Postmenopausal women who do yoga regularly may have less insomnia and menopausal symptoms and improved quality of life, suggests a small, randomized, controlled study published online October 30 in Menopause.
Forty-four postmenopausal women, 50 to 65 years of age with an apnea-hypopnea index less than 15 and a diagnosis of insomnia, were assigned to 3 groups: no treatment, twice-weekly passive stretching with a physical therapist, and twice-weekly yoga classes. The women completed a questionnaire before and 4 months after treatment that evaluated quality of life, symptoms of depression, menopause symptoms, severity of insomnia, daytime sleepiness, and stress. Participants also underwent polysomnography. “When compared with the control group, the yoga group had significantly lower post-treatment scores for climacteric symptoms and insomnia severity and higher scores for quality of life and resistance phase of stress,” the authors write. “The reduction in insomnia severity in the yoga group was significantly higher than that in the control and passive stretching groups.” The 1-hour yoga sessions included stretching positions and strong, fast breathing (bellows breathing) and ended with directed relaxation. The sequence, based on yogasana and Tibetan yoga techniques, is known as yoga HT for menopause. “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,” the authors conclude. They speculate that the benefits study participants experienced resulted from changes in the central, autonomic, and neuroendocrine nervous systems....read more