When Work Stress Keeps You Awake, Try Mindfulness

Even short meditation training brings relief from stress

We now have years of research showing the negative effects of stress on our wellbeing. Happily, we also have years of research on mindfulness practice and its proven ability to bring calmness to our mind and body.

Not surprisingly, workplace stress is a common cause of sleeplessness. As Adam Hoffman’s excellent article in Mindful magazine notes, about 85% of American workers report losing sleep due to job stress. Lack of sleep decreases our coping abilities, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed by stress.  

When we’re stressed, the smallest task may seem huge, but de-stressing can be very simple. Studies show that even a small amount of mindfulness meditation will help calm our hyperactive minds and grant us restorative sleep.

For example, Hoffman describes a study done in the Netherlands in which people  with no formal meditation training read some basic tenets of mindfulness and listened to a few recorded guided meditations over the course of two workweeks. Using these tools for only 10 minutes before and after work each day, these participants experienced steady improvements in sleep quality, sleep duration, and mindfulness.

The researchers did not see improved ability for the participants to detach psychologically from work, but it’s likely they would see improvement with more intense mindfulness practice or if they practiced for longer periods of time.

Making mindfulness practice part if your life on a regular and ongoing basis has real benefits. As these studies show, you may notice the first improvement in your sleep, because sleep quality seems to be highly sensitive to the practice. As you continue mindfulness practice, you’re likely to see its positive effects in many aspects of your mental, emotional,  and physical health.

Mindfully yours,

 

Dr. Pamm