Resilience to Sleep Deprivation and Changes in Sleep Architecture in Shoonya Meditators
Sleep is physiologically important for memory consolidation, mood and hormonal regulation, and maintaining low levels of systemic inflammation. However, a substantial proportion of people are reported to regularly sleep less than the recommended 7-9 hours a night. Meditation may be a means to mitigate the negative effects of sleep deprivation, as many types of meditations are associated with increasing high-frequency heart rate variability (HF-HRV), which is an index of parasympathetic control of the heart. Greater parasympathetic drive may be associated with physiological buffering of the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation.
The investigators want to conduct a prospective cohort study where subjects are asked to learn and practice a 15-minute meditation (shoonya meditation) or continue their usual routine. Subjects will be asked to complete some cognitive tests before and after a night of sleep and a night of sleep deprivation. During the night of sleep, participants will undergo polysomnography recording for sleep architecture and quality.
The intervention group will be asked to undergo these same study procedures after 2 months of meditation practice. The control group, which continues their usual routine, will only undergo one visit.