Yoga as a Treatment for Insomnia

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) Identifier:
First received: April 11, 2002
Last updated: April 27, 2015
Last verified: April 2015
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a daily, 8-week treatment for insomnia using yoga, relaxation exercises or sleep hygiene.

Condition Intervention Phase
Behavioral: Yoga, Relaxation Exercises, Sleep Hygiene
Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Yoga as a Treatment for Insomnia

Further study details as provided by National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH):

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Sleep onset latency [ Time Frame: 8 weeks ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Estimated Enrollment: 48
Study Start Date: April 2001
Study Completion Date: December 2008
Primary Completion Date: December 2008 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: 1
Yoga treatment for 8 weeks
Behavioral: Yoga, Relaxation Exercises, Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene and relaxation exercises, with additional yoga
No Intervention: 2
Sleep hygiene instructions only

Detailed Description:
Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by a chronic difficulty in initiating and maintaining sleep which has a relatively high prevalence and a significant socioeconomic cost. There is good evidence that cognitive and/or physiological arousal, associated with sustained sympathetic activation, is one of the underlying causes of insomnia. Relaxation treatments such as progressive relaxation and meditation which address the cognitive and somatic arousal associated with insomnia have been found to be effective. Yoga is a comprehensive discipline which includes physical exercises, postures, breathing techniques, and meditation, for the purpose of improving health and well being. Research studies have documented the effectiveness of yoga in reducing sympathetic activation and cognitive and somatic arousal and in the treatment of specific medical disorders. Although it has been used and recommended for the treatment of insomnia, its effectiveness has not been evaluated in a randomized, controlled study. The aim of this proposal is to evaluate the effectiveness of yoga, relaxation exercises or sleep hygiene in the treatment of chronic psychophysiological insomnia. A subjective measure of sleep onset latency will be derived from daily sleep diaries, and an objective measure will be drawn from polysomnographic recordings. Sleep onset latency will be evaluated before and after a two month treatment period in a total of 48 young men and women who have been carefully screened for psychiatric and medical disorders. Subjects will be assigned to a yoga, relaxation exercise, or sleep hygiene treatment group. We anticipate that yoga practice will prove to be an effective treatment for insomnia which will yield significant improvements in sleep onset latency. We also anticipate that these improvements will be maintained at long-term follow up evaluation.

Ages Eligible for Study:   25 Years to 59 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion criteria

  • A primary complaint of sleep-onset insomnia for at least 6 months.

    • Reside in the metropolitan Boston area

Exclusion Criteria

  • No current other nonpharmacological treatment for insomnia.
  • Ability or willingness to discontinue use of hypnotic medications.
  • No rotating or night shift work, or transcontinental travel throughout the course of the study protocol.
  • No recent or anticipated major life stressors over the course of the study protocol (e.g. impending divorce or terminal illness of a relative).
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00033865

United States, Massachusetts
Brigham and Women's Hospital Division of Sleep Medicine
Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02115
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Principal Investigator: Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, PhD Brigham and Women's Hospital
  More Information

Woolfolk RL, Carr-Kaffashan L, McNulty TF. Meditation training as a treatment for insomnia. Behav Ther 1976;7:359-65.
Schoicket SL, Bertelson AD, Lacks P. Is sleep hygiene a sufficient treatment for sleep-maintenance insomnia? Behav Ther 1988;19:183-90.
Koch, U., Volk, S., Heidenreich, T., and Pflug, B. Yoga treatment in psychophysiological insomnia. Journal of Sleep Research 7(Suppl. 2), 137. 1998.
Joshi, KS. Yogic treatment of insomnia: An experimental study. Yoga Mimamsa 1992;30:24-26.

Responsible Party: Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, PhD, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Division of Sleep Medicine Identifier: NCT00033865     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: R21 AT000066-01A1
Study First Received: April 11, 2002
Last Updated: April 27, 2015
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH):
Behavioral treatment processed this record on November 27, 2015