Research Projects
Exercise for Sleep and Mental Health in Elderly

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☒ MPhil/PhD ☑ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS

Objective and Significance:

Tai Chi, a traditional form of Chinese fitness exercise, is a unique form of exercise of low impact and slow body movement, which includes a meditation component. It is a moderate type of exercise that is well perceived to be suitable for regular practice by older population. The project aims to examine the efficacy of Tai Chi on improving sleep and mental health in older adults with insomnia, mild-depression or mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The project aims to also evaluate the safety of the adoption of Tai Chi in the elderly population. This project will provide evidence for the benefits and safety of Tai Chi.

Research Plan and Methodology:

Two-arm randomized controlled trial with a pretest-posttest design will be adopted. Older adults with insomnia, mild-depression or MCI will be randomly allocated to Tai Chi intervention group or usual care group. The Tai Chi group will receive 12 weeks of intervention of Yang-style 24-form Tai Chi training, whereas the usual care group will receive sleep/mental health-related health education. Outcome measures including sleep quality (measured by Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index PSQI questionnaire instrument), anxiety and depression scoring, cognitive function, brain structure and connectivity (by magnetic resonance imaging), exercise adherence, psychological measures, quality of life, medication usage (if any) and adverse events will be examined before and after the experimental period.

Professor PMF Siu, School of Public Health

Head, Division of Kinesiology
School of Public Health, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong


For more information or to express interest for this project, please email the supervisor or the specified contact point in the project description.  Interested candidates are advised to enclose with your email:

  1. your CV,
  2. a brief description of your research interest and experience, and
  3. two reference letters (not required for HKUMed UG students seeking MRes[Med]/URIS projects).

Information on the research programme, funding support and admission documentations could be referenced online at the Research Postgraduate Admissions website. General admission enquiries should be directed to

HKUMed MBBS students interested in the Master of Research in Medicine (MRes[Med]) programme may visit the programme website for more information.  

HKUMed UG students interested in the Undergraduate Research Internship Scheme (URIS) may visit the scheme’s website for more information.