Effects of Prayer and Meditation on Circadian Dysfunction

Singh, Ram B., Smail, Manal, Wilczynska, Agnieszka, Singh, Jaipaul orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3200-3949, Jain, Monica, Rai, Richa H., Bowered, O.A., Chibisov, Sergey, De Meester, Fabien et al (2021) Effects of Prayer and Meditation on Circadian Dysfunction. World Heart Journal, 13 (1). pp. 89-93. ISSN 1556-4002

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Prayer, meditation and mindfulness have been commonly used for healing in Vedic, Jainism, Buddhism, Egyptian, Greek and Mesopotemian cultures [1]. In Buddhism, mindfulness is a component of Eight Fold Path, therefore using mindfulness in the modern science is not absolutely correct. A definition of prayers of Mesopotamia was “praise to god followed by request.” The ancient mystic Hinduism wrote Rigveda prayer, Figure 1.
Meditation and prayer appear to be important practices for the management of emotional and spiritual wellbeing [1-4]. Prayer may also influence the physiology of circadian rhythms in our body and it has evolved possibly as adaptation to the rotation of the earth around its axis [4]. Circadian rhythms account for increased activity of the sympathetic nerves of the autonomic nervous system with marked releases of cortisol, catecholamines (norepinephrine and adrenaline), testosterone and thyroid hormones. In turn, these neurotransmitters and hormones occur at a circadian stage when endogenous melatonin level is decreased to low values in the morning [4]. There is a need to prevent the circadian rhythm of adverse biological functions observed between 6.00 to 12.00 hours during the day, because circadian dysfunction can predispose to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). The circadian dysfunction may worsen due to risk factors, although protective factors such as prayer, meditation and moderate physical activity may prevent circadian dysfunction [2-4]. The aim of the present study is to emphasize the beneficial role of prayer, mindfulness and meditation in the protection against circadian dysregulation in the body, thereby preventing CVDs, especially sudden cardiac death (SCD).

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