• Users Online: 55
  • Print this page
  • Email this page

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 29-33

Yoga as remedy for insomnia- A review

Siddha Regional Research Institute (Central Council for Research in Siddha), Trivandrum695012, India

Date of Web Publication11-Oct-2021

Correspondence Address:
K S Maanickha Chelvi
Siddha Regional Research Institute (Central Council for Research in Siddha), Trivandrum695012
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

Rights and PermissionsRights and Permissions

Today’s corporate culture has brought in many illnesses, stress related ailments among which insomnia is being very common. Insomnia is commonest cause for all mental related health problems. Insomniadirectlyaffected work performance, both in the office and at home. Objectives: Reviewing the-Randomized control trials(RCT) and preclinical study trials of Yoga intervention (Classical yoga session, YOCAS, Patanjali from VYASA and Integrated types) forinsomnia. To observe the effect of Yoga in the improving the sleep, decreasing the disease condition and any other changes in the Quality of life, by using the following assessment tools; Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Actigraphy and Turkish Version of Nottingham Health Profile. Results: Most of the trials (RCT and Preclinical study),Yoga intervention improved the sleep quality, compared to control groups assessed by Turkish Version of Nottingham Health Profile,Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and Actigraphy. The review paper includes the trial conducted among the adolescents, post-menopausal women and cancer patients. In post-menopausal group women, Yoga played significant changes in climacteric symptoms and insomnia severity and higher scores for quality of life and resistance phase of stress in cancer patients.

Keywords: Cancer, Insomnia, Post-menopausal women, Yoga therapy

How to cite this article:
Maanickha Chelvi K S, Kanagarajan A. Yoga as remedy for insomnia- A review. J Res Siddha Med 2019;2, Suppl S1:29-33

How to cite this URL:
Maanickha Chelvi K S, Kanagarajan A. Yoga as remedy for insomnia- A review. J Res Siddha Med [serial online] 2019 [cited 2022 May 24];2, Suppl S1:29-33. Available from: http://www.jrsm.com/text.asp?2019/2/3/29/328047

  1. Introduction Top

Yoga is part of the Astangayogam, eight limbs to attain salvation. Yoga is the process by which the embodied spirit made to become one with the universal spirit. Yoga is not merely a set of Yogasanam or Pranayama or Meditation; but it is an art and science of Holistic Living consisting of a Holistic Value system featured by health and wealth, bliss and poise, harmony and efficiency. Yoga is a technique for balancing the mind through mastery over the mind. Yoga treats the person at five levels i.e. physical, vital energy, mental, intellectual and spiritual levels.[1] Yoga is the science, which raises the capacity of the human mind to respond to higher vibrations and to perceive, catch and assimilate the infinite conscious movements going on around us in the Universe. Yoga is restraining the mind from taking various forms. Yoga helps us to cleanse out mind and to get back to its natural pure state.

Various types of Yoga practiced for different purposes; they are:

  1. Bhakti yoga(Yoga of devotion)
  2. Karma yoga(Yoga of duty or action)
  3. Gnana yoga(Yoga of knowledge)
  4. Raja yoga (Yoga of bodily performances)

The final goal or general purpose of all the above varieties of yoga was the same. This goal was liberation from the cycle of rebirths, called mukti or kaivalya. The purposes of the four varieties of yoga in daily life are not the same.

1.1 Gnana yoga

Evolved by Thirumoolar and Patanjali involved techniques for purifying the mind by removing impurities through the eight-fold practice. These include,

Iyamaniyamamaeyennilaaathanam Nayamurum pranayamam prathiyakaram Sayamigutharanaidhyanam samadhi Ayamuruattangamaavathumamae.

  1. Iyamam or abstinence/ discipline.
  2. Niyamam or observances.
  3. Asanam or postures.
  4. Pranayamam(Sara payirchi/ vayutharanai)
  5. Prathiakaram or sense-withdrawal.
  6. Dharanaior concentration.
  7. Dhyanamor contemplation
  8. Samadhi or Ecstasy or super conscious state.

The above eight- fold path leads to self- realization (Athma Dharisanam).

1.2 Insomnia

Insomnia is a common disorder with a prevalence of 10 to 48% in the general population. In South India, 18.6% of common public reported insomnia. [3],[4] It is usually associated with psychiatric disorders, particularly depression and having a direct proportion.Insomnia has been noted as a starting symptom of depression,thereafter it is the symptom that continues even after treatment in depression. Treatment of the insomnia is of paramount importance as insomnia is found to be the predictor of future episodes of depression across a number of studies.

Insomnia is defined in the fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as difficulty in getting to sleep, staying asleep or having non-restorative sleep despite having adequate opportunity for sleep, together with associated impairment of daytime functioning, with symptoms being present for at least 4 weeks.[5] Insomnia is associated with substantial impairment in an individual’s quality of life, influencing health, work and healthcare cost. Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty in falling and/or staying asleep.

1.2.1 Types of Insomnia

There are two types of insomnia: primary insomnia and secondary insomnia, the latter being associated with other health problems.

1.2.2 Symptoms of Insomnia

Sleepiness during the day, general tiredness, irritability, difficulty falling asleep, waking up too early in the morning.

