International Journal of Yoga
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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 100-108
Sleep, cognition, and yoga

1 Department of Neurophysiology, Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, DRDO, Delhi, India
2 Department of Pathology, Army College of Medical Sciences, Delhi Cantonment, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA

Correspondence Address:
Usha Panjwani
Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, DRDO, Lucknow Road, Timarpur, Delhi - 110 054
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_110_20

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Stress is one of the major problems globally, associated with poor sleep quality and cognitive dysfunction. Modern society is plagued by sleep disturbances, either due to professional demands or lifestyle or both the aspects, often leading to reduced alertness and compromised mental function, besides the well documented ill effects of disturbed sleep on physiological functions. This pertinent issue needs to be addressed. Yoga is an ancient Indian science, philosophy and way of life. Recently, yoga practice has become increasingly popular worldwide. Yoga practice is an adjunct effective for stress, sleep and associated disorders. There are limited well controlled published studies conducted in this area. We reviewed the available literature including the effect of modern lifestyle in children, adolescents, adults and geriatric population. The role of yoga and meditation in optimizing sleep architecture and cognitive functions leading to optimal brain functioning in normal and diseased state is discussed. We included articles published in English with no fixed time duration for literature search. Literature was searched mainly by using PubMed and Science Direct search engines and critically examined. Studies have revealed positive effects of yoga on sleep and cognitive skills among healthy adults as well as patients of some neurological diseases. Further, on evaluating the published studies, it is concluded that sleep and cognitive functions are optimized by yoga practice, which brings about changes in autonomic function, structural changes, changes in metabolism, neurochemistry and improved functional brain network connectivity in key regions of the brain.

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