Acupuncture & Insomnia

Acupuncture as an Effective Alternative to Sleeping Pills

People who have sleep problems know the frustration that accompanies it. Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint, affecting 9-15% of the worldwide population¹.  Whether it is problems falling asleep or staying asleep, the tiredness and fatigue that accompany a poor night’s rest can affect all aspects of life.

While traditional insomnia treatments like sleeping pills work for some, many people find that they are not effective in providing a restful or restorative sleep. Some also find that the side effects of the medication precludes their use.  For those who are also looking for a more natural method of insomnia treatments, acupuncture can be an effective choice.  In fact, one study showed that it could outperform Estozolam, which is a pharmaceutical drug used to treat insomnia².

Acupuncture Stimulates Melatonin

One way that acupuncture may work in treating insomnia is by increasing the amount of melatonin produced by your body, which is  important in sleep regulation³.  It may also affect the levels of neurotransmitters that are also important in sleep regulation.4

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are many different diagnoses for insomnia.5  Choosing to have an acupuncture consultation, your pattern of disharmony will be discovered. The acupuncturist then tailor your treatment plan to be designed to help you overcome your insomnia. Acupuncture helps to quiet the busy mind, relax the body, and promote restfulness.  In cases where insomnia exists with other dis-harmonies such as stress, depression, or anxiety, treating those conditions at the same time will allow your sleep schedule to return to normal.  Schedule a consultation appointment to see if acupuncture is right for you.

“Sleep is yin and is ruled by the spirit. If the spirit is quiet, this leads to sleep. If the spirit
is not quiet, there is no sleep” – Zhang Jing-yue

Our Acupuncturist – Michael Amador McFarlane:

Michael Amador McFarlane is a registered acupuncturist with the College & Association of Acupuncturists of Alberta.  Trained in Canada and China, Michael provides treatments in both traditional Chinese and orthopedic acupuncture.  Traditional Chinese needles are applied to specific meridian or organ system points, to stimulate healing.  In orthopedic acupuncture needles are applied to muscle motor points to alleviate pain and tension.  He also offers Cupping Therapy, in which glass or silicone cups are attached to the body with suction.  Some of the most common issues Michael addresses includes, but is not limited to: pain, insomnia, infertility, headaches/migraines, anxiety and gastrointestinal problems.


1 Ohayon MM. Epidemiology of insomnia: what we know and what we still need to learn. Sleep Medicine Reviews. 2002;6(2):97–111.

2 Poon MMK, Chung KF, Yeung WF, Yau VHK, Zhang SP. Classification of insomnia using the Traditional Chinese medicine system: a systematic review. Evidence Based Complementary Alternatives Med. 2012;2012:735078. doi: 10.1155/2012/735078. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Cross  Ref]

3 Spence DW, Kayumov L, Chen A, et al. Acupuncture increases nocturnal melatonin secretion and reduces insomnia and anxiety: a preliminary report. J Neuropsychiatry Clinical Neuroscience 2004;16:19–28. [PubMed]

4 Wang YJ, Zhang LH, Han YX, Li PP. Efficacy observation on Governor Vessel-unblocking and mind-calming acupuncture for insomnia. Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science. 2016 Jul 1;14(4):274-8.

5 Zhao K. Acupuncture for the treatment of insomnia. Int Rev Neurobiol 2013;111:217–34. [PubMed]