Washington D.C.: Better sleep and tai chi can help reduce inflammation, according to new research. Inflammatory processes occur throughout the body, with a primary function of promoting healing after injury. However, when too active, these inflammatory processes can also damage the body in many ways, and may contribute to heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, and other significant medical problems.
Stress, including sleep disturbance, is a major contributor to inflammation in the body. Insomnia, one of the most common sleep disorders, is associated with increased risk for depression, medical comorbidities, and mortality. The University of California study reports that treatment for insomnia, either by cognitive behavioral therapy or the movement meditation tai chi, reduces inflammation levels in older adults over 55 years of age.
Behavioral interventions that target sleep reduce inflammation and represent a third pillar, along with diet and physical activity, to promote health and possibly reduce the risk of age-related morbidities including depression, said Michael Irwin. These results provide an evidence-based molecular framework to understand how behavioral interventions that target sleep may reduce inflammation and promote health. The study is published in Biological Psychiatry.
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