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Recently, a new study discovered that yoga could very well help to improve the quality of sleep in cancer survivors. This is already an additional benefit aside from the well-known physical and mental health benefits of practicing yoga. Karen M. Mustian, PhD, MPH, of the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York, was the one in charge of testing the theory that yoga could improve the overall quality of sleep among individuals who have been treated for cancer.

There were a significant number of cancer survivors, in the range of 30 to 90 per cent, who had reported on having sleeping problems after completion of surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment. Impaired sleep basically consists of difficulty in falling or staying asleep, waking up too early or excessive daytime napping. As of now, there are quite a few treatment alternatives for such sleeping problems. Some of these include prescription sedative medications, over-the-counter sleep aids, cognitive behavior therapy, which takes a look at how thoughts can influence behavior, and lastly, lifestyle interventions such as exercise.

In this study, a total of four hundred and ten cancer survivors, who suffered from moderate to severe sleep problems, were divided into a standard care group and a standard care plus a four-week yoga program group. For those in the standard care, it involved the basic follow-up care as provided by the individual’s treating oncologist. All of the participants were between two to twenty four months beyond their cancer therapy.

For those in the other group that involves yoga, the Yoga for Cancer Survivors (YOCAS) was being used. This particular method revolves around breathing exercises known as pranayama, sixteen gentle yoga postures called asanas and meditation. The participants in this group attended two 75-minute sessions every week. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index was used to assess each participant’s sleep quality before and after the program.

Based on the results that the researchers gathered, they found out that those individuals who participated in the yoga program had a much more significant improvement to their overall sleep quality as compared to those who were in the standard care group. on an average, they fell asleep quicker by approximately two minutes, slept for a longer period, fell back to sleep much faster (within two minutes) after waking up during the night and had fewer sleep-related problems the next day. For more of the results, you can refer here.

For those who are interested in taking up yoga class in Singapore, do take a look at the various classes we have to offer. At OMG Yoga, we focus on customising and personalising the class towards your needs.

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