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Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(21)2021 10 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1480759


Stress and lack of quality sleep affect a large portion of the population around the globe, and the COVID-19 pandemic has genuinely brought attention to these problems. This study aimed to investigate whether using a virtual heart-based meditation program is associated with improved stress levels and quality of sleep among participants from the general population during the COVID-19 pandemic. We recruited 63 participants to receive an 8-week virtually conducted Heartfulness meditation program in a prospective pre-post single-arm intervention study from September 28 to November 22 2020. Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) scores were collected at baseline, at 4 weeks, and 8 weeks. Of the 63 participants enrolled in the study, 36 (57%) completed an 8-week Heartfulness meditation program. There was a significant decrease in PSS (mean difference of 6.68 with 95% C.I. 4.89-8.47, p < 0.0001) and in PSQI (mean difference of 2.05 with 95% C.I. 1.03-3.07, p < 0.0001) between week zero and week eight, regardless of Health Care Professional status. The qualitative thematic analysis strongly supported the survey results. A significant reduction in perceived stress score and improvement in sleep quality index was noted at the end of a virtual Heartfulness meditation program. Moreover, Heartfulness meditation practice may help cultivate the quality of empathy, acceptance, and individual peace. We conclude that the effects of virtually accessible Heartfulness meditation practice need to be explored further in larger studies.

COVID-19 , Meditation , Humans , Pandemics , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Sleep , Stress, Psychological/prevention & control