How Acupuncture Can Help Relieve the Symptoms of Insomnia


The effects of insomnia can reach into all aspects of your life, both personal and professional. Though everyone deals with sleeplessness on occasion, when the symptoms become chronic, you might need help to get the rest you need. Acupuncture is a natural way to treat insomnia, dealing with two different causes of sleeplessness. When used along with good sleep habits, you can reduce insomnia long-term.

You probably recognize the symptoms of insomnia:

  • delayed sleep onset

  • frequent waking during the night

  • excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue

  • mood changes, particularly irritability and anxiety

  • trouble with concentration and paying attention

While a day or two of insomnia may be annoying, it usually doesn’t have any long-term effects once you get back to your regular sleep schedule. However, for those who suffer from the symptoms day after day, it can put a strain on personal relationships and limit your performance at work.

The first way acupuncture can help reduce insomnia is by addressing stress and anxiety. Sleep deprivation and stress create a cycle wherein one feeds on the other. When you don’t get enough sleep, your stress levels go up. At the same time, high-stress levels interfere with your ability to sleep.

Acupuncture works by putting tiny needles in the specific acupoints to treat everything from digestive issues to arthritis. When the correct acupoints are targeted, acupuncture can have a relaxation effect that reduces stress. In a study published in Endocrinology, researchers targeted the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis with acupuncture and found that it could potentially reduce the number of stress hormones released into the body.

Acupuncture can affect the release of sleep hormones. In a study conducted among anxious adults, a five-week acupuncture treatment caused an increase in the nighttime release of melatonin, a hormone that controls falling asleep and waking up. Participants fell asleep faster, woke up less often during the night, and increased their total sleep time.

Acupuncture works as a natural way to put a stop to sleeplessness. While its effects can last weeks or even months after treatments have stopped, developing healthy sleep habits can prolong help keep stress down and prolong the effects of acupuncture. Healthy sleep starts on a comfortable mattress that’s designed to support your preferred sleep style, height, and weight. After making sure you’ve got good sleeping conditions, you can work on habits that support healthy sleep like:

  • A Consistent Sleep Schedule: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Your body times your sleep-wake schedule based on 24-hour biological and physiological cycles called circadian rhythms. Consistency helps your body follow and support these natural rhythms.

  • A Relaxing Bedtime Routine: A bedtime routine helps relieve stress before bed and signals your brain to release sleep hormones. Try to do your routine in the same order at the same time every day.

  • Avoid Bright Screens Before Bed: Some electronics give off a bright blue light that suppresses sleep hormones. Turn off your screens at least two to three hours before to prevent a delay in your sleep onset.

Acupuncture works as a way to relieve stress and give your body a chance to get your sleep cycle back on track. When used along with healthy sleep habits, you create a pattern for long-term physical, mental, and emotional health.