Acupuncture Improves Deep Sleep

New research confirms that acupuncture enhances slow wave sleep (SWS). Slow wave sleep, more commonly referred to as deep sleep, occurs in the 3rd stage of the NREM (non-REM) phase of sleep. Slow wave sleep - very important to your health - it is when the body replenishes energy stores, improves memory consolidation, and regenerates, repairs and builds cells/tissues. Delta brain waves are dominant during SWS, occurring in the longest periods during the first 3 hours of sleep. An interesting point to note is that while children tend to have even longer periods of deep sleep it is not uncommon for the elderly to often experience nights without deep sleep. The research findings confirm that 100Hz electro-acupuncture applied to extra point, Anmian (H-HN54) increases deep sleep, but does not affect rapid eye movement sleep (REM). Generally, acupuncturists use differing electric frequencies which modulate during the treatment, which proved to be extremely effective in this research study. The study demonstrated that k-opiod receptors mediate 100 Hz electro-acupuncture and u-opioid receptors mediate 10 Hz electro-acupuncture. These findings demonstrate that differing electro-acupuncture frequencies activate distinct opiod receptors in the brainstem.

Point and Methodology

The acupuncture point Anmian is located behind the ear, midway between acupuncture points GB20 and TB17. According to Chinese medicine principles, Anmian calms the spirit and pacifies the Liver. Acupuncturists commonly apply this acupoint for the treatment of insomnia, irritability, headaches and hypertension. In the study, electro-acupuncture was applied bilaterally with 1 inch, 32 guage stainless steel acupuncture needles inserted to a depth of 2mm. 100 Hz electro-acupuncture was delivered with an intensity of 3mA with biphasic pulses of 150 microseconds.