A pilot study of gentle yoga for sleep disturbance in women with osteoarthritis

Sleep Med. 2011 May;12(5):512-7. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2010.09.016. Epub 2011 Apr 13.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to test the feasibility and acceptability of a gentle yoga intervention for sleep disturbance in older women with osteoarthritis (OA) and to collect initial efficacy data on the intervention.

Methods: All participants completed an 8-week yoga program that included 75-min weekly classes and 20 min of nightly home practice. Participants were women with OA and symptoms consistent with insomnia. Symptom questionnaires and 1 week of wrist actigraphy and sleep diaries were completed for 1 week pre- and post-intervention.

Results: Fourteen women were enrolled of whom 13 completed the study (mean age 65.2 ± 6.9 years). Participants attended a mean of 7.2 ± 1.0 classes and practiced at home 5.83 ± 1.66 nights/week. The Insomnia Severity Index and diary-reported sleep onset latency, sleep efficiency, and number of nights with insomnia were significantly improved at post-intervention versus pre-intervention (p < .05). Other sleep outcomes (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, diary-reported total sleep time and wake after sleep onset) showed improvement on mean scores at post-intervention, but these were not statistically significant. Actigraphic sleep outcomes were not significantly changed.

Conclusions: This study supports the feasibility and acceptability of a standardized evening yoga practice for middle-aged to older women with OA. Preliminary efficacy findings support further research on this program as a potential treatment option for OA-related insomnia.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy
  • Aged
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Medical Records
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / complications*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Yoga*