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Walking Improves Sleep in Individuals With Cancer: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized, Controlled Trials

Hsiao-Yean Chiu
Hui-Chuan Huang
Pin-Yuan Chen
Wen-Hsuan Hou
Pei-Shan Tsai
ONF 2015, 42(2), E54-E62 DOI: 10.1188/15.ONF.E54-E62

Purpose/Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of walking exercise on sleep in people with cancer.

Data Sources: Databases searched included China Knowledge Resource Integrated Database, CINAHL®, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EMBASE, PsycINFO®, PubMed, Wanfang Data, and Web of Science.

Data Synthesis: Nine randomized, controlled trials involving 599 patients were included. Most of the studies used moderate-intensity walking exercise. Overall, walking exercise significantly improved sleep in people with cancer (Hedges’ g = –0.52). Moderator analyses showed that walking exercise alone and walking exercise combined with other forms of interventions yielded comparable effects on sleep improvement, and that the effect size did not differ among participants who were at different stages of cancer. The effect sizes for studies involving individuals with breast cancer and for studies including individuals with other types of cancer were similar.

Conclusions: Moderate-intensity walking exercise is effective in improving sleep in individuals with cancer.

Implications for Nursing: The authors’ findings support the inclusion of walking exercise into the multimodal approaches to managing sleep in people with cancer. Healthcare providers must convey the benefits of walking exercise to individuals with cancer who are suffering from sleep problems.

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