Sunday, May 23, 2010

Yoga can help cancer survivors sleep, study says

Sleepless nights are common for cancer survivors. 30-50 percent of people who battled cancer have symptoms of insomnia months or even years after chemotherapy or radiation treatment.

Yoga may be useful to help cancer survivors get back to sleep, according to a study released by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

The study involved 410 cancer survivors, mostly women, who were treated in the last two years and have complained of sleep problems for at least two months. 75 percent of the subjects were recovering from breast cancer.

The participants were evenly split into two groups. Half went to low-intensity yoga sessions twice a week. Both groups also received the standard treatment for cancer survivors.

After a month, 31 percent of the cancer survivors who did yoga reported no problems sleeping. Only 16 percent of the control group said they were sleeping soundly.

Yoga participants reported substantially reduced fatigue and daytime sleepiness, along with a 20 percent reduction in sleep medication intake. People in the control group actually increased their use of sleep medications.

Researchers said it’s not clear why sleep problems improved for the yoga participants.

The results support the notion that yoga improves the quality of life for cancer survivors. Many of the top cancer hospitals in the U.S. already have yoga programs.

Hath and restorative yoga classes usually include breathing exercises, meditation and a variety of poses.

With practice, yoga can help reduce the stress that hinders sleep for non-cancer survivors.

Click here for a video demonstrating bedtime yoga moves that can help you sleep.

The AASM recommends cognitive behavioral therapy for breast cancer survivors with insomnia. The therapy helps patients develop habits that promote healthy sleep patterns by changing actions and thoughts that hurt their ability to sleep well.

Learn about insomnia due to medical condition on Get help for a sleep problem at an AASM-accredited sleep center near you.
Image courtesy myyogaonline

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