That may sound like a strange question but bear with me.
How do you get good at something?
You practice it.
How do you improve the quality of your deep sleep Delta states?
By practising Delta waves?
Contrary to logic, and this study uses meditation as the way of increasing peoples brain activity beyond the normal, one of the best ways to actually improve your deep restorative non REM sleep (which is Delta) is actually to practice the higher brainwaves patterns of trance and meditation.
In this case the focus was primarily on Gamma waves.
Gamma waves are now widely associated with higher brain function, flow states, memory coding and retrieval and maintenance of brain function and Neuroplasticity. And there is an established link now between Gamma wave activity and some of the lower brainwaves of Theta and Delta.
A lack of this coupled effect is seen as a type of brain misfire by some neurologists.
Different meditation styles do have slight variations depending on whether it is a mindfulness or compassion generating type of style but there are enough consistencies that point to the primary brainwaves effected by meditation as being Theta, Alpha and Gamma.
Usually there is a reduction in Alpha alongside an increase of Theta with spindles of phase matched Gamma.
What is interesting is that long term meditators or those that do a significant one off session even, not only had an increase in slow wave sleep activity.., but a corresponding increase in Gamma present in this stage three slow wave non REM sleep throughout the whole night as well.
It seems that taking the time to have a practice that reduces or eliminates the levels of Beta waves (awake, active and conscious) and even a reduction in Alpha waves without being asleep, will likely have a significant positive effect on how well you sleep and how refreshed you are on waking up.
So getting better at relaxing while awake not surprisingly will give you a better nights sleep too. Obvious to many but this hints at the reason why.
This is good news for brainwave entrainment users as getting practice with Delta waves can be tricky due to falling asleep.
It’s also good news for those who suffer from insomnia as getting into a Theta state becomes an easier target. Add to that some Gamma entrainment and the equation becomes more complete.
It would seem that getting more sleep could be less effective at improving your recovery and mind health than meditation and Theta (coupled with Gamma) inducing practices like entrainment.
Yet another score for Gamma brainwaves as being instrumental to health.
Good to know.