Twenty minutes of meditation and yoga per day combined with six 1-hour weekly group sessions lowered feelings of stress by more than 10% and improved sleep quality for office workers, according to a pilot study published in Health Education & Behavior (2009; 36 , 601–14).
Maryanna Klatt, PhD, lead study author and assistant professor of medicine at Ohio State University (OSU), wanted to create a low-cost worksite program. Adapting the mindfulness-based stress reduction program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, she designed a “low-dose” version that required less time commitment and was possible to do at the workplace.
OSU researchers recruited 42 adult office workers who exercised less than 30 minutes on most days of the week. The investigators randomly assigned about half (22) to the yoga group and the rest (20) to a control group. Subjects participated in one weekly group session during lunch and performed 20 minutes of meditation and movement daily at their desks, guided by a CD of verbal cues and music. Participants responded to questionnaires regarding stress, sleep quality and mindful-attention awareness before and after the intervention.
In the intervention group, mindful-attention awareness increased approximately 10%, while perceived stress decreased about 11%. While members of both groups reported improved sleep quality, the improvement was greater for those in the intervention group. Klatt is continuing to refine and study her “low-dose” program; therefore, it is not yet available for public use.