Acupuncture increases melatonin and improves sleep seeking


Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving insomnia in modern research. Several investigations make important clinical discoveries. The first piece of research covered in this article reveals that acupuncture is superior to placebo controls. The second study reveals that acupuncture is effective in improving sleep, reducing anxiety and increasing endogenous neurohormonal melatonin secretions.

In a meta-analysis of 1,108 patients, acupuncture was found to be superior to sham / placebo controls in improving sleep. [1] The study quantified total sleep time, sleep latency, sleep efficiency, and waking up after falling asleep. Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) scores were used to verify the results. Several styles of acupuncture therapy have been examined. Auricular, standard body style acupuncture and electroacupuncture have all been shown to be therapeutically effective.

Another survey published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience by researchers at the University of Toronto (Ontario) and other centers of sleep and mental health (Toronto, Ontario) find that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of insomnia and anxiety. [2] The patients had not had any herbs, pharmaceuticals, hormonal agents or other procedures. Using acupuncture alone, patients improved their sleep, reduced anxiety, and increased endogenous secretions of melatonin (aMT6).

A total of 10 acupuncture treatments were administered over a five week period. Improvements occurred in sleep continuity, sleep architecture, fatigue levels, and emotional well-being. The research team quantified improvements in nocturnal melatonin secretions, polysomnographic measures of sleep onset, wakefulness index, total sleep duration, and sleep efficiency. Significant reductions in anxiety scores were also found.

Nighttime elevations in melatonin levels paralleled improvements in sleep. The researchers note that “acupuncture improved the overall quality of sleep and had significant effects on anxiety are therefore noteworthy.” [3] They add that “acupuncture has been shown to be useful as a therapeutic intervention for insomnia in anxious subjects and may therefore represent an alternative to pharmaceutical therapy for certain categories of patients”. [4]

In a related investigation, researchers at Emory University and the Atlanta VA Medical Center found acupuncture to be effective in treating sleep disorders in veterans with PTSD and brain damage. The researchers concluded that acupuncture produced significant improvements in both subjective and objective sleep parameters for veterans with mild traumatic brain injury (MCI). This includes veterans with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). The researchers noted that “acupuncture provides significant relief for a particularly recalcitrant problem affecting large segments of the veteran population.” [5]

Another survey concludes that acupuncture is more effective than drugs in improving the quality of sleep in breast cancer survivors. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York) and Memorial University (Newfoundland and Labrador) concluded that electroacupuncture outperforms gabapentin in improving latency and sleep effectiveness in women breast cancer survivors with hot flashes. In a controlled clinical trial, researchers concluded that acupuncture improves sleep duration and significantly improves sleep latency. [6]

The references:

1. Zhang, Jinhuan, Yuhai He, Xingxian Huang, Yongfeng Liu, and Haibo Yu. “The effects of acupuncture versus sham / placebo acupuncture for insomnia: a systematic review and meta-analysis of trials randomized controlled. »Complementary therapies in clinical practice (2020): 101253.

2. Spence, D. Warren, Leonid Kayumov, Adam Chen, Alan Lowe, Umesh Jain, Martin A. Katzman, Jianhua Shen, Boris Perelman and Colin M. Shapiro. “Acupuncture increases nighttime melatonin secretion and reduces insomnia and anxiety: a preliminary report.” The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience 16, no. 1 (2004): 19-28.

3. Idem.

4. Idem.

5. Huang, W., Johnson, T., Kutner, N., Halpin, S., Weiss, P., Griffiths, P. and Bliwise, D., 2018. Acupuncture for the treatment of persistent sleep disorders: a Randomized clinical trial in veterans with mild head injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Annals of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 61, p.e89.

6. Garland, Sheila N., Sharon X. Xie, Qing Li, Christina Seluzicki, Coby Basal, and Jun J. Mao. “Comparative efficacy of electro-acupuncture versus gabapentin for sleep disorders in breast cancer survivors with hot flashes: a randomized trial. Menopause 24, no. 5 (2017): 517-523.

Continuing education credits in acupuncture


Comments are closed.