Expert Advice

Can Acupuncture Fight Insomnia?

Acupuncture stimulates the body to balance itself, which can lead to a better night's rest.

Can Acupuncture Fight Insomnia?
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YES. In my clinical experience, acupuncture helps insomniacs 90 percent of the time, and many studies support this figure.

Increase serotonin. Insomnia is commonly brought on by lack of serotonin, a brain chemical and precursor to melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. Acupuncture stimulates the body to balance itself, which often leads to increased serotonin levels and decreased anxiety.

Tailor your treatment. An acupuncturist will determine your symptoms—whether you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, and how long you’ve been experiencing the disruption—and adjust your treatment accordingly. Needles are inserted in various points including the inside of the ankle, the inside of the wrist near the ulna bone, directly between the eyebrows above the nose bridge, and the crown of the head.

Give it time. Treatments (45 minutes to one hour) are typically given twice a week for four weeks. Your acupuncturist might prescribe specific herbs, too. Some people may sleep more soundly after only one week. If you don’t see results in four weeks, it may not work for you.

— Bill Reddy, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., vice president of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine