Providing nurses and other staff with yoga and meditation in the workplace could reduce stress levels and improve sleep quality, suggest US researchers.
They piloted a six-week stress reduction programme, which was designed for office workers to fit into break times so as not to impose on either work or home time.
The study involved 48 subjects, half of whom attended one-hour weekly yoga and discussion sessions during their lunch break, as well as meditating for 20 minutes per day at their desks. The remainder acted as controls.
On average intervention participants’ stress levels had decreased by 11% at the end of the programme and time taken to fall asleep and sleep disturbances were also reduced, compared with controls, the authors said in the journal Health Education & Behaviour.
The new programme was adapted from an existing theory called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), which is intended to help people attain a heightened awareness of factors that cause them stress. The original MBSR programme was designed in 1979 for hospital patients in Massachusetts to aid in the healing process.
The study authors, from Ohio State University, hope to further investigate the effects of their modified version of the programme on reducing stress levels among groups including ICU nurses and cancer survivors.