Poor sleep and high levels of pain can dampen the concentration and productivity of your clients’ employees and impair their overall health. Fortunately both can be improved, without drugs.

Better sleep and reduced pain are two of the benefits that mindfulness classes have brought to thousands of eMindful participants. In a sample of more than 1,200 employees from several dozen companies around the world, stress was reduced by 29%. That same research project showed meaningful improvements in sleep quality and pain levels.

Since 2007, eMindful has provided live, online, mindfulness programs for employers to offer to their employees. Weekly classes last for an hour, and a program typically runs from ten to twelve weeks. In 2010, we began measuring outcomes, using carefully selected, scientifically validated methods.

[Image credit: Fotolia]
[Image credit: Fotolia]

Our Analytics Team’s quantified sleep habits, sleep quality and their result on daytime functioning using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Developed at the University of Pittsburgh, the PSQI comprises seven component scores:
1. Subjective sleep quality

2. Sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep)

3. Sleep duration

4. Habitual sleep efficiency (the proportion of time in bed spent sleeping)

5. Sleep disturbances

6. Use of sleep medication

7. Daytime dysfunction

Substantial gains

Measured before taking an eMindful stress reduction course, the seven component scores yielded a composite score of 6.4. The post-course composite PSQI score fell to 5.1, representing a 20.3% improvement in overall sleep quality.

Every component score improved as well, with the biggest gains in sleep latency, sleep duration, and daytime dysfunction. The latter means that employees found it easier to stay awake and had more energy to get things done.

Pain management is not specifically addressed in eMindful stress and resiliency courses, yet pain levels improved significantly as participants learned the mind training. When asked to self-assess their pain on three separate scales, (pain at its worst in the last 24 hours, pain on average and pain right now), course participants showed significant improvements on all three scales. Total pain scores decreased from 7.8 to 6.5, or nearly 17%.

An article in the Journal of Pain (August 2012) found that about 100 million U.S. adults are affected by chronic pain, which is enormously costly to treat. It requires medical intervention, complicates treatment for other ailments and, like poor sleep, lowers worker productivity. Including both medical costs and lost productivity, the total costs of pain ranged from $560 to $635 billion in 2010 dollars.

eMindful’s research findings substantiate recent scientific research, and our follow-on analysis has found that the benefits continue, and possibly even improve, one year after the courses have been completed.

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