Background: Acupressure, a noninvasive form of acupuncture, may be used as a low-cost and noninvasive means of improving sleep quality. Although it has been evaluated to improve self-reported sleep quality, it has not been assessed with regard to effectiveness in improving perceived and objective measures of sleep quality outcomes.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of acupressure in improving sleep quality of psychogeriatric inpatients.
Methods: Using a convenience sample, 60 psychogeriatric inpatients with affective disorders from southern Taiwan were recruited. They were assigned randomly to an experimental or control group. Although both groups received standard medical care, those in the experimental group received 9-minute acupressure treatment daily for 4 consecutive weeks. Acupressure was applied to three acupoints: shenmen, yangchuan, and neiguan. Outcomes were measured using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and actigraphy. Data were collected at baseline and after 4 weeks of intervention.
Results: Participants in the experimental group improved significantly in subjective sleep quality as measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and in objective sleep quality as measured by actigraphy (p < .001 for all) after 4 weeks of intervention. Although the control participants also had some improvement in sleep quality, those in the experimental group had significantly greater improvements (p < .05) in all domains of subjective and objective sleep quality than the control group.
Discussion: Acupressure may be an effective means of improving sleep quality of psychogeriatric inpatients.