The Sleep Quality of the Frontline Healthcare Workers and the Improving Effect of Tai Chi

Author: Jingye Zhan1, Kangdi Yang2, Zhuoer Sun1, Lingling Bai1, Xiaoying Lu3, Xiuhong Wang4, Weizhi Liu1, Chen Yi4, Lina Wang2
1 Lab for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Faculty of Psychology and Mental Health, Naval Medical University, Shanghai, China.
2 Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Naval Medical University, Shanghai, China.
3 Department of Nursing, Changhai Hospital, Naval Medical University, Shanghai, China.
4 Department of Infectious Diseases, Changhai Hospital, Naval Medical University, Shanghai, China.
Conference/Journal: Front Psychiatry
Date published: 2022 May 2
Other: Volume ID: 13 , Pages: 883590 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2022.883590. , Word Count: 240

A number of studies have documented that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) brought more negative impact on the physical and psychological functioning of frontline healthcare workers. Especially, sleep quality was focused. This study aimed to investigate the sleep quality of frontline healthcare workers, risk factors for sleep quality, and the effect of Tai Chi training.

A total of 98 frontline healthcare workers were recruited, coming from the infection department, fever clinic, laboratory, and medical imaging department in a COVID-19-designated hospital in Shanghai. Of them, 50 participated in a 2-week intervention and were randomized to receive a Tai Chi training or relaxation training. Participants were assessed at baseline, 7 and 14 days after participation. Demographic information, sleep quality, and anxiety were measured by using the demographic questionnaire, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI).

13.3% participants were above the cut-off score (>10) for the PSQI. Regression analysis showed gender, age, working years, and job category had effect on sleep quality. Compared to the control group, participants in the Tai Chi training group had lower scores on both PSQI (p < 0.05) and BAI (p < 0.01) after the 2-week intervention.

It was demonstrated that poor sleep quality existed in the frontline healthcare workers, which was related to gender, age, working years, and job category. Tai Chi training can dramatically improve their sleep quality and reduce anxiety symptoms.

Keywords: COVID-19; Tai Chi; anxiety; frontline healthcare workers; sleep quality.

PMID: 35586404 PMCID: PMC9108151 DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2022.883590