Improving sleep quality in older adults with moderate sleep complaints: A randomized controlled trial of Tai Chi Chih

Sleep. 2008 Jul;31(7):1001-8.


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.

Clinical trials registration: Identifier: NCT00118885.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / psychology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Tai Ji*

Associated data