Researchers from University of California have found that Ancient Chinese martial arts tai chi chih could be helpful with restless nights.

More than half of all older adults complain about having difficulties sleeping. The Chinese martial art was found to promote sleep quality in those people with moderate sleep complaints.

A team of researchers looked at 112 healthy adults between 59-86 years randomly assigning them to one of two groups for a 25-week period. The first group practiced 20 simple tai chi chih moves while the other group took part in health education classes that included advice on stress management diet and sleep habits.

Participants were rating their sleep based on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, a self-rated questionnaire that assesses sleep quality, duration and disturbances over a one-month time interval. The tai chi chih group had improvement in sleep quality and in remission of clinical impairments, such as drowsiness during the day and inability to concentrate.

Poor sleeping makes one of the most common problems among older adults.
Around 58% of adults age 59 and older report having difficulty sleeping at least a few nights each week. The problem is that these sleep problems remain untreated in up to 85 % of people while those who do receive a treatment get a sedative.

The thing with sedatives is that they cause side effects, including daytime confusion, drowsiness, falls and fractures and may interact with other medications.

Considering the physical limitations of the elderly, rigorous exercise may not be a good option for them while Tai chi chih's gentle, slow movements could be just the thing they need especially because the study provided more across-the-board evidence of its health benefits.