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Rev Bras Psiquiatr. 2010 Dec;32(4):437-43.

Mind-body interventions for the treatment of insomnia: a review.

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  • 1Department of Psychobiology, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.



As insomnia is highly prevalent, and side effects of medication are well-known, mind-body interventions are increasingly being sought. The objective of this study is to present a narrative review regarding the effects of mind-body interventions for the treatment of insomnia.


A PubMed search was conducted including only randomized, controlled trials in which the main objective was to treat insomnia.


Twelve studies were selected. In three of the studies, objective parameters (polysomnography) were analyzed. Mind-body interventions were able to improve sleep efficiency and total sleep time. Most can ameliorate sleep quality; some can reduce the use of hypnotic drugs in those who are dependent on these drugs.


According to the studies we selected, self-reported sleep was improved by all mind-body treatments, among them yoga, relaxation, Tai Chi Chih and music. Cognitive behavioral therapy seems to be the most effective mind-body intervention. Cognitive behavioral therapy was the only intervention that showed better results than medication. However, considering that only five of the twelve studies chosen reached a score of 3 in the Jadad scale, new studies with a higher methodological quality have to be conducted especially in mind-body interventions that belong to the complementary or alternative medicine field.

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