Walking is more effective than yoga at reducing sleep disturbance in cancer patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Sleep Med Rev. 2019 Oct;47:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2019.05.003. Epub 2019 May 24.


This review aimed to determine whether walking is more effective than yoga at improving sleep disturbance in cancer patients. A systematic search of randomized controlled trials was performed in the PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, CNKI, Airiti Library, and other health-related databases. Twenty-five studies were identified with a total of 1918 participants. The Pittsburgh sleep quality index was the most commonly used outcome measurement tool, and moderate-intensity walking was the most frequently used intervention. The majority of the included subjects were breast cancer patients. Overall, walking significantly improved sleep disturbance compared to yoga (p = 0.01). Statistically significant moderators included adherence rate for walking (p < 0.001) and allocation concealment and outcome measurement tool for yoga (p = 0.04; p = 0.03). We concluded that walking is more effective than yoga in improving sleep disturbance in cancer patients. Thus, moderate-intensity walking is recommended for cancer patients with sleep disturbance.

Keywords: Cancer patients; Exercise; PSQI; Sleep disturbance.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Walking* / psychology
  • Yoga* / psychology