Sleep (Insomnia)Yoga

Effects of gentle yoga on sleep

Researchers at the University of Washington, in Seattle, studied changes in sleep in older women with osteoarthritis.

First, the details.

  • 14 women with osteoarthritis and symptoms of insomnia completed an 8-week yoga program that included 75-minute weekly classes and 20 minutes of nightly home practice.
  • Symptom questionnaires, sleep diaries, and 1 week of wrist actigraphy were completed.
  • Actigraphic measures estimate sleep amounts and sleep continuity in patients with sleep disorders.

And, the results.

  • 13 women completed the study.
  • The Insomnia Severity Index and diary-reported sleep onset latency (time before falling asleep), sleep efficiency (the ratio of time spent asleep to time spent in bed), and number of nights with insomnia were significantly improved.
  • Other sleep outcomes (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, diary-reported total sleep time and wake after sleep onset) showed improvement, but these were not statistically significant.
    • Actigraphic sleep outcomes were not significantly changed.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “This study supports the feasibility and acceptability of a standardized evening yoga practice for middle-aged to older women with osteoarthritis.”

Past studies of yoga in women with insomnia have been of low quality.

This was a preliminary study, and it will require confirmation of the results in future research.

9/6/11 21:06 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.