Yoga has many health benefits as it relaxes and helps reduce stress, both of which impact on our hormones. Now, a study has found it can also help with sleep issues.
How can yoga help you sleep?
A natural approach is favoured by many to help them sleep so avoiding medication through a practice such as yoga might be the answer that is needed. The study results came from Menopause Strategies: Finding Lasting Answers for Symptoms and Health and they found that taking a 12-week yoga class and practicing at home was linked to less insomnia.
“Many women suffer from insomnia during menopause, and it’s good to know that yoga may help them. Hormone therapy is the only Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment for hot flashes and night sweats, and fewer women are opting for hormone therapy these days.,” said lead author Katherine Newton, PhD, a senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute.
Sadly she is right and hormone therapy means HRT and not the bioidentical hormones which many women have found beneficial. Although recent recommendations want to extend HRT to perimenopausal women, the numbers who are opting for this treatment are declining overall as women look for a different solution for their symptoms.
The study results
This study was looking to see whether three more “natural” approaches — yoga, exercise, or fish oil — might help ease these menopause symptoms but yoga was the only one they found effective.
If they had studied bioidentica hormones it might have been a different story as the impact of progesterone on sleep is well documented, but sadly it does not seem to be a popular research subject!
The study assigned 249 healthy, previously sedentary women to do yoga, a moderate aerobic exercise programme, or neither — and to take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement or a placebo.
Exercise seemed linked to slightly improved sleep and less insomnia and depression, and yoga also was linked to better sleep quality and less depression. The omega-3 supplement was not linked to any improvement in hot flashes, night sweats, sleep, or mood.
Sleep is definitely an issue at menopause, what with hot flushes, needing to go to the loo in the night, and the many other concerns that can disturb your sleep as your stress levels rise.
Progesterone certainly helps with sleep as it is a relaxant, but these other ideas might help too.