Background: Cyclic meditation (CM) is a technique that combines yoga postures interspersed with supine rest. This combination is based on ancient texts and is considered easier for beginners to practice.
Material/methods: Whole-night polysomnographic measures and the self-rating of sleep were studied on the night following a day in which 30 male participants practiced CM twice (ca. 23 minutes each time). This was compared with another night when they had had two sessions of supine rest (SR) of equal duration on the preceding day. The sessions were one day apart and the order of the sessions was randomized. Recordings were from the F4, C4, and O2 electrode sites referenced to linked earlobes and bipolar electroculography and electromyography sites.
Results: In the night following CM, the percentage of slow-wave sleep (SWS) was significantly higher than in the night following SR, whereas the percentage of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep and the number of awakenings per hour were less. Following CM the self-rating of sleep based on visual analog scales showed an increase in the feeling that the sleep was refreshing, an increase in feeling "good" in the morning, an overall increase in sleep duration, and decreases in the degree to which sleep was influenced by being in a laboratory as well as any associated discomfort.
Conclusions: Practicing cyclic meditation twice a day appeared to improve the objective and subjective quality of sleep on the following night.