Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Effects of Yoga Intervention on Sleep and Quality-of-Life in Elderly: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Effects of Yoga Intervention on Sleep and Quality-of-Life in Elderly: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Article excerpt

Byline: V. Hariprasad, P. Sivakumar, V. Koparde, S. Varambally, J. Thirthalli, M. Varghese, I. Basavaraddi, B. Gangadhar

Context: Yoga as a life-style practice has demonstrated beneficial effects. The role of yoga in the elderly for such benefits merits investigation. Aims: The aim of this study is to examine the effects of yoga intervention on quality-of-life (QOL) and sleep quality in the elderly living in old age homes. Settings and Design: Single blind controlled study with block randomization of elderly homes. Materials and Methods: A total of 120 subjects from nine elderly homes were randomized in to yoga group (n=62) and waitlist group (n=58). Subjects in the yoga group were given yoga intervention daily for 1 month and weekly until 3 months and were encouraged to practice yoga without supervision until for 6 months. Subjects in waitlist group received no intervention during this period. Subjects were evaluated with World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL)-BREF for measuring QOL and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index for sleep quality in the baseline and after 6 months. Statistical Analysis: Independent t-test and repeated measures analysis of covariance respectively was used to measure the difference in outcome measures between the two groups at baseline and after the study period. Results: Subjects in the yoga group had significantly higher number of years of formal education. Subjects in the yoga group had significant improvement in all the domains of QOL and total sleep quality after controlling for the effect of baseline difference in education between the two groups. Conclusion: Yoga intervention appears to improve the QOL and sleep quality of elderly living in old age homes. There is a need for further studies overcoming the limitations in this study to confirm the benefits of yoga for elderly in QOL and sleep quality.


Developing countries such as China, India and Indonesia are projected to have the largest number of elderly by 2025. The elderly population in India is expected to grow from 7.6 million in 2001 to 137 million by 2021. Even within the elderly population, people over 80 years of age are increasing rapidly, posing great demands on the health-care services in the coming years. [sup][1]

Ageing is associated with multiple medical conditions mainly due to deteriorating physiological reserves and impaired immune mechanisms. Epidemiological and population ageing studies report that chronic, non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, ischemic heart disease and arthritis are integral part of ageing. [sup][1] Multiple health complaints especially pain, fatigue and mobility impairment were reported to predict low quality-of-life (QOL) and especially health related QOL in older adults leading to higher risk of dependency. [sup][2] Epidemiological studies have reported high prevalence of psychiatric disorders such as depression and dementia in elderly ranging from 9% to 35%. Further, increasing age as well as the presence of multiple chronic medical illnesses especially diabetes, vascular risk factors, physical frailty and chronic distress increase the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI is a transitional state between normal aging and dementia. [sup][3] Many elderly individuals may have subsyndromal depressive symptoms and MCI, which can have an adverse impact on the QOL.

Sleep disturbance is another commonly reported problem in elderly. Sleep disturbances can affect daytime function in elderly and have a significant negative effect on the QOL. High prevalence of excessive day-time sleepiness, insomnia, night time awakenings, snoring, restlessness and periodic leg movements during sleep are reported in elderly. These sleep disturbances were strongly associated with respiratory symptoms, physical disabilities, use of non-prescription medications, depressive and anxiety symptoms, cognitive dysfunction and poorer self-perceived health. …

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