Amanda Cox | Acupuncture Melbourne


Insomnia and Acupuncture
Occasionally we all experience a night of poor sleep, however sometimes we fall into a pattern that prevents us from sleeping night after night. The term ‘insomnia’ includes difficulty falling asleep, failure to stay asleep, sleep disrupted by vivid dreams, and an inability to sleep at all.

Insomnia can have a huge impact on everyday life causing lethargy, irritability and depression, making it impossible to function normally. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can have a calming effect on the central nervous system to help improve sleep, there is even an acupuncture / pressure point called ‘An Mian’ which means ‘Peaceful Sleep’.

To read Amanda's tips on beating insomnia in Natural Health Magazine's Good Sleep Guide click here.

Research has shown that acupuncture treatment may specifically be of benefit in people with insomnia by:

  • increasing nocturnal melatonin secretion (Spence et al 2004)

  • stimulating opioid (especially b-endorphin) production and µ-opioid receptor activity (Cheng et al 2009)

  • increasing nitric oxide synthase activity and nitric oxide content, helping to promote normal function of brain tissues, which could help to regulate sleep (Gao et al 2007)

  • increasing cerebral blood flow (Yan 2010)

  • reducing sympathetic nervous system activity, hence increasing relaxation (Lee 2009a)

  • regulating levels of neurotransmitters (or their modulators) such as serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, GABA and neuropeptide Y; hence altering the brain's mood chemistry to help to increase relaxation and reduce tension (Lee 2009b; Samuels 2008; Zhou 2008)

Acupuncture can be safely combined with conventional medical treatments for insomnia, such as benzodiazepines, helping to reduce their side effects and enhance their beneficial effects (Cao et al 2009).