Yoga for the Treatment of Sleep Disturbances in Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Thursday, June 2, 2016
Exhibit Hall
Jemima Akinsanya, M.S. , Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, New York, NY
Mary Ann Picone, M.D. , Holy Name Medical Center, Teaneck, NJ
Frederick W Foley, Ph.D. , School of Psychology, Yeshiva University, New York, NY

Background: Although multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that is known to attack the central nervous system, its effects are far reaching. Sleep disturbances, depressed mood, and fatigue are among the most common complaints in patients with MS. Not only are these complaints common, they can cause significant functional limitations and negatively impact mood. Many patients state that pharmacological therapies do not adequately treat their symptoms. Yoga represents a promising approach for improving sleep, mood, and fatigue in patients with multiple sclerosis. However, the number of studies that show the efficacy of yoga in addressing sleep disturbances, mood, and fatigue is limited. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects of guided yoga for the treatment of sleep disturbances over the course of 8 weeks in 30 patients with multiple sclerosis. 

Objectives: To evaluate yoga as a non-pharmacologic treatment for sleep disturbance in patients with MS. To determine if yoga can improve mood and quality of life in patients with MS.

Methods: Thirty volunteer ambulatory MS patients will be randomized to the control (behavioral modification group) or experimental (yoga) group. The experimental group will participate in 8 weeks of a weekly, guided yoga program. At beginning, middle, and end of the study the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale are used to assess fatigue and depression. Jawbone UP3 fitness bands as well as daily patient sleep logs will be utilized to track sleep quality. Participants in the control group will be treated with behavioral modification, via a weekly support group with structured topic.  

Results: The primary hypothesis is that the yoga group will demonstrate greater improvement in sleep metrics than the behavioral modification group.   Secondary hypotheses include the yoga group will improve fatigue, anxiety, and depression more than the control group. 

Conclusions: To Be Published.