Effects of yoga on sleep quality and depression in elders in assisted living facilities

J Nurs Res. 2010 Mar;18(1):53-61. doi: 10.1097/JNR.0b013e3181ce5189.


Background: Being relocated to an assisted living facility can result in sleep disturbances and depression in elders. This may be attributed to or worsened by lack of regular physical activity. Appropriate exercise programs may be an important component of quality of life in this group of transitional frail elders.

Purpose: This study aimed to test the effects of a 6-month yoga exercise program in improving sleep quality and decreasing depression in transitional frail elders living in assisted living facilities.

Methods: A quasi-experimental pretest-and-posttest design was used. A convenience sample of 69 elderly residents of assisted living facilities was divided randomly into a yoga exercise (n = 38) and control group (n = 31) based on residence location. A total of 55 participants completed the study. The intervention was implemented in three small groups, and each practice group was led by two pretrained certified yoga instructors three times per week at 70 min per practice session for 24 weeks. The outcome measures of sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index) and depression state (Taiwanese Depression Questionnaire) were examined at baseline, at the 12th week, and at the 24th week of the study.

Results: After 6 months of performing yoga exercises, participants' overall sleep quality had significantly improved, whereas depression, sleep disturbances, and daytime dysfunction had decreased significantly (p < .05). In addition, participants in the intervention group had better results on all outcome indicators than those of participants in the control group (p < .05).

Conclusions and implications for practice: It is recommended that yoga exercise be incorporated as an activity program in assisted living facilities or in other long-term care facilities to improve sleep quality and decrease depression in institutionalized elders.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Assisted Living Facilities*
  • Humans
  • Sleep*
  • Yoga*