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Brain Age and Sleep Architecture in Meditators

Approximately one hundred (100) individuals will undergo three consecutive weekday nights and two weekend nights of EEG and plethysmography recording using the DREEM headband and SleepImage rings, after answering a demographic questionnaire. Out of these 100 participants, the study will aim for 50 meditators and 50 matched controls. Only meditating participants will be asked to perform the most advanced form of meditation among the following three, which are listed from least advanced to most advanced: Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya, Shoonya Meditation, Samyama Meditation (Breath watching). Participants will be instructed to wear the DREEM EEG headband during their practice of this meditation during each of the five days.

All participants will also be asked to undergo cognitive assessments from the NIH toolbox during a video call. The assessments from the NIH toolbox will last approximately forty-five minutes to one hour.

EEG: The participants will be mailed the DREEM devices and asked to wear them for three consecutive weekday nights and two weekend nights while sleeping. During the day, for each of these five nights, meditating participants will also be asked to wear the device while they sit still with their eyes closed, without trying to meditate, for 10 minutes. This will function as the baseline waking EEG measurement. Immediately following this, participants will be asked to perform their meditation while wearing the DREEM device for a maximum of 30 minutes.

NIH Toolbox:

This study will use select tests from the NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery and from the NIH Toolbox Emotion Battery. All of the tests together will take approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete.

The selected tests from the batteries are the following:

Cognition Battery

Picture vocabulary test
List sorting working memory test
Picture Sequence Memory test
Oral reading recognition test

Emotion Battery:

Positive Affect CAT
General Life Satisfaction CAT
Emotional Support FF
Instrumental Support FF
Friendship FF
Loneliness FF
Perceived Stress FF