2. Yoga interventions for insomnia in various clinical types

The insomnia mostly occurred from disturbance of mind, which is result of physical and environmental stress.The yoga therapy is balancing the mind through daily practice. The insomnia trials conductedin cancer survivors, osteo arthritis, post-menopausal women and pregnant women are listed in [Table 1].
Table 1: Trials treating insomnia in various patients

Click here to view

  3. Results and Discussion Top

Majority of the participants in the yoga therapy clinical trial mentioned in above list exhibit moderate to significant improvements in patient-reported outcomes of insomnia. The sleep quality impairment and quality of life after waking up also significantly increased. Intervention of Yoga therapy with active therapy in some trials of cancer patients, as post adjuvant therapy in some trials. These trials vast diverse with number of Yoga classes varying from 1-5 sessions per week and duration also varying from 60-120 minutes. There was also a very wide range regarding the duration of the intervention, with some studies lasting only 4 weeks and others lasting as long as 26 weeks. There is difference in types of Yoga, yoga postures, pranayamam addition in the studies. Despite of the use of the various types of Yoga sessions, above studies results Yoga intervention is safe, feasible, acceptable within cancer patients, osteoarthritis patients and other psychologically ill people. Also, in insomnia in pregnant women showed significant improvement. [18] Yoga therapy was preferred by most of the cancer survivors.

In addition, trials are also needed to the care givers of Cancer patients like spouse, siblings, son/daughter and friend who give the unpaid care for the cancer survivors throughout their life span along with own health. So, care providers will have greater benefits. Trials show yoga to be a low cost- effective therapeutic intervention.

  4. Conclusion Top

Yoga therapy is working on the physical as well as mind (Manomayakosam), so the intervention works well in the insomnia patients. Therefore, in the upcoming years, addition of yoga to conventional medicine will improve the patient’s quality of sleep and quality of life. Further trials also needed to reinforce active and adjuvant therapy in insomnia.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST No conflicts declared

ACKNOWLEDGMENT The authors are grateful to Prof. Dr. K. Kanakavalli, Director General, Central Council for Research in Siddha to carry out the work.

  References Top

Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR. Integrated approach of yoga therapy for positive health. 5th ed. Bangalore: SVYP; 2003.  Back to cited text no. 1
Thiagarajan R,Siddha Maruthuvam- Sirappu, Directorate of Indian medicine, Chennai; 2012. p:109.  Back to cited text no. 2
Ustun TB, Privett M, Lecrubier Y et al., Form, frequency and burden of sleep problem in general health care: a report from the WHO collaborative study on psychological problem in general health care. Eur Psychiatry 1996;11:5S-10S.  Back to cited text no. 3
Ohayon MM. Epidemiology of insomnia: what we know and what we still need to learn. Sleep Med Rev 2002;6:97-111.  Back to cited text no. 4
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, Va: American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013.  Back to cited text no. 5
Ulger O, Yagli NV. Effects of yoga on the quality of life in cancer patients. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2010;16(2):60-3.  Back to cited text no. 6
Cohen L, Warneke C, Fouladi RT, Rodriguez MA, Chaoul-Reich A. Psychological adjustment and sleep quality in a randomized trial of the effects of a Tibetan yoga intervention in patients with lymphoma. Cancer 2004;100:2253-60.  Back to cited text no. 7
Danhauer SC, Mihalko SL, Russell GB, et al.,Restorative yoga for women with breast cancer: findings from a randomized pilot study. Psychooncology 2009;18:360-8.  Back to cited text no. 8
Carson JW, Carson KM, Porter LS, Keefe FJ, Seewaldt VL. Yoga of Awareness program for menopausal symptoms in breast cancer survivors: results from a randomized trial. Supportive care in cancer: official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer. 2009;17:1301-9.  Back to cited text no. 9
Vadiraja SH, Rao MR, Nagendra RH, et al., Effects of yoga on symptom management in breast cancer patients: A randomized controlled trial. Int J Yoga 2009;2:73-9  Back to cited text no. 10
Chandwani KD, Thornton B, Perkins GH, et al., Yoga improves quality of life and benefit finding in women undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer. JSIO 2010;8:43-55.  Back to cited text no. 11
Dhruva A, Miaskowski C, Abrams D, et al., Yoga breathing for cancer chemotherapy-associated symptoms and quality of life: results of a pilot randomized controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med2012;18:473-9.  Back to cited text no. 12
Cadmus-Bertram L, Littman AJ, Ulrich CM, et al., Predictors of adherence to a 26-week viniyoga intervention among post-treatment breast cancer survivors. J Alt ComplementMed 2013;19:751-8.  Back to cited text no. 13
Mustian KM, Sprod LK, Janelsins M, et al.,Multicenter, randomized controlled trial of yoga for sleep quality among cancer survivors. J Clin Oncol: Official Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2013;31:3233-41.  Back to cited text no. 14
Afonso, Rui Ferreira, Hachul, Helena, Kozasaet al., Yoga decreases insomnia in postmenopausal women: a randomized clinical trialMenopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society 2012;19(2):186-93.  Back to cited text no. 15
Sobana R, Parthasarathy S, Duraisamy, JaiganeshK, VadivelS. The Effect of Yoga Therapy on Selected Psychological Variables among Male Patients with InsomniaJ Clin Diagn Res 2013; 7(1): 55-7.  Back to cited text no. 16
Khalsa SB. Treatment of chronic insomnia with yoga: a preliminary study with sleep-wake diaries. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 2004;29(4):269-78.  Back to cited text no. 17
Beddoe AE, Lee KA, Weiss SJ, Kennedy HP, Yang CP. Effects of mindful yoga on sleep in pregnant women: a pilot study. Biol Res Nurs 2010; 11(4):363-70.  Back to cited text no. 18


  [Table 1]


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

  In this article
1. Introduction
3. Results and D...
4. Conclusion
Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded33    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal