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Improving Sleep Quality in Older Adults with Moderate Sleep Complaints: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Tai Chi Chih

Improving Sleep Quality in Older Adults with Moderate Sleep Complaints: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Tai Chi Chih

 

Michael R. Irwin, MD, Richard Olmstead, PhD, and Sarosh J. Motivala, PhD

University of California, Los Angeles Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, Los Angeles, California

Address correspondence to: Michael R. Irwin, MD,Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience, 300 UCLA Medical Plaza, Room 3130, Los Angeles, CA 90095-7076, Email: mirwin1@ucla.edu

 

Sleep. 2008 July 1; 31(7): 10011008.

 

Study Objectives:

To determine the efficacy of a novel behavioral intervention, Tai Chi Chih, to promote sleep quality in older adults with moderate sleep complaints.

 

Design:

Randomized controlled trial with 16 weeks of teaching followed by practice and assessment 9 weeks later. The main outcome measure was sleep quality, as assessed by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI).

 

Setting:

General community at 2 sites in the US between 2001 and 2005.

 

Participants:

Volunteer sample of 112 healthy older adults, aged 59 to 86 years.

 

Intervention:

Random allocation to Tai Chi Chih or health education for 25 weeks.

 

Results:

Among adults with moderate sleep complaints, as defined by PSQI global score of 5 or greater, subjects in the Tai Chi Chih condition were more likely to achieve a treatment response, as defined by PSQI less than 5, compared to those in health education (P < 0.05). Subjects in the Tai Chi Chih condition with poor sleep quality also showed significant improvements in PSQI global score (P < 0.001) as well as in the sleep parameters of rated sleep quality (P < 0.05), habitual sleep efficiency (P < 0.05), sleep duration (P < 0.01), and sleep disturbance (P < 0.01).

 

Conclusions:

Tai Chi Chih can be considered a useful nonpharmacologic approach to improve sleep quality in older adults with moderate complaints and, thereby, has the potential to ameliorate sleep complaints possibly before syndromal insomnia develops.

 


 
 

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