June Newsletter: Can Acupuncture Help with Insomnia?

Man suffers from insomnia.

Can Acupuncture Help with Insomnia?

If you're wide awake at 3 a.m., you have plenty of company. Occasional insomnia affects about 75% of Americans, according to the Sleep Foundation, while chronic insomnia affects 10 to 15%. Sleeping pills can be effective if you have insomnia, but some sleep medications cause undesirable side effects, like headaches, nausea, hallucinations, or sleepwalking. Acupuncture relieves your insomnia symptoms naturally and helps you get the sleep you need.

What Causes Insomnia?

It's not always easy to pinpoint a specific cause, but insomnia can be related to:

  • Stress or Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Working Varying Shifts
  • Stomach Ailments
  • Jetlag
  • Uncomfortable Sleeping Conditions
  • Alcohol, Nicotine, or Caffeine Use
  • Poor Sleep Habits or Sleep Schedule
  • Medication Side Effects
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Hormonal Changes During Menopause

Sleep problems tend to increase with age. Even if you've never struggled with insomnia before, you may find it difficult to sleep once you're 60 or older.

How Acupuncture Can Help You Sleep

Acupuncture treatments offer several sleep-related benefits, including:

  • Less Pain. Whether you have arthritis, tendinitis, or another painful condition, acupuncture relieves pain naturally, which can help you sleep better. According to a meta-analysis published in The Journal of Pain in 2017, acupuncture offers an effective way to treat chronic osteoarthritis, musculoskeletal, and headache pain.
  • No More Heartburn. Acupuncture can help control stomach acid production and reduce the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD). It can also be helpful for constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Reduced Stress, Anxiety, and Depression. Acupuncture relieves stress and anxiety naturally by flooding your body with serotonin and endorphins. These hormones improve your mood, help you feel calm, and ease pain. In a research study published in JAMA Network in 2022, eight weeks of electroacupuncture significantly improved sleep in participants with depression. A gentle current attached to acupuncture needles during electroacupuncture treatments enhances the effect of the treatment.
  • Fewer Hot Flashes. Do hot flashes wake you up in the middle of the night? Acupuncture treatments may reduce night sweats and hot flashes during the day and night. Treatments may make hot flashes less intense and reduce the number of flashes you get.
  • Better Control of Underlying Conditions. Acupunctures may improve the symptoms of restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea, two conditions that can interfere with sleep. A systematic review and meta-analysis published in BioMed Research International in 2020 revealed that acupuncture treatment produced a clinically significant reduction in breathing pauses during the night in people with sleep apnea. Treatments also reduced Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) scores. The ESS is a questionnaire that rates daytime sleepiness.
  • Enhanced Sleep/Wake Cycle. Serotonin, the same hormone that relieves stress and pain, also has an important role in controlling sleep. Acupuncture helps you produce the ideal amount of serotonin needed for a healthy sleep/wake cycle.
  • Relief of Jetlag. Flying across the country or the world disrupts your sleep schedule and can make it difficult to sleep at night. Unfortunately, that means you'll probably feel tired during the day and struggle to stay awake. Scheduling an acupuncture session soon after you return from a trip resets your body's natural clock and restores your normal sleep/wake pattern.

Has insomnia left you feeling exhausted? Acupuncture can help you overcome your sleep issues. Contact our office to schedule an appointment with the acupuncturist.


Sleep Foundation: 100+ Sleep Statistics, 9/26/2023


The Journal of Pain: Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Update of an Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis, 11/30/2017


JAMA Network: Effects of Electroacupuncture on Insomnia in Patients with Depression, 7/7/2022


BioMed Research International: Acupuncture for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, 3/5/2020


Annals of Palliative Medicine: Effectiveness of Acupuncture on the Management of Restless Leg Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, 10/31/2021


Science Direct: Sleep Medicine: Efficacy and Safety of Acupuncture Treatment on Primary Insomnia: A Randomized Controlled Trial, 9/2017


US News and World Report: Acupuncture for Insomnia: How Acupuncture Can Help You Sleep, 7/20/2022



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