For most people, a good night’s sleep is something that is taken for granted. However, for those unable to rest at night, the search for better sleep can become all consuming. Many pharmaceuticals can help one get through the night, but they often have unwanted side effects and can even prevent you from sleeping deeply enough to get good rest. Those suffering from insomnia have likely tried just about anything and everything. There is a lot of good research being done, and there is hope for the sleepless among us. Most scientific studies have too few participants for researchers to determine what works and what does not. So sometimes, researchers review many studies together as a body, which can give a clearer picture of whether something is working or not.
One of these reviews examined studies of acupuncture and Chinese herbs in the treatment of insomnia. Published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in November, 2009, researchers from the Center for Evidence-Based Chinese Medicine in Beijing, China examined 46 randomized trials with a total of 3,811 patients. The results of their analysis found the following statistically significant results:
- Acupuncture was better than no treatment or sham acupuncture at improving sleep
- Acupuncture was equal to medications on measures of sleep duration
- Acupuncture plus medications were superior to medications alone
- Acupuncture plus Chinese herbs were better than herbs alone
- Real acupressure (tuina) was better than sham acupressure
- No serious side effects occurred from acupuncture in any of the trials