The Effect of Tai Chi for Improving Sleep Quality: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Huanjie Li, Juexuan Chen, Guangzhen Xu, Yuting Duan, Danxuan Huang, Chunzhi Tang*, Jihong Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Sleep quality is a major concern around the world, yet currently there are no recognized non-pharmacological treatments. A systematic review and meta-analysis investigated Tai Chi's effect on patients with sleep complaints, both those with insomnia and those with other conditions.

Methods: 4 English language databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and CENTRAL) and 4 Chinese databases (CNKI, CBM, VIP, and Wanfang Data) were searched from database inception through June 23, 2019. Searches were conducted in both English and Chinese language. Meta-analysis by mean difference (MD) and 95% confidence interval (CI) was performed with RevMan 5.3. Risk of bias for each study was accounted for according to the Cochrane Handbook.

Results: Twenty randomized controlled studies from five countries covering 1,703 patients were included and divided into two control groups. Tai Chi had a significant effect on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) compared with non-treatment and active treatment groups. Moreover, the articles were divided into groups according to Tai Chi styles. Both 24-form Yang-style Tai Chi and 8-form Yang-style Tai Chi had significant effects on PSQI.

Limitations: One limitation of our work was that there were some forms of insomnia for which conclusions could not be drawn. Also, no relationship between efficacy and any of the factors could be elucidated.

Conclusions: Compared with non-therapeutic and other active treatments, Tai Chi has a positive effect on improving sleep quality. In-depth analysis showed that 24-form and 8-form Yang style Tai Chi have significant positive effects on sleep quality, as assessed by PSQI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1102-1112
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

User-Defined Keywords

  • Insomnia
  • Meta-analysis
  • Review
  • Sleep quality
  • Tai Chi


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