How Acupuncture Treatments Improve Sleep Walking

Acupuncture Treatments To Improve Sleepwalking

Sleepwalking affects nearly three million people per year and is caused by a variety of underlying factors like stress and anxiety. Acupuncture is a conservative treatment option for individuals looking to address their sleepwalking.

Causes & Symptoms of Sleepwalking

People affected with sleepwalking, or somnambulism, appear to arise out of bed and walk about or perform other complex behavior during an apparent state of sleep, usually occurring at the beginning of the night and lasting for up to 30 minutes.

The person is relatively unresponsive and not easily awakened. They also do not remember what happened because they mostly remain in a deep sleep throughout the event. Most sleepwalking happens in early childhood and usually disappears after adolescence.

Sleepwalking can be due to a number of factors:

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  • Family history
  • Illness
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Medications
  • Alcohol
  • Sleep deprivation

The most obvious sign of sleepwalking is getting out of bed and walking around; however, it can involve several behaviors. These signs include not responding when spoken to and looking dazed.

Some sleepwalkers can get involved in dangerous activities while unresponsive such as leaving the house or driving. It can be dangerous not to wake a sleepwalker.

Sleepwalking Diagnosis

To diagnose sleepwalking, your physician will review your medical history and your symptoms. Your evaluation may include:

  • Physical examination. Your physician may perform a physical exam to identify any medical conditions that may be confused with sleepwalking, such as panic attacks, nighttime seizures, or other sleep disorders.
  • Discussion of your symptoms. Others will most likely tell you that you sleepwalk. If your sleep partner comes to your appointment, the physician may ask them to fill out a questionnaire about your sleep behaviors.
  • Sleep study. In some cases, your physician may recommend an overnight sleep study where you are videotaped to document your behavior during sleep cycles.

Treatment for Sleepwalking

If sleepwalking leads to disruptive behavior or the potential for injury, treatment may be needed. It will focus on promoting safety and eliminating causes or triggers. Treatment may include:

  • Adjusting medication. Your physician may adjust any prescription medications if they believe your sleepwalking results from a drug.
  • Treating any underlying condition. If you are experiencing sleep deprivation or an underlying sleep disorder, your physician will treat it.
  • Medication. Certain antidepressants can help with sleepwalking.
  • Therapy or counseling. A mental health professional can suggest ways to improve sleep, sleep reduction techniques and relaxation.

Home Remedies For Sleepwalking

Sticking to a sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine before sleeping and stopping fluid intake before sleeping can help. Other suggestions include:

  • Making the environment safe. If sleepwalking has led to injuries, consider closing and locking all windows and exterior doors before bedtime. You can also place alarms or bells on the doors. Hide sharp objects out of reach, and lock up all weapons.
  • Establish a relaxing routine before bed. Calming activities before bed can help eliminate the likelihood of sleepwalking. Make the bedroom comfortable for sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol. Alcoholic beverages may be a trigger for sleepwalking and interfere with a good night's sleep.

Acupuncture for Sleepwalking

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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) provides a wide range of therapeutic applications. Acupuncture is a part of that tradition and can help address addiction points such as alcohol, and can also decrease stress and anxiety points.

A holistic approach, acupuncture treats the underlying cause of your sleep problems and cures both your symptoms and internal imbalance that is causing your sleepwalking. Your acupuncturist will investigate the energetic deficiencies that may be causing your sleep disturbances. Once a diagnosis is complete, you will receive an individualized acupuncture session.

TCM believes acupuncture is a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force (known as "chi" or "qi") through pathways in your body. By inserting needles into various points along the body, your energy flow will rebalance.

A typical acupuncture treatment involves three steps:

  • Needle insertion. Acupuncture needles are inserted to various depths at different points on your shoulder. When a needle reaches the correct depth, you may feel a mild aching sensation.
  • Needle manipulation. Your practitioner may either gently move or twirl the needles after placement. Or they will apply heat, pressure or mild electrical pulses to the needles.
  • Needle removal. The needles remain in place for 10 to 20 minutes while you lie still and relax. There is generally no discomfort when the needles are removed.

Many people seek acupuncture, and it is very effective when combined with conservative therapy and medical treatments.


Learn more about Acupuncture in our Chandler, AZ Clinic. Chiropractic, physical therapy, massage therapy, and acupuncture can be used alone or combined to enhance many types of treatments and injuries. Many people with chronic pain find significant relief when combining these treatments.