Background: Insomnia is a significant health problem in the community. Self-administered acupressure may be an alternative strategy to alleviate insomnia.
Purpose: This study is the first to investigate the effects of acupressure delivered through a training course in alleviating insomnia disorder compared with sleep hygiene education.
Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted on 200 participants with insomnia disorder. The eligible participants were randomized into the acupressure or SHE group. Both groups attended the allocated training courses (two sessions, 2 h each) and then were followed up at weeks 4 and 8.
The primary outcome was the severity of insomnia symptoms and related daytime impairment as measured by the Insomnia Severity Index. Other measures included a 7-day sleep diary and actigraphy, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and Short-Form Six-Dimension.
Results: The acupressure group showed a significantly greater improvement in Insomnia Severity Index score than the sleep hygiene education group at week 4 (mean difference: -1.89 units, 95% CI: 0.85, 2.93; Cohen’s d = 0.51, p < 0.001) and week 8 (mean difference: -2.89 units, 95% CI: 1.67, 4.11; d = 0.67, p < 0.001).
In addition, the acupressure group showed a greater reduction in the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale anxiety score and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale depression score and increase in Short-Form Six-Dimension at week 8.
Conclusions: Acupressure taught in a short training course is a feasible and effective approach to improve sleep and related daytime impairment and mood problems in individuals with insomnia disorder.