How Acupuncture May Relieve Insomnia Symptoms


Acupuncture can be used to relieve a number of conditions ranging from anxiety to chronic pain. For many patients, acupuncture can alleviate symptoms of insomnia as well. By stimulating acupoints, acupuncture promotes natural self healing and improved bodily functions.

Acupuncture as an Insomnia Treatment

Although a good night’s sleep is necessary for good health, insomnia is very common among adults. Adults should sleep for at least seven hours each night, but 35 percent of adults in America don’t reach that goal on a regular basis.

A regular lack of sleep can increase your risk for the development of chronic conditions, including:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Frequent mental distress

Experts recommend treating insomnia with healthy lifestyle changes, which can include a regular sleep schedule turning off or removing screens from your bedroom. But if these changes don’t make a difference for your insomnia, you should consider other treatments, which can include acupuncture.

Acupuncture has long been used to treat insomnia and it can be a useful part of your strategy for better sleep. A meta analysis of acupuncture for the treatment of insomnia found that acupuncture offers beneficial effects for insomnia. Participants who were treated with acupuncture increased sleep duration about the same as those treated with medication. However, combining acupuncture and medication or acupuncture and herbs had a greater effect on sleep duration.

Using acupuncture to treat insomnia makes sense, as it can alleviate pain, anxiety, and other conditions that might interfere with sleep. A study of anxious adult subjects with insomnia found acupuncture helpful. After five weeks of acupuncture treatment, the subjects increased secretion of melatonin (a sleepy hormone) and experienced improvements in total sleep time, efficiency, arousal and the time needed to go to sleep. Anxiety was relieved as well.

Using Acupuncture and Healthy Habits to Improve Sleep

Acupuncture’s potential for improving sleep means it should be part of your treatment plan for insomnia. However, acupuncture isn’t a magic bullet. You should support acupuncture treatment with healthy sleep habits that can improve your sleep quality.

  • Discuss your needs with your acupuncturist. Your acupuncturist will perform a physical examination and discuss your ailments. Explain your difficulty sleeping, and bring up any conditions that may be causing sleep trouble, such as chronic pain.
  • Stay consistent with treatment. Although some people see immediate improvement after one session, regular treatment may be needed. Ask your acupuncturist for details in an individualized treatment plan with your expected number of treatments.
  • Make healthy lifestyle changes. Improving your well being can make it easier to sleep well. Exercise during the day, eat a healthy diet, and maintain a regular sleep schedule. A consistent bedtime routine can be helpful for winding down your day and conditioning your body to recognize when it’s time to go to sleep.
  • Improve your sleep environment. A healthy sleep environment can be helpful for sleep issues, offering a more calm, relaxing place to rest. Focus on making your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool. Consider your mattress, and if your current mattress doesn’t appropriately meet your needs, look for a new mattress online where you can read ratings, reviews, and details to select a model that will be comfortable and supportive for you.

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