(HealthDay News) — In treatment of late-life insomnia, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is found to show greater sustained improvement in terms of remission than tai chi, according to a study published in SLEEP.

Michael R. Irwin, MD, from the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined the comparative efficacy of CBT, tai chi, and sleep seminar education control on insomnia diagnosis in 123 older adults with chronic and primary insomnia. Participants were randomized to CBT, tai chi, or sleep seminar education for two-hour group sessions weekly over a four-month period.

The researchers found that in terms of remission of clinical insomnia as ascertained by a clinician, CBT performed better than tai chi or sleep seminar education and showed greater and more sustained improvement in sleep quality, sleep parameters, fatigue, and depressive symptoms. CBT correlated with a reduced risk of high C-reactive protein levels at 16 months compared with sleep seminar education (odds ratio, 0.26). Insomnia remission correlated with lower C-reactive protein levels at 16 months. Compared with sleep seminar education, tai chi correlated with improvements in sleep quality, fatigue, and depressive symptoms but not with insomnia remission.

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“We found that CBT is more effective in the treatment of insomnia in older adults than tai chi or the control intervention,” the authors write. “Tai chi did not yield improvements in rates of insomnia remission and sleep parameters as compared to sleep seminar education.”


  1. Irwin MR et al. Sleep. 2014;doi:10.5665/sleep.4008