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Yoga decreases insomnia in postmenopausal women: a randomized clinical trial

Afonso, Rui Ferreira MSc1; Hachul, Helena MD, PhD1,2; Kozasa, Elisa Harumi PhD1,3; de Souza Oliveira, Denise BS1; Goto, Viviane BS1; Rodrigues, Dinah BS4; Tufik, Sérgio MD, PhD1; Leite, José Roberto PhD1

doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e318228225f
Original Articles

Objective: The practice of yoga has been proven to have positive effects on reducing insomnia. Studies have also shown its effects on reducing climacteric symptoms. To date, however, no studies that evaluate the effects of yoga on postmenopausal women with a diagnosis of insomnia in a randomized clinical trial have been conducted. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of yoga practice on the physical and mental health and climacteric symptoms of postmenopausal women with a diagnosis of insomnia.

Methods: Postmenopausal women not undergoing hormone therapy, who were 50 to 65 years old, who had an apnea-hypopnea index less than 15, and who had a diagnosis of insomnia were randomly assigned to one of three groups, as follows: control, passive stretching, and yoga. Questionnaires were administered before and 4 months after the intervention to evaluate quality of life, anxiety and depression symptoms, climacteric symptoms, insomnia severity, daytime sleepiness, and stress. The volunteers also underwent polysomnography. The study lasted 4 months.

Results: There were 44 volunteers at the end of the study. When compared with the control group, the yoga group had significantly lower posttreatment scores for climacteric symptoms and insomnia severity and higher scores for quality of life and resistance phase of stress. The reduction in insomnia severity in the yoga group was significantly higher than that in the control and passive-stretching groups.

Conclusions: This study showed that a specific sequence of yoga might be effective in reducing insomnia and menopausal symptoms as well as improving quality of life in postmenopausal women with insomnia.

This randomized controlled study showed that a specific sequence of yoga might be effective in reducing insomnia and menopausal symptoms as well as improving quality of life in postmenopausal women with insomnia.

From the 1Departamento de Psicobiologia, Universidade Federal de São Paulo; 2Departamento de Ginecologia, Universidade Federal de São Paulo; 3Núcleo de Estudos em Saúde Coletiva e da Família, Universidade Nove de Julho; and 4International Yoga Teachers Association, Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil.

Received February 16, 2011; revised and accepted June 2, 2011.

Funding/support: This work was supported by Associação Fundo de Incentivo à Psicofarmacologia, Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP), FAPESP/Centros de Pesquisa, Inovação e Difusão (98/143030-3 to S.T.), and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: The authors declare no conflicts of interest, with the exception of Dinah Rodrigues, who developed the sequence of yoga exercises evaluated in this study and teaches it to woman in menopause.

Address correspondence to: Helena Hachul, MD, PhD, Rua Napoleão de Barros, 925 CEP 04024-002, Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil. E-mail: helenahachul@psicobio.epm.br; helena.hachul@hotmail.com

©2012The North American Menopause Society