Sleep Disorders

23 June 2008

T'ai chi improves sleep

Researchers found that some of the moves in the Western version of t'ai chi - t'ai chi chih - actually allowed study subjects to improve their sleep patterns.

Researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles found that the 19 moves and one pose found in t'ai chi chih - the Western version of the ancient philosophy that combines movements and poses to relieve stress and find spiritual fulfilment - actually allowed study subjects to improve their sleep patterns.

The 112 older adults in the study who ranged in age from 59 to 86 were divided into two groups, one taking t'ai chi chih instruction and the other group taking classes that included stress management, diet and advice on improving sleep patterns.

According to a UCLA news release, the tai chi chih group "showed improved sleep quality and a remission of clinical impairments, such as drowsiness during the day and inability to concentrate, compared with those receiving health education."

"It's [t'ai chi chih] a form of exercise virtually every elderly person can do, and this study provides more across-the-board evidence of its health benefits," said lead study author Dr. Michael Irwin, the Norman Cousins Professor of Psychiatry and Bio-behavioural Sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and director of the UCLA Cousins Centre for Psychoneuroimmunology, in the news release.

The study is available in the online edition of the journal Sleep. – (HealthDay News)

June 2008

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Dr Alison Bentley is a general practitioner who has consulted in sleep medicine and sleep disorders, in both adults and children of all ages, for almost 30 years. She also researches and publishes on a number of sleep-related topics both in formal research journals and lay publications including as editor of Sleep Matters, an educational newsletter on sleep disorders for doctors.

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