Short-Term Benefits to Sleep Quality With Tibetan Yoga Program During Chemotherapy

HealthDay News — Participation in a Tibetan yoga program (TYP) during chemotherapy results in modest, short-term benefits in sleep quality, with long-term benefits seen over time for those who practice at least 2 times a week, according to a study published online in Cancer.

Alejandro Chaoul, PhD, from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues randomized women with breast cancer (stage I to III) who were undergoing chemotherapy to TYP (74 women), stretching program (STP; 68 women), or usual care (85 women). Interventions included 4 sessions during chemotherapy, followed by 3 booster sessions over the subsequent 6 months.

The researchers found that there were no group differences in total sleep disturbances or fatigue levels over time. However, at 1 week after treatment, patients in the TYP group reported fewer daily disturbances versus those in the STP (P =.03) and usual-care (P =.02) groups. At other time points, group differences were maintained for TYP versus STP. Patients in the STP group had greater minutes awake after sleep onset 1 week after treatment versus those in the TYP (P =.0003) and usual-care (P =.0002) groups. Better Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and actigraphy outcomes were seen at 3 and 6 months after treatment in patients in the TYP group who practiced at least 2 times a week during the follow-up period, compared with those who did not and versus the usual-care group.

“Participating in TYP during chemotherapy resulted in modest short-term benefits in sleep quality, with long-term benefits emerging over time for those who practiced TYP at least 2 times a week,” the authors write.

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Chaoul A, Milbury K, Spelman A, et al. Randomized trial of Tibetan yoga in patients with breast cancer undegoing chemotherapy [published online September 20, 2017]. Cancer. doi:10.1002/cncr.30938