Tai Chi a good sleep strategy

THE PULSE: Compiled by Dr Christine White | June 28, 2008

CHINESE martial arts could help overcome insomnia in older adults, finds a new study in Sleep.

The study involved 112 healthy adults aged 59 to 86 randomly assigned to one of two groups for a 25-week period. One group practised 20 simple moves of tai chi chi -- the "westernised" version of the ancient art -- while the other group participated in health education classes covering sleep habits, diet and stress management.

At the start of the study, 58 per cent of participants reported having difficulty sleeping at least a few nights each week. After 25 weeks, the tai chi chi group reported significantly improved sleep quality and duration compared with those receiving health education. The slow, gentle movements of tai chi chi make it an attractive exercise option, say the authors.

Sleep - 2008;31 (Irwin M, et al)