Does acupuncture really help with insomnia?

what you need to know

If you or somebody you know is suffering from insomnia, give our office a call today at (425) 686-4498 to set-up an initial consultation and learn how we can help you get back to restful sleep!

Acupuncture for balancing sleep cycles

Does acupuncture really help insomnia?

It is estimated that 1 in 3 people worldwide have insomnia symptoms. Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by an inability to obtain sufficient sleep, due to difficulty falling asleep or difficulty staying asleep. Insomnia can be either acute or chronic in nature. Acute insomnia is brief and can happen because of certain stressful life circumstances. Chronic insomnia is disrupted sleep that occurs at least three times per week and continues for at least three months. The sequela from prolonged poor sleep can have detrimental health effects. Chronic insomnia can lead to fatigue, mental sluggishness, brain fog, irritability, depression, anxiety, excessive worry, difficulty focusing and even accidents. One of the other main consequences of insomnia is contributing to chronic pain and what is now termed “painsomnia.” This begs the question we often get, “Does acupuncture really help with insomnia?”

The answer is, YES!

How can acupuncture help?

Acupuncture is a time-tested medicine that has been found to help regulate the nervous system. More specifically, help get people from the ‘flight or fight’ sympathetic response to the parasympathetic response. When we try and go to sleep at night or bodies need to switch to that parasympathic state so we can “rest, digest, and rejuvenate.” If our bodies cant switch, which often times due to high stress, anxiety, or being on certain medications or stimulates that make it hard to fall asleep, we cant get the rest we need to heal.

What do the studies say?

In a recent, 2021 study in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine looked at if acupuncture could help with insomnia. What they found was that the duration of treatment was key for long-term success of helping insomnia. They used assessment tools such as the Pittsburgh sleep quality index to show how participants noted their improvement. A subgroup showed there was no significant effects after 1-2 weeks of treatment but at week 3 there was a significant effect on insomnia and after 4 weeks of treatment a continued improvement was noted. These results show the importance of following a treatment program set out by your provider can have significant results and show improvement in sleep.

A study published by the Journal of Sleep Medicine shows acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for insomnia sufferers. The study group was composed of 72 patients with primary insomnia. Acupuncture treatments were given three times a week for four weeks and the patients were required to wear sleep monitors, as well as complete regular questionnaires. The outcomes were measured by the Insomnia Severity Index, sleep efficiency, sleep awakenings and total sleep time. The Insomnia Severity Index of the patients improved greatly, as did the sleep efficiency and the total sleep time. This study provides evidence acupuncture can be of great help to insomnia sufferers.

Acupuncture for better sleep

Acupuncture can help to regulate your sleep cycle. Most people report after their first treatment they “had the best nights sleep in a long time.”

Acupuncture can be used very effectively, to treat all types of sleep disorders and with none of the toxic side effects associated with medications or sleep aids. Because acupuncture is very customizable to the individual, there may also be beneficial side effects associated with the treatment of insomnia. At Starting Point, we use a combined integrative approach to care, using naturopathic medicine principles such as diet and lifestyle modifications to help regulate sleep, as well as using treatments like acupuncture to help regulate sleep and curb insomnia.

If you or somebody you know is suffering from insomnia, give our office a call today at (425) 686-4498 to set-up an initial consultation and learn how we can help you get back to restful sleep!

Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist in Bothell, WA at her practice Starting Point Acupuncture. She specializes in chronic and complex cases and commonly treats neuropathy, fibromyalgia, migraines, autoimmune, and infertility cases. Dr. Ellie Heintze is also the author of the book, A Starting Point Guide to Going Gluten-Free  and Keep Calm and Zen Out available on Amazon.


Call or Schedule Now! (425) 686-4498

Call or Schedule Now!

(425) 686-4498

Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc

  • Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
    Bastyr University
  • Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
    Bastyr University
  • Master’s Degree in Chemistry
    Northern Arizona University
Dr. Heintze Acupuncturist and Naturopathic Doctor

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