Can Acupuncture Increase Melatonin?

One of our most recent posts was about anxiety and acupuncture and how acupuncture can be an effective treatment option. Most people who have anxiety also have troubles sleeping at night. The term insomnia, in the context of anxiety, is waking up multiple times throughout the night and this results in less time spent in deep sleep.

Scientists believe that a deficiency in melatonin secretion may play a role in anxiety-related insomnia. Melatonin is a hormone that is released from the pineal gland at night, usually around 9pm. Once melatonin is released into the blood stream, your body becomes less alert and the idea of going to sleep becomes appealing. As you can imagine, a deficiency in melatonin decreases your bodies ability to fall asleep and remain asleep throughout the night.

What does acupuncture have to do with melatonin? A study was done that provided acupuncture to subjects who had high anxiety and reported insomnia. The subjects had to have insomnia for at least two continuous years immediately prior to the study and a score above 50 on the Zung Anxiety Self Rating Scale. 

The subjects received acupuncture 2 times a week for 5 weeks total. At the end of the study, the acupuncture treatments were associated with a significant increase in melatonin secretion at night. This resulted in an impressive decrease in insomnia related symptoms. The subjects showed:

  • A decrease in sleep onset latency (the time it takes to transition from being fully awake to asleep)
  • An increase in the total amount of time spent sleeping (subjects were sleeping throughout the night instead of waking up multiple times)
  • A decrease in arousal index (arousals are interruptions of sleep lasting 3-15 seconds and each arousal sends you back into a lighter stage of sleep)
  • An increase in sleep efficiency 
  • A decrease in self-reported fatigue and sleepiness
  • A decrease in self-reported anxiety scores


The best part about this study, is how quickly these results were achieved. The subjects had insomnia for 2 years and in only 5 weeks their ability to sleep throughout the night drastically improved. If you suffer from anxiety or insomnia, visit us at Modern Chiropractic and Wellness Center and see what acupuncture can do for you!