Researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles studied 112 healthy adults ages 59-86, who were randomly assigned to one of two groups for a 25-week period. The first group practiced 20 simple tai chi chih moves; the other participated in health education classes that included advice on stress management, diet and sleep habits.
At the beginning of the study, participants were asked to rate their sleep based on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, a self-rated questionnaire that assesses sleep quality, duration and disturbances over a one-month interval.
The study, published in the journal Sleep, found 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.
"Poor sleeping constitutes one of the most common difficulties facing older adults," lead study author Dr. Michael Irwin of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA said in a statement.