Two interesting research papers on Vipassana and Zazen meditation that may be of interest to people, particularly with projection in mind.


Vipassana meditation enhances REM sleep as well as sleep quality as we age. This REM enhancement in essence increases the nightly window with in which one can become lucid, while also increasing dream recall.

A little while ago, I performed a little breath awareness meditation lying in bed before sleep...this induced what seemed to be a focus 10 state (Monroe Institute reference, described below), and my dream recall that night was the best it has been in a long time, amazing dreams! This has prompted me to make pre sleep meditation a regular thing. It seems like there is some solid science to back up Vipassana style meditation (as well as Zazen which is similar in essence, as discussed below ) for its effect on dream recall and increasing likelihood of lucidity.

A technique is outlined here for anybody interested. I think you could skip part 1 of this and still get good results, worth experimenting with...if you fall asleep too quickly, listening to some binaural or isochronic tones can help.


Sulekha, S., Thennarasu, K., Vedamurthachar, A., Raju, R.R. & Kutty, B.M. (2006) Evaluation of sleep architecture in practitioners of Sudarshan Kriya yoga and Vipassana meditation. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 4, 207-214


Yoga is an ancient Indian science and way of life that has been described in the traditional texts as a systematic method of achieving the highest possible functional harmony between body and mind. Yogic practices are claimed to enhance the quality of sleep. Electrophysiological correlates associated with the higher states of consciousness have been reported in long-term practitioners of transcendental meditation during deep sleep states. The present study was carried out to assess sleep architecture in Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) and Vipassana meditators. This was to ascertain the differences, if any, in sleep architecture following yogic practices. Whole night polysomnographic recordings were carried out in 78 healthy male subjects belonging to control and yoga groups. The groups studied were aged between 20 and 30-years-old (younger) and 31 to 55-years-old (middle-aged). The sleep architecture was comparable among the younger control and yoga groups. While slow wave sleep (non-REM (rapid eye movement) S3 and S4) had reduced to 3.7 percent in the middle- aged control group, participants of the middle-aged yoga groups (both SKY and Vipassana) showed no such decline in slow wave sleep states, which was experienced by 11.76 and 12.76 percent, respectively, of the SKY and Vipassana groups. However, Vipassana practitioners showed a significant enhancement (P<0.001) in their REM sleep state from that of the age-matched control subjects and also from their SKY counterparts. Yoga practices help to retain slow wave sleep and enhance the REM sleep state in the middle age; they appear to retain a younger biological age as far as sleep is concerned. Overall, the study demonstrates the possible beneficial role of yoga in sleep–wakefulness behavior.


Vipassana meditators showed a pronounced enhancement in their REM sleep state, while the SKY group did not show such an enhanced REM sleep state. However, both Vipassana and SKY practitioners exhibited a relatively shorter interval to the occurrence of their first REM sleep episode, that is, they had a very short REM onset latency. The REM density (measure of frequency of REMs) is an index of sleep satiety or sleep need and increased REM density accompanies prolonged periods of sleep. Extended sleep periods and a systematic reduction in the duration of prior wakefulness leads to increased REM, and sleep deprivation reduces the REM density. The enhanced REM duration observed in the Vipassana practitioners could be an index of heightened orientation and inner alertness associated with enhanced brain activity during REM. Mason et al. have also reported such enhanced REM sleep states in long-term practitioners of transcendental meditation. Growing evidence suggests that the circadian rhythm of melatonin contributes to the endogenous circadian rhythm of sleep propensity in humans and the practice of meditation in general has shown to enhance melatonin secretion.


This is an interesting paper from a few years back..the sample size is really tiny (only 8 people), but it is comparing inexperienced and experienced Zazen meditators and how they experience consciousness, both during meditation and their day to day lives, and it makes for pretty fascinating and inspiring reading if people are wanting a little motivation with regard to making meditation a regular practice.


This phenomenological study into Zen practitioners’ experiences of zazen meditation is based on eight semi-structured interviews with four experienced and four inexperienced zazen meditators. The respondents’ descriptions were analysed using a five-step Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) process into thirteen super-ordinate themes. The phenomenological analysis revealed differences between the two groups. Some experienced meditators reported differences that might be interpreted as trait changes due to meditative practice. These included the ability to remain conscious in the dream and deep sleep state as well as greater clarity, greater serenity, and more compassion in the waking state. Supplementary quantitative data gathered by a questionnaire indicated that inexperienced meditators perceived a greater difference between meditation and a normal waking state than did experienced meditators. This finding might indicate that the experienced meditators have integrated the meditative state into their daily life as a normal state, an area warranting future inquiry.

Selected Highlights:

Dream states of consciousness

Inexperienced meditators. As a result of meditation, the respondents have had fewer dreams and more shallow dreams. In addition, the need for sleep is less marked than it previously has been.

Experienced meditators. It is possible to meditate in lucid dreaming as well as to continue working on Zen koans. The deep sleep state is experienced as a deep relaxed dreamless sleep.

Developing stages of consciousness

Experienced meditators. After many years of meditation, the state of consciousness has permanently changed towards a feeling of limitless clarity in mind and body. Meditation has become a way of life. A state freed from previous, different states or stages of consciousness.

Altered states of consciousness

Experienced meditators. Out-of-body experiences and lucid dreams at night were reported by all in the experienced group. One respondent experienced contact with dead people in his lucid dream state.

The effects of meditation on personal development

Inexperienced meditators. The respondents state that they have noticed several changes in their own development and view of the world, and their environment including the quality of social interactions.

Experienced meditators. These respondents state that they have noticed a number of personal changes through the process of meditation. Openness, expansiveness and non-attachment to the material world are examples of qualities and affects that have developed over time.

...It is interesting to note that the inexperienced meditators all felt that the state of mind induced via meditation differed more from their mind state during waking life than the experienced meditators, which suggests the meditative state is becoming part of normal baseline consciousness, and it seems like this a long term change among experienced meditators.

The full paper can be downloaded in PDF form:

Kjellgren, A. & Taylor, S. (200 Mapping Zazen meditation as a developmental process: Exploring the experiences of experienced and inexperienced meditators. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 40, (2) 224-250.