep

Postby Samwise » 18 Mar 2016 21:38 well as sleep quality as we age. This REM enhancement in essence increases the nightly window with in which one can become lucid, while also increasing dream recall.

A little while ago, I performed a little breath awareness meditation lying in bed before sleep...this induced what seemed to be a focus 10 state (Monroe Institute reference, described below), and my dream recall that night was the best it has been in a long time, amazing dreams! This has prompted me to make pre sleep meditation a regular thing. It seems like there is some solid science to back up Vipassana style meditation (as well as Zazen which is similar in essence, as discussed in the other thread) for its effect on dream recall and increasing likelihood of lucidity.

A technique is outlined here for anybody interested. I think you could skip part 1 of this and still get good results, worth experimenting with...if you fall asleep too quickly, listening to some binaural or isochronic tones can help.

Sulekha, S., Thennarasu, K., Vedamurthachar, A., Raju, R.R. & Kutty, B.M. (2006) Evaluation of sleep architecture in practitioners of Sudarshan Kriya yoga and Vipassana meditation. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 4, 207-214


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.


Vipassana meditators showed a pronounced enhancement in their REM sleep state, while the SKY group did not show such an enhanced REM sleep state. However, both Vipassana and SKY practitioners exhibited a relatively shorter interval to the occurrence of their first REM sleep episode, that is, they had a very short REM onset latency. The REM density (measure of frequency of REMs) is an index of sleep satiety or sleep need and increased REM density accompanies prolonged periods of sleep. Extended sleep periods and a systematic reduction in the duration of prior wakefulness leads to increased REM, and sleep deprivation reduces the REM density. The enhanced REM duration observed in the Vipassana practitioners could be an index of heightened orientation and inner alertness associated with enhanced brain activity during REM. Mason et al. have also reported such enhanced REM sleep states in long-term practitioners of transcendental meditation. Growing evidence suggests that the circadian rhythm of melatonin contributes to the endogenous circadian rhythm of sleep propensity in humans and the practice of meditation in general has shown to enhance melatonin secretion.

Enra Traz
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Re: Vipassana meditation enhances REM sleep

Postby Enra Traz » 18 Mar 2016 22:20

Thank you for sharing this, Sam Wise. I practise Vipassana and Dzogchen. A lot of people are sceptical about mindful meditation so much so that not too long ago even Scientific American said scientists who recommend meditation are biased and that meditation probably has the equivalent effect of telling yourself to chill out when you're angry. I fing John Kabat-Zinn's research quite promising. 8-)

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Re: Vipassana meditation enhances REM sleep

Postby Summerlander » 18 Mar 2016 22:38

I've just posted the Scientific American link on 'The Shocking Truth' thread, page 22, stating that meditation is overrated. Check it out! :shock:

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"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

Enra Traz
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Joined: 28 Nov 2014 10:55

Re: Vipassana meditation enhances REM sleep

Postby Enra Traz » 19 Mar 2016 01:35

Interesting. But meditation us back as further research has been done since 2014.

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