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Staying Sharp | Tai Chi and Sleep

Have a sleep problem? A simple tai chi routine may help.

WHEN YOU THINK OF USING MARTIAL ARTS,  it’s usually to wreak havoc among the muscular and the dim-witted—and perhaps any random masked Ninjas out causing trouble. But a new study shows that one particular martial art can also help improve your sleep. Dr. Michael Irwin, the Norman Cousins Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and director of the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, studied a group of 112 healthy, older adults between the ages of 59 and 86, randomly assigning them to two groups. One practiced 20 tai chi moves for 25 weeks, and one took classes in healthy lifestyles, including sleep hygiene, for the same period of time. At the end of the study, published in the scientific journal Sleep in July 2008, the class that performed tai chi reported a significant improvement in the quality of their sleep on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, a self-rated questionnaire. … Back to Article

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