Friday, 3 September 2010

Sleep budgeting & Sleep debt: Meditation can cut down the daily sleep time by three hours

2010
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Sept 2: Sleep budgeting is just a meditation away. Those who want to cut down 
their daily sleeping hours to work more can do so through meditation.

Sleep can be budgeted up to three hours a day without the usual associated side-effects 
by doing meditation,according to senior biologist Dr Prashant Kaul of the University of Kenucky, USA. Human beings need seven to nine hours of sleep for the body to perform its physiological functions properly, but this can be brought down to four to six hours through meditation. Meditation will also remove the problem of "sleep debt" caused due to irregular
sleep.

While regular meditators achieve sleep budging for up to three hours, even novice meditators show positive results.

A team of biologists led by Dr Prashant, studied the effect of meditation on sleep budgeting as practised by yogis. People, who are new to meditation, were picked up and they were tested for psychomotor  vigilance task before each meditation session, 10 minutes after each activity and one hour later. Even in novice meditators sleep duration was lower than non-meditators and general population norms.

"In long term meditators, multiple hours spent in meditation are associated with a significant decrease in total sleep time when compared with age and sex matched controls, who did not meditate. We are further investigating whether meditation can actually replace a portion of sleep or pay-off sleep debt," he said.

The team noted that meditators have deeper or more intense sleep, and thus may be able to 
achieve the restorative benefits of sleep in less time. The team enrolled seven yogis for the study. They all slept between four and six hours a day. Meditation may also provide a longer term reduction in sleep need roughly equal to the time spent in meditation.

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