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Author Notes:

Address correspondence to: Donald Bliwise, Ph.D., Program in Sleep, Aging and Chronobiology, Emory University School of Medicine, Wesley Woods Health Center, 1841 Clifton Road, Room 509, Atlanta, GA 30329(404) 728-4751(404) 728-4756dbliwis@emory.edu

This was not an industry supported study. Dr. Kutner has received research support from Amgen, Inc. The other authors have indicated no financial conflicts of interest.


  • Insomnia
  • autonomic nervous system
  • acupuncture
  • mechanism

Autonomic Activation in Insomnia: The Case for Acupuncture


Journal Title:

Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine


Volume 7, Number 1


, Pages 95-102

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Current conceptualizations of the biological basis for insomnia typically invoke central nervous system and/or autonomic nervous system arousal. Acupuncture may represent a unique avenue of treatment for poor sleep by virtue of its direct effects on peripheral nerves and muscles, which, in turn, modulate autonomic tone and central activation. In this review, we summarize both basic and clinical research indicating that acupuncture exerts profound influences via a wide variety of potential neural and/or hormonal mechanisms that have great relevance for the modulation of sleep and wakefulness. We illustrate principles of acupuncture intervention applied to cases of otherwise intractable insomnia that document successful application of this component of Traditional Chinese Medicine to the treatment of poor sleep. Our review indicates the necessity for further research in the relationship between the effects of acupuncture on insomnia and autonomic regulation, which might guide better selective use of this treatment modality for insomnia.Citation: Huang W; Kutner N; Bliwise DL. Autonomic activation in insomnia: the case for acupuncture. J Clin Sleep Med 2011;7(1):95-102.

Copyright information:

© 2011 American Academy of Sleep Medicine

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