Are Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Associated with Sleep and Resilience in Health Professionals?

J Altern Complement Med. 2015 Aug;21(8):496-503. doi: 10.1089/acm.2014.0281. Epub 2015 Jun 2.


Objectives: To describe the relationship between trainable qualities (mindfulness and self-compassion), with factors conceptually related to burnout and quality of care (sleep and resilience) in young health professionals and trainees.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Setting: Large Midwestern academic health center.

Participants: 213 clinicians and trainees.

Outcome measures: Sleep and resilience were assessed by using the 8-item PROMIS Sleep scale and the 6-item Brief Resilience Scale. Mindfulness and self-compassion were assessed using the 10-item Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale, Revised and the 12-item Self-Compassion Scale. Health was assessed with Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Global Health measures, and stress was assessed with the 10-item Perceived Stress Scale. After examination of descriptive statistics and Pearson correlations, multiple regression analyses were done to determine whether mindfulness and self-compassion were associated with better sleep and resilience.

Results: Respondents had an average age of 28 years; 73% were female. Professions included dieticians (11%), nurses (14%), physicians (38%), social workers (24%), and other (12%). Univariate analyses showed normative values for all variables. Sleep disturbances were significantly and most strongly correlated with perceived stress and poorer health, but also with less mindfulness and self-compassion. Resilience was strongly and significantly correlated with less stress and better mental health, more mindfulness, and more self-compassion.

Conclusions: In these young health professionals and trainees, sleep and resilience are correlated with both mindfulness and self-compassion. Prospective studies are needed to determine whether training to increase mindfulness and self-compassion can improve clinicians' sleep and resilience or whether decreasing sleep disturbances and building resilience improves mindfulness and compassion.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Empathy*
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Midwestern United States / epidemiology
  • Mindfulness / statistics & numerical data*
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Young Adult