Acupuncture for Insomnia & Sleep Disorders

Acupuncture for Insomnia & Sleep Disorders.

Insomnia symptoms include difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, falling back asleep or waking up unusually early. Vivid dreaming, frequent night-time urination and night sweating also affects a person's quality of sleep.

Other common sleep disorders include restless legs syndrome, teeth grinding, loud snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea. Young children are commonly troubled by bed-wetting.

Is Acupuncture Effective for Insomnia & Sleep Disorders?

Don't just take our word for it. The following clinical trials have scientifically examined the efficacy and safety of acupuncture for insomnia & sleep disorders.

Only reputable papers recently published by peer-reviewed journals within the last 10 years are listed below.

Nature and Science of Sleep
Efficacy and Safety of Electroacupuncture for Insomnia Disorder: A Multicenter, Randomized, Assessor-Blinded, Controlled Trial
Nature and Science of Sleep

Ten sessions of electroacupuncture can improve the sleep quality of patients with insomnia without serious adverse effects. Thus, it can be recommended as an effective, safe, and well-tolerated intervention.

2020, Dec 10 • Lee B, Kim BK, Kim HJ, Jung IC, Kim AR, Park HJ, Kwon OJ, Lee JH, Kim JH. Full Article

Annals of Palliative Medicine
Placebo effect of acupuncture on insomnia: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Annals of Palliative Medicine

Compared to the sham groups, acupuncture significantly decreased the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) score. In addition, a significant difference was detected in the change of Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) scores between acupuncture and sham acupuncture. The authors concluded that acupuncture treatment of insomnia is efficacious, not because of its placebo effect.

2020, Jan • Liu C, Xi H, Wu W, Wang X, Qin S, Zhao Y, Zheng S, Wan Q, Xu L. Full Article

Disability and Rehabilitation
Non-pharmacological interventions for restless legs syndrome: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials
Disability and Rehabilitation

The current management of restless leg syndrome is primarily pharmacological, and medications can have unwanted side effects. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, exercise, compression devices, counterstrain manipulation, infrared therapy, and standard acupuncture may reduce restless leg syndrome severity. Vibration pads, cryotherapy, yoga, compression devices, and acupuncture may improve some sleep-related outcomes in restless leg syndrome.

2018, Mar 21 • Harrison EG, Keating JL, Morgan PE. Full Article

Acupuncture for adults with overactive bladder: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

The combined results showed that electroacupuncture (EA) may be more effective than sham electroacupuncture (sham EA) in improving the 24-hour nocturia episodes and EA may enhance tolterodine for relieving voiding symptoms and enhancing patients’ quality of life. Acupuncture might have effect in decreasing the number of micturition episodes, incontinence episodes, and nocturia episodes.

2018, Feb 23 • Zhao Y, Zhou J, Mo Q, Wang Y, Yu J, Liu Z. Full Article

Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies
Evaluation of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies Medical Association of Pharmacopuncture Institute

Based on the findings of the present study, acupuncture plus a low dose of gabapentin (300 mg/d) is clinically useful in the treatment of restless legs syndrome during 8 weeks follow up, and also has an additive therapeutic effect over gabapentin alone in patients with restless legs syndrome.

2017, Oct • Gholam Reza Raissi, Bijan Forogh, Tannaz Ahadi, Samaneh Ghahramanpoori, Pouya Ghaboussi, Simin Sajadi Full Article

Sleep Medicine Reviews
Complementary and alternative therapies for restless legs syndrome: An evidence-based systematic review
Sleep Medicine Reviews

The severity of primary RLS symptoms can be significantly ameliorated by exercise training, transcutaneous spinal direct current stimulation, pneumatic compression devices, light therapy, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, and acupuncture.

2017, Jun 19 • Xu XM, Liu Y, Jia SY, Dong MX, Cao D, Wei YD. Full Article

Complementary Therapies in Medicine
A systematic review of acupuncture for sleep quality in people with insomnia
Complementary Therapies in Medicine

Acupuncture compared to sham/placebo and pharmacotherapy showed statistically significant results. However, the evidence is limited by bias in the included studies and heterogeneity. Well-designed studies are needed to confirm the results identified in this review.

2016, Jun • Shergis JL, Ni X, Jackson ML, Zhang AL, Guo X, Li Y, et al Full Article

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Actigraph Evaluation of Acupuncture for Treating Restless Legs Syndrome
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Standard but not randomized acupuncture reduced the abnormal leg activity of nocturnal activity and early sleep activity. No side effects were observed. The results indicate that standard acupuncture might improve the abnormal leg activity in restless legs syndrome patients and thus is a potentially suitable integrative treatment for long-term use.

2015, Feb 11 • Weidong Pan, Mingzhe Wang, Mao Li, Qiudong Wang, Shin Kwak, Wenfei Jiang, Yoshiharu Yamamoto Full Article

International Review of Neurobiology
Acupuncture for the treatment of insomnia
International Review of Neurobiology

A number of studies have demonstrated that acupuncture may modulate a wide range of neuroendocrinological factors following stimulation of acupoints. Evidence has suggested that the clinical efficacy of acupuncture in treatment of insomnia is potentially mediated by a variety of neurotransmitters including norepinephrine, melatonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid, and β-endorphin.

2013, Jan • Kaicun Zhao Full Article

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Acupuncture for Treatment of Insomnia: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine Society for Acupuncture Research

Acupuncture appears to be effective in treatment of insomnia. Meta-analyses showed a beneficial effect of acupuncture compared with no treatment and real acupressure compared with sham acupressure on total scores of Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Acupuncture was superior to medications regarding the number of patients with total sleep duration increased for >3 hours. Acupuncture plus medications showed better effect than medications alone on total sleep duration. Similarly, acupuncture plus herbs was significantly better than herbs alone on increase of sleep rates. There were no serious adverse effects with related to acupuncture treatment in the included trials.

2009, Nov • Cao H, Pan X, Li H, Liu J. Full Article

Acupuncture points
Acupuncture is comparable with morphine preparations in its effectiveness against chronic pain, but without the adverse effects of morphine, such as dependency. Acupuncture : review and analysis of reports on controlled clinical trials
World Health Organization, Geneva 2002