Researchers at Harvard Medical School looked at how yoga may help those suffering from Insomnia. In this small study of 20 participants researchers recruited those suffering from Insomnia. These included those who suffered from both primary insomnia and secondary insomnia. In case of a primary insomnia patient sleeplessness develops on its own. In case of secondary insomnia patient sleeplessness is a result of some other illness. Researchers asked participants to maintain a sleep journal for two weeks. Participants recorded the following in their journals:
Total sleep time
Time it took to fall asleep
Total wake time after sleep onset
After two weeks participants were given a single yoga class. They were then asked to continue with the yoga practice for another 8 weeks on their own and asked to continue maintaining their sleep journal. Participants were allowed brief in person follow-ups or follow up by phone. When the journal for the 8-week period following the yoga class was compared to the journal for the two-week period prior to the yoga class, researchers found statistically significant improvement in all sleep measures.
A more recent study that recruited postmenopausal women aged 50 to 65 who suffered from insomnia found a similar result. The study found that the reduction in insomnia for the group that did yoga was significantly higher than that those who did simple stretching or those who had no intervention.
There have been similar other small studies all with the same result: Yoga seems to help those who suffer from Insomnia.
Sleep is a critical component of our wellbeing. Lack of proper sleep has been linked to obesity and weight gain. Inadequate amount of sleep has also been linked to a shortened life span. It is therefore important to pay attention to the quality of our sleep and use tools like yoga to improve it.