Yoga as Treatment for Insomnia Among Cancer Patients and Survivors: A Systematic Review - European Medical Journal

Yoga as Treatment for Insomnia Among Cancer Patients and Survivors: A Systematic Review

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Karen M. Mustian

No potential conflict of interest.


Funding was provided by NCI U10CA037420, K07CA120025.

EMJ Oncol. ;1[1]:106-115. DOI/10.33590/emjoncol/10311931.
Yoga, sleep, insomnia, cancer, survivorship, exercise

Each article is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 4.0 License.


Between 15-90% of cancer patients and survivors report some form of insomnia or sleep quality impairment during and post-treatment, such as excessive daytime napping, difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, and waking up too early. Insomnia and sleep quality impairment are among the most prevalent and distressing problems reported by cancer patients and survivors, and can be severe enough to increase cancer mortality. Despite the ubiquity of insomnia and sleep quality impairment, they are under-diagnosed and under-treated in cancer patients and survivors. When sleep problems are present, providers and patients are often hesitant to prescribe or take pharmaceuticals for sleep problems due to polypharmacy concerns, and cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia can be very difficult and impractical for patients to adhere to throughout the cancer experience. Research suggests yoga is a well-tolerated exercise intervention with promising evidence for its efficacy in improving insomnia and sleep quality impairment among survivors. This article provides a systematic review of existing clinical research on the effectiveness of yoga for treating insomnia and sleep quality impairment among cancer patients and survivors.

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