The Effect of Tai Chi on Sleep Quality and Sleep Disorders: A Systematic Review




Baker, Joshua
Liu, Howe
Salem, Yasser


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Purpose: To identify the effects of Tai Chi (TC) on sleep quality in older adults with or without a medical condition. Methods: Tai Chi, Tai Ji, insomnia, sleep disorder, and sleep problem were used to search for articles in peer-reviewed, English journals from the last 15 within the following databases: PubMed, Medline, and Scopus. Studies that met the initial criteria included subjects older than 18 with a sleeping disorder and included Tai Chi as one of the interventions. Two hundred and ten articles met the initial selection criteria and were further scanned and discussed as needed by 3 reviewers. Following review, 16 studies were qualified. Results: Sleep quality was improved as measured by the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) in 14 studies and by the Spiegel Sleep Questionnaire (SSQ) in 1 study in adults without medical conditions, or for those with cancer, sleep apnea, depression, or insomnia. Also, fatigue and quality of life were found to be improved in 4 studies as evaluated by the Brief Fatigue Inventory (BFI) and SF-12 or SF-26. Further, one study investigated the effect of Tai Chi on inflammatory biomarkers in patients with insomnia due to breast cancer and revealed significant inhibition of pro-inflammatory cytokines. The most commonly used TC parameters were 60 minutes per session, 2-7 times per week, with a duration between 3-6 months. Conclusions: TC is an effective program for improving sleep quality in individuals with or without a medical condition.