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The Effects of a 4-week Vinyasa Yoga Intervention on Sleep and Cardiovascular Health in Adults with Insomnia Symptoms

Cheruka, Caitlin A. and Sherman, Sally A. and Davis, Kelliann K. and Lehrer, H. Matthew and Buysse, Daniel J. and Kline, Christopher E. (2024) The Effects of a 4-week Vinyasa Yoga Intervention on Sleep and Cardiovascular Health in Adults with Insomnia Symptoms. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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INTRODUCTION: Yoga, particularly vinyasa yoga (VY), a form of moderate-intensity physical activity, has the potential to improve sleep and cardiovascular health. However, the effects of VY on sleep have not been examined, and the literature is limited to cardiovascular health and VY.
PURPOSE: To examine the effects of a 4-week VY intervention on sleep and nocturnal heart rate variability (HRV) in adults with insomnia symptoms.
METHODS: 33 adults (female=84.84%; White=78.79%; age=34.91±10.64 y; body mass index=28.86±7.19 kg/m2) with insomnia symptoms (Insomnia Severity Index [ISI] score≥10) were randomized to VY (n=17) or non-active control (CON=16). An initial 60-min experimental session occurred between 15:00 and 20:00 h; VY followed a pre-recorded practice and CON watched a nature documentary. That night participants wore a wrist accelerometer and chest heart rate (HR) monitor and completed a sleep diary. Participants continued into the 4-week intervention; VY practiced 3x/wk and CON maintained current lifestyle. Sleep was assessed using the ISI and 7 nights of actigraphy in conjunction with a sleep diary. Nocturnal HRV was assessed 1 night during sleep assessments; derived from the entire HR recording across the nocturnal period and standardized for sleep duration (root mean square of successive differences [RMSSD] primary outcome). Analyses compared changes from pre- to post-intervention between groups using linear mixed models and Cohen’s d effect sizes.
RESULTS: The change in ISI scores did not differ from baseline to post-intervention for VY (15.18±0.96 to 9.93±1.00) or CON (16.63±0.98 to 13.87±0.98) (p=0.11). Between-group effect size demonstrated a medium-sized (d=-0.70) reduction in ISI favoring VY. Analyses restricted to highly adherent participants showed VY reduced ISI scores greater than CON at post-intervention compared to baseline (p=0.002). Changes in nocturnal RMSSD HRV did not differ at post-intervention for VY or CON (p=0.501). Changes in actigraphy- and diary-assessed sleep and nocturnal RMSSD HRV did not differ from pre- to post-experimental session (each p>0.115).
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that reductions in insomnia symptoms may be most apparent among those who engage in regular VY practice. Additionally, an acute bout of VY in the early evening is unlikely to benefit or impair sleep in adults with insomnia symptoms.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Cheruka, Caitlin A.cac328@pitt.educac3280000-0001-9505-253X
Sherman, Sally
Davis, Kelliann
Lehrer, H.
Buysse, Daniel
Kline, Christopher
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKline, Christopher
Committee MemberSherman, Sally
Committee MemberDavis, Kelliann
Committee MemberLehrer, H.
Committee MemberBuysse, Daniel
Date: 5 January 2024
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 7 August 2023
Approval Date: 5 January 2024
Submission Date: 14 December 2023
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 153
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Health and Physical Activity
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: sleep; yoga; cardiovascular health
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2024 20:24
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2024 20:24


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