Lack of sleep can have a wide variety of negative consequences, from daytime drowsiness and irritability, to depression and an increased risk of various health problems. Unfortunately, the most common treatment for insomnia consists of pharmaceutical drugs such as sedatives, hypnotics and antidepressants, which may carry side effects. In contrast, Acupuncture is considered non-invasive, safe and side-effect free.
An early review on the effectiveness of acupuncture as an insomnia treatment was conducted by a postdoctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh and published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing in 2003. The researcher reviewed 11 separate experimental studies published in the English language between 1975 and 2002. Every single study found that acupuncture treatment significantly improved the symptoms of insomnia.
Further evidence suggests that acupuncture may improve not just sleep duration, but also quality. One study, conducted by researchers from China’s Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University and published in the Chinese Medical Journal in 2009, found that acupuncture therapy led to significant improvements in sleep quality (including REM sleep and slow wave sleep time) and in daytime social function. Notably, 67 per cent of participants were still free of insomnia one month later.
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