Can Acupuncture Help You Sleep?

acupuncture patient
Female acupuncture patient showing good redness at the needle points, a sign of good response to the treatment

Struggling to sleep at night is frustrating, and can lead to health problems. When you think about ways to get more zzz’s, being poked with needles probably doesn’t come to mind—but perhaps it should. Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese practice, has been linked to improved sleep and has also been shown to help treat insomnia. Are you intrigued? Check out the answers to these commonly asked questions on the topic.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

The fine, sterile needles that are used in acupuncture are inserted into specific points of the body that are known to stimulate nerves and muscles. (Don’t worry: Most people don’t feel any discomfort while the needles are being placed.)It is thought that the treatment stimulates blood flow and helps ease pain. And it’s not just sleep that can be improved—acupuncture has also been shown to reduce allergy symptoms, boost fertility, treat migraines, and more.

What Effect Does It Have on Sleep?

More research is needed to find out exactly how much acupuncture can help improve sleep, but it can help you feel more relaxed and less anxious, which may encourage you to fall asleep easier. Acupuncture has also been shown to help manage sleep apnea, perhaps because it strengthens the tongue and prevents it from dropping back during the night and blocking your airway.

Is Acupuncture Right for Me?

If you’re having trouble sleeping, talk with your doctor first to rule out any serious underlying problems. Then discuss first-line treatment methods that may be more effective (like changing your sleep schedule) or cheaper and easier to implement (like exercising more) than acupuncture. If you do decide to try acupuncture, the risks of complication are generally low. However, it’s best to ask your doctor to recommend a trusted professional before you book an appointment.

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This blog does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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