Yoga Improves Sleep and Quality of Life

Posted on May 26th, 2010 by

A four-week yoga program that included breathing, meditation, postures, and other techniques improved sleep and quality of life among cancer survivors. The results of this study will be presented at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Sleep problems and fatigue are among the most common problems experienced by cancer survivors, and can have a profound impact on quality of life. Sleep problems are very common during cancer treatment, but can persist even after treatment ends.

To evaluate the impact of a yoga program on sleep and fatigue, researchers at the University of Rochester conducted a study among 410 survivors of early-stage cancers who reported sleeping problems after completion of cancer treatment. Three-quarters of the study participants were breast cancer survivors.

Study participants were assigned to receive either usual care or usual care plus a four-week, twice-weekly YOCAS® (Yoga for Cancer Survivors) program. The YOCAS program consisted of mindfulness exercises such as breathing, meditation, visualization, and poses in standing, seated, and lying-down positions.

Compared with patients who received usual care alone, patients in the yoga program reported greater sleep quality, less use of drugs for sleep, less fatigue, and better quality of life. Patients in the yoga program reported a 42% reduction in fatigue, compared with a 12% reduction in fatigue among patients who received usual care alone.

These results suggest that a structured yoga program can improve sleep, reduce fatigue, and improve quality of life among cancer survivors.

Reference: Mustian KM, Palesh O, Sprod L et al. Effect of YOCAS yoga on sleep, fatigue, and quality of life: A URCC CCOP randomized, controlled clinical trial among 410 cancer survivors. To be presented at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. June 4-8, 2010. Chicago, IL. Abstract 9013.

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