The effect of yoga on sleep quality and insomnia in women with sleep problems: a systematic review and meta-analysis

BMC Psychiatry. 2020 May 1;20(1):195. doi: 10.1186/s12888-020-02566-4.


Background: To examine the effectiveness and safety of yoga of women with sleep problems by performing a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Methods: Medline/PubMed, ClinicalKey, ScienceDirect, Embase, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Library were searched throughout the month of June, 2019. Randomized controlled trials comparing yoga groups with control groups in women with sleep problems were included. Two reviewers independently evaluated risk of bias by using the risk of bias tool suggested by the Cochrane Collaboration for programming and conducting systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The main outcome measure was sleep quality or the severity of insomnia, which was measured using subjective instruments, such as the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), or objective instruments such as polysomnography, actigraphy, and safety of the intervention. For each outcome, a standardized mean difference (SMD) and confidence intervals (CIs) of 95% were determined.

Results: Nineteen studies in this systematic review included 1832 participants. The meta-analysis of the combined data conducted according to Comprehensive Meta-Analysis showed a significant improvement in sleep (SMD = - 0.327, 95% CI = - 0.506 to - 0.148, P < 0.001). Meta-analyses revealed positive effects of yoga using PSQI scores in 16 randomized control trials (RCTs), compared with the control group in improving sleep quality among women using PSQI (SMD = - 0.54; 95% CI = - 0.89 to - 0.19; P = 0.003). However, three RCTs revealed no effects of yoga compared to the control group in reducing insomnia among women using ISI (SMD = - 0.13; 95% CI = - 0.74 to 0.48; P = 0.69). Seven RCTs revealed no evidence for effects of yoga compared with the control group in improving sleep quality for women with breast cancer using PSQI (SMD = - 0.15; 95% CI = - 0.31 to 0.01; P = 0.5). Four RCTs revealed no evidence for the effects of yoga compared with the control group in improving the sleep quality for peri/postmenopausal women using PSQI (SMD = - 0.31; 95% CI = - 0.95 to 0.33; P = 0.34). Yoga was not associated with any serious adverse events.

Discussion: This systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrated that yoga intervention in women can be beneficial when compared to non-active control conditions in term of managing sleep problems. The moderator analyses suggest that participants in the non-breast cancer subgroup and participants in the non-peri/postmenopausal subgroup were associated with greater benefits, with a direct correlation of total class time with quality of sleep among other related benefits.

Keywords: Complementary and alternative medicine; Insomnia; Meta-analysis; Review; Sleep quality; Women; Yoga.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Recreation
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / psychology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / therapy*
  • Yoga*