ElderlyHeart DiseaseSleep (Insomnia)Tai Chi

Using Tai Chi to improve sleep in older adults

Researchers from the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology in Los Angeles report tai chi chih improves sleep quality in older adults.

First, the details.

  • 112 healthy older adults with moderate sleep complaints (as defined by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index [PSQI] global score of 5 or greater) were randomly assigned to tai chi chih or health education.
  • There were 16 weeks of teaching followed by practice and assessment 9 weeks later.

And, the results.

  • Adults in the tai chi chih group were significantly more likely to achieve a treatment response, as defined by PSQI less than 5, compared to the health education group.
  • Those in the tai chi chih group with poor sleep quality also showed significant improvements in PSQI global score, sleep quality, habitual sleep efficiency, sleep duration, and sleep disturbance.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded that tai chi has the potential to improve sleep complaints possibly before syndromal insomnia (greater than 6 months) develops.

The importance of all this is that epidemiological data implicate insomnia as a predictor of death due to cardiovascular and noncardiovascular disease, particularly in community elderly populations, according to Dr. Mark Opp and colleagues in the textbook, Psychoneuroimmunology.

7/27/08 15:51 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.