Yoga in Menopause May Help Insomnia – But Not Hot Flashes

yoga lotus meditationWhat You Need to Know: Taking a 12-week yoga class and practicing at home was linked to less insomnia, but not to fewer or less bothersome hot flashes or night sweats. This association of yoga and better sleep was the only statistically significant finding in the MsFLASH (Menopause Strategies: Finding Lasting Answers for Symptoms and Health) Network randomized controlled trial.

Background: Hormone therapy is the only treatment approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the management of hot flashes and night sweats, and fewer women are opting for hormone therapy recently. In this context, the MsFLASH tried to see whether three more natural approaches – yoga, exercise, or fish oil – might help. The study assigned 249 healthy, previously sedentary women at multiple sites (including Group Health Medical Center, USA) to do yoga, a moderate aerobic exercise program, or neither – and to take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement or a placebo.

The Results: Exercise slightly improved sleep and (to a lesser degree) insomnia and depression, but these effects were not statistically significant. The omega-3 fatty acid did not help with any of the symptoms under study. Yoga was linked to better sleep.

I’m Dr. Michael Hunter, and (even though I am not menopausal), I really should think about doing yoga for health!

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

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Reference: Newton KM, et al. Efficacy of yoga for vasomotor symptoms: a randomized controlled trial. Menopause, September 2013.

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Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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