The effects of Tai Chi exercise on sleep quality among the elderly: a study based on polysomnographic monitoring

Author: Chao Wang1,2, Tao Jiang3, Hansen Li1, Guikang Cao4, Guodong Zhang1,5
1 Institute of Sports Science, College of Physical Education, Southwest University, Chongqing, China.
2 Youth League Committee of Hotan Normal College, HeTian Normal College, Hetian, China.
3 Physical Education Department, Mianyang High School, Mianyang, China.
4 Department of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing, China.
5 International College, Krirk University, Bangkok, Thailand.
Conference/Journal: Front Neurol
Date published: 2024 Mar 8
Other: Volume ID: 15 , Pages: 1304463 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3389/fneur.2024.1304463. , Word Count: 279

Sleep disorders contribute to an increased risk of depression, cardiovascular issues, and various other diseases among older individuals. Consequently, enhancing the sleep quality of this demographic population has become a pressing concern. The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of an 8-week Tai Chi exercise intervention in the sleep quality of older adults.

Sixty individuals aged 60 years and above, recruited from the community around Southwest University in Beibei District, Chongqing City, were randomly assigned to either a control group (30 participants) or an intervention group (30 participants). The control group adhered to their normal daily routines during the 8-week experimental period, while the intervention group engaged in a 60-min Tai Chi practice three times a week for 8 weeks. Sleep quality was assessed using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS). Additionally, the Polysomnographic Sleep Quality Monitoring System (PSG) was employed to monitor the sleep process before and after the Tai Chi intervention.

After the experiment, significant differences were observed in PSQI and IEI scores between the intervention and control groups (p < 0.05). In the experimental group, the pre-post comparisons revealed a significant increase in time spent in bed (p < 0.05), total sleep time (p < 0.05), and non-REM sleep stage 2 (p < 0.05).

The findings indicate that Tai Chi exercise may improve subjective reported sleep quality. In addition, Tai Chi exercise may alleviate general drowsiness, extend sleep duration, and optimize the sleep process and structure. Consequently, Tai Chi exercise may be a suitable exercise to improve sleep quality in older individuals.

Keywords: Tai Chi; polysomnography; sleep disorders; sleep quality; the elderly.

PMID: 38523606 PMCID: PMC10957755 DOI: 10.3389/fneur.2024.1304463