The Effects of Presleep Stimuli of Different Sources and Types on REM Sleep


  • Part of the data reported is based on the Master's thesis of Elizabeth Butters. The pilot study was conducted by Martin Weinstein preliminary to his Master's thesis research. The study was supported by a grant to Dr. Cartwright, MH 23450.

Rosalind Cartwright, Department of Psychology, Box 4348, University of Illinois Chicago Circle, Chicago, Illinois 60680.


The sleep patterns of 12 experienced meditators and 9 age-matched prospective meditators were compared to determine the effect of presleep stimuli of different sources and types on rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. All subjects were EEG monitored for two nights. On both nights the experienced meditators attended to internal stimuli, i.e. meditated prior to sleep, and the prospective meditators attended to external stimuli, i.e. listened to music through earphones, for an equal time. The music group had a significantly higher REM percent. Post hoc tests showed this was not due to a rebound following a difficult adaptation night. To test whether the elevation following music was a response specific to those committed to presleep external stimulus reduction, a second study compared the REM percent of a non-meditation oriented student sample following presleep verbal or music stimulation to their base rate. These subjects showed REM percents higher than their base after music and lower than base following verbal stimulation.