It’s praised for everything from treating anxiety, helping sleep and improving brain function – but what’s the science behind meditation?
I’m the first to admit I used to be sceptical and always skipped the relaxation part of a yoga class – I hated being still. But now I realise how powerful it can be, not only for my sleep quality but my brain performance too, even just with a few minutes a day.
One trial found that 30 days of doing 10-20 minutes of guided meditation daily increased focus by 14%.
Another trial showed meditation significantly reduced irritability and stress.
A systematic review (that pooled together results from 18 trials) suggested mindfulness meditation can be effective in helping sleep disturbance.
Stress can also trigger gut symptoms like constipation, bloating and diarrhoea, thanks to the gut-brain axis. So often I see in clinic that adding in stress-management techniques like meditation really can help people take back control of their gut health within a couple of months.
Even if you’re not facing anxiety or mental health challenges, chances are you’ll experience stress sometimes – remember the brain is a muscle that works hard and needs rest, just like our bodies do! So it’s worth giving yourself time to relax and unwind each day.
Whatever meditation you choose, the important thing is to make it a daily habit. I totally get it can feel a bit uncomfortable at first – but with time, your mind and body will thank you!
Check out my book Eat Yourself Healthy & Love Your Gut for a beginner’s guide to mindfulness.