Background: The prevalence of insomnia increases with age. Chamomile is among the medicinal plants which are used as tranquilizer. Yet, there is inadequate experimental and clinical evidence regarding its hypnotic effects. This study sought to evaluate the effects of chamomile extract on sleep quality among elderly people.
Design: A single-blind randomized controlled trial was performed.
Setting: A convenient sample of sixty elderly people who aged sixty or more and lived in Kahrizak day care nursing home, Karaj, Iran, were randomly allocated to a control and a treatment group. The treatment group received chamomile extract capsules (200mg) twice a day for 28 consecutive days while the control group received wheat flour capsules (200mg) in the same manner. Using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, sleep quality was assessed immediately before, two weeks after beginning, immediately after the completion, and two weeks after the completion of the intervention. The data were analyzed via the independent-sample t, Chi-square, and Fisher's exact tests as well as the repeated measures analysis of variance.
Results: The means of age in the control and the treatment groups were 70.73±6.44 and 69.36±4.99, respectively. Except for the habitual sleep efficiency component of the Sleep Quality Index, the study groups did not differ significantly from each other at baseline regarding the scores of the other components of the index. Moreover, at baseline, sleep quality in both groups was low, with no statistically significant between-group difference (P=0.639). However, after the intervention, sleep quality in the treatment group was significantly better than the control group (P<0.05).
Conclusion: The use of chamomile extract can significantly improve sleep quality among elderly people. Thus, it can be used as a safe modality for promoting elderly people's sleep.
Keywords: Chamomile; Complementary therapy; Elderly people; Sleep quality.
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