Acupuncture and Insomnia 

 June 6, 2016

By  Steve Hoffman

You toss and turn incessantly. You know you have to wake up in a few hours and that causes you to worry more, making it even harder to fall asleep. You trudge through the day and drink a few cups of coffee just to keep going. When it’s finally time to go to bed you can’t wait, but once your head hits the pillow you’re wide awake! If this sounds agonizingly familiar, you know what insomnia can do to your day, your week, your life. You can get fast, effective, safe and natural relief from insomnia. Acupuncture is an excellent treatment option along with herbs, supplements, dietary and lifestyle changes. You can be sleeping the night through in no time.

If you read my blog post Top Ten Benefits of Acupuncture That You Need to Know Now, you will learn; In a study of almost 4,000 patients it was found that acupuncture increased sleep duration BETTER than medications without any side effects. Acupuncture helps restore balance to the central nervous system so that your body can heal itself, repair the thousands of micro injuries that happen over the course of the day and rebuild your immune system. Many patients will fall in to a deep stage of sleep during treatment and wake feeling more relaxed and rested than they have in a long time.


There are many herbs that can be used to treat insomnia and they don’t cause drowsiness or disorientation like sedative medications do. Please consult with a trained professional before using, but some herbs that are effective are:

  • Valerian
  • Chamomile
  • Kava

Chinese Herbal Formulas Commonly Used:

  • Gui Pi Tang
  • Tian Wan Bu Xin Dan
  • Suan Zao Ren Tang
  • An Mian Pian


Some of these practices have been around for thousands of years and can benefit you in dozens of ways, relief of insomnia being just one of them.

  • Meditation
  • Deep Breathing exercises
  • Yoga


Caffeine can create a vicious cycle for those suffering with insomnia. You “need” the caffeine to get through the day but it is stimulating and takes a long time to get out of your system. I suggest stopping it altogether or switching to green tea to make the transition. Sugar also causes sleep disturbances. It causes inflammation and has a profound effect on the nervous system. Alcohol causes several problems that can result in insomnia. Blood sugar is affected and it also irritates the liver, heart and nervous system. Besides these obvious culprits, it is best to eat an organic, whole foods diet, that is varied and includes good fats, complex carbohydrates and proteins along with fiber and antioxidants. Minimizing processed foods, sugars and simple carbohydrates is another key.

Some good supplements to think about are:

  • Melatonin
  • Fish Oil
  • 5HTP

There is really no single magic bullet that will help you sleep like a baby. However, if you have never tried acupuncture before, I highly recommend finding an acupuncturist who can help guide you through choosing a good combination of these approaches so that you can get the sleep you need. While you may notice the effects of being tired, there are other serious health issues that can result from not sleeping well.

Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!

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