Acupuncture Relieves Insomnia

Acupuncture Relieves Insomnia

8 March 2015 by Caitlin Armit

Why can’t you sleep?

Sleep problems are one of my favourite things to work on for my patients.

The most common presentation is that people have difficulty falling asleep because they can’t switch off their active minds. For a lot of people, bed time is the only quiet time they have to reflect on their day and process information. It might be work stress, grief or over-stimulation from media or food/alcohol/coffee. It might also be a combination of these things plus the body clock imbalance which results from shift-work.

Another common complaint is light sleep where people are easily woken by noise or light or vivid dreams. Some patients report that they have difficulty regulating their body temperature at night so they wake in a hot sweat – this is typical for women during menopausal years or it may be due to medications. And of course, conditions such as sleep apnoea and night time urination (nocturia) interfere with restful sleep.


Recent Research

A 2013 study, demonstrated that acupuncture outperformed a commonly prescribed medication for insomnia for improving sleep quality and daytime functioning.

Another 2013 study, found that Acupuncture resolved nocturia symptoms in 60% of patients and reduced the frequency of nocturia to one time per night in 37% of patients.

In 2016, a review of randomised controlled trials concluded that both manual and electro acupuncture were more effective in improving apnoea / hypopnea index scores and average SaO2 compared to control groups.  

Another 2016 study reviewed 31 randomised controlled trials with a total of 2433 participants with menopausal sleep related disturbances.  This review found:

  • a significant reduction in the likelihood of sleep disturbances
  • a significant increase in the secretion of serum estradiol
  • a reduction in the secretion of serum follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinising hormone

The authors of the study concluded that “acupuncture should be adopted as part of a multimodal approach for improving sleep disturbances in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women.”

In the Clinic

At your treatment and consultation we will discuss practical lifestyle and dietary tips known as ‘sleep hygiene’ which help to reset your body clock and reduce the likelihood of sleep disturbances. We also work with various other interferences to sleep such as pain, stress management and respiratory conditions like asthma or common colds. I generally find it helpful for patients to have insomnia treatments in the later half of the day so that it prepares you for a relaxing sleep.



Acupuncture: Superior in Improving Sleep Quality and Daytime Functioning Compared to Estazolam and Sham Acupuncture in Primary Insomnia

Treatment of nocturia symptoms with acupuncture.

Acupuncture to Reduce Sleep Disturbances in Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.

Efficacy of Acupuncture for Primary Insomnia: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial

The Clinical Effect of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

A systematic review of acupuncture for sleep quality in people with insomnia.

Curative effect of acupuncture and moxibustion on insomnia: a randomized clinical trial.



Categories: Brisbane Acupuncture Blog | Sleep Centre Brisbane

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