Purpose: The purpose of this experimental pilot study was to measure the effects of a mindfulness-based yoga intervention on sleep in pregnant women.
Methods: Fifteen healthy, nulliparous women in their second or third trimesters with singleton pregnancies attended weekly mindfulness meditation and prenatal Hatha yoga classes in the community for 7 weeks. Sleep variables, as estimated by 72 hr of continuous wrist actigraphy and the General Sleep Disturbance Scale (GSDS), were recorded at baseline (Time 1) and postintervention (Time 2). Control data were obtained by evaluating sleep in the third-trimester group at Time 1. Due to small sample size, data were analyzed using parametric and nonparametric statistics.
Results: Women who began the intervention in the second trimester had significantly fewer awakenings, less wake time during the night, and less perceived sleep disturbance at Time 2 than at baseline. Those who began during the third trimester had poorer sleep over time in spite of the intervention. Women who began the intervention in their second trimester had less awake time at Time 2 compared to third-trimester controls at Time 1.
Conclusions: Mindful yoga shows promise for women in their second trimester of pregnancy to diminish total number of awakenings at night and improve sleep efficiency and merits further exploration. Results from this pilot study provide the data to estimate sample size and design and implement powered and more controlled studies in the future.