Study Shows Midlife Women Have No Sleep Benefits from Yoga and Exercise

Recent research demonstrates yoga and exercise provide no sleep benefits for midlife women who experience hot flashes. After 12 weeks of both cardiac exercise or yoga, participants showed no statistically significant differences in quality and duration of their sleep. Authors of the study noted that scientists have demonstrated statistically significant improvements in sleep quality after introducing aerobic exercise and yoga into an individual’s routine, but these are merely small improvements. While many women report that falling asleep is no trouble for them, staying asleep was a significant issue. Many women report spending nearly an hour trying to fall back asleep, sometimes longer. These findings show that other behavioral treatments, like cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, should be further studied to determine their impact on sleep quality and duration.

Key Points:

  • 1New research shows that aerobic exercise and yoga do not significantly impact the sleep disturbances objectively reported by midlife women who experience hot flashes.
  • 2A randomized control trial was used for secondary analysis of this finding. Researchers found that neither 12 weeks of cardiac exercise nor 12 weeks of yoga showed any statistically significant differences in the objective measures of quality and duration recorded by participants.
  • 3There were no reports of difficulty falling asleep; however, sleep disturbance was a common occurrence at baseline measurements and then remained that way after the interventions. The women reported waking up in the middle of the night for at least 50 minutes, and sometimes longer.

Authors of this study note that prior analyses published in various journals used the same trial to state that aerobic exercise and yoga interventions did show statistically significant improvements in self-reported insomnia severity and sleep quality, albeit small improvements.

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