Background: Due to the quick rhythm of life and work pressure, more and more people suffer from sleep quality problems. In this study, we investigated the effect of electroacupuncture on sleep quality of chronic insomniacs and the safety of electroacupuncture therapy.
Methods: Four courses of electroacupuncture treatment were applied to 47 patients. With pre-treatment and post-treatment self-control statistical method, Pittsburgh sleep quality index (PSQI) scores were used for evaluating sleep quality. Polysomnogram was used for detecting insomniacs' changes in sleep architecture. The safety of electroacupuncture was evaluated by monitoring the self-designed adverse events and side effects during treatment and post-treatment.
Results: Electroacupuncture considerably improved insomniacs' sleep quality and social function during the daytime. Electroacupuncture had certain repairing effect on the disruption in sleep architecture. At the same time, electroacupuncture prolonged slow wave sleep (SWS) time and relatively rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep) time. There was no hangover, addiction or decrements in vigilance during the daytime (incidence rate was 0). However, insomnia rebound rate was about 23% within one month.
Conclusions: These results suggest that electroacupuncture has beneficial effect on sleep quality improvement in the patients with chronic insomnia, which may be associated with repairing sleep architecture, reconstructing sleep continuity, as well as prolonging SWS time and REM sleep time. Electroacupuncture treatment for chronic insomnia is safe. Therefore, electroacupuncture therapy could be a promising avenue of treatment for chronic insomnia.