Aim: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of chamomile tea on sleep quality, fatigue and depression in postpartum women.
Background: Sleep quality is a significant issue for postnatal women. Chamomile is widely used as a folk remedy for its presumed sedative-hypnotic effects.
Design: A pretest-post-test randomized controlled trial was used.
Methods: A total of 80 Taiwanese postnatal women with poor sleep quality (Postpartum Sleep Quality Scale; PSQS score ≧16) were recruited from November 2012-August 2013. They were systematically assigned, with a random start, to either the experimental group (n = 40) or the control group (n = 40). The participants in the experimental group were instructed to drink chamomile tea for a period of 2 weeks. The participants in the control group received regular postpartum care only. The PSQS, Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, and Postpartum Fatigue Scale were used to assess outcomes. Two-sample t-tests were used to examine the mean differences in outcome variables between the two groups.
Results: Compared with the control group, the experimental group demonstrated significantly lower scores of physical-symptoms-related sleep inefficiency (t = -2·482, P = 0·015) and the symptoms of depression (t = -2·372, P = 0·020). However, the scores for all three instruments were similar for both groups at 4-week post-test, suggesting that the positive effects of chamomile tea were limited to the immediate term.
Conclusion: Chamomile tea may be recommended to postpartum women as a supplementary approach to alleviating depression and sleep quality problems.
Keywords: chamomile tea; clinical trial; complementary therapy; depression; fatigue; nursing; randomized controlled trial; sleep quality; women's health.
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.