Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated acupuncture (alone or combined with other treatments) compared with no treatment, placebo or basic medical therapy for patients with insomnia were eligible for inclusion. Outcomes of interest were duration and quality of sleep using validated instruments.
Interventions in the included studies included acupuncture (body, auricular acupuncture, electroacupuncture, acupressure and acupoint injection), acupuncture plus conventional medication or herbal medication. Comparators included no treatment, sham acupuncture, medication or herbal medicine. The number of acupoints ranged from two to 20. Total treatment duration ranged from two days to 10 weeks. Most participants were diagnosed with primary insomnia. Other participants had insomnia post stroke, experienced depression, were in remittent stage of schizophrenia, had cervical spondylosis, end-stage renal disease and drug addiction. Disease duration ranged from 10 days to 40 years. Participant ages ranged from 13 to 85 years. Outcome assessments varied between studies and used a variety of tools, which included Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Self-rating Depression Scale, Self-rating Anxiety Scale, Asberg Rating Scale, monitoring questionnaires, Sleep Dysfunction Rating Scale, Hamilton Anxiety Scale, SF-36, Piper Fatigue Scale, Beck Depression Inventory and Leeds Sleep Evaluation Questionnaire. Adverse effects were assessed. Most studies were published in Chinese; the English-language studies were conducted in Taiwan and Korea.
Two reviewers independently selected studies for inclusion.