Acupuncture for Distrubed Sleep in Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


Name: Heather King

Rank: CDR

Organization: University of San Diego

Performance Site: University of San Diego, CA

Year Published: 2012

Abstract Status: Final


This study seeks to examine whether the use of an auricular acupuncture regimen improves sleep quality for OEF/OIF veterans with PTSD and self-reported sleep disturbance. Our approach is to conduct a small scale feasibility study to test the acceptability and efficacy of an auricular acupuncture regimen for sleep disturbance among OEF/OIF veterans with PTSD. Differences in objective and subjective sleep measures will be compared between groups before and after an auricular acupuncture intervention. Additionally, PTSD symptoms and depressive symptoms between groups will be compared before and after an auricular acupuncture intervention, and weekly during the study period. 

Specific aims include:

Aim#1: Compare acupuncture acceptability between groups utilizing a Likert 1-5 scale, and examine the feasibility of an auricular acupuncture intervention study by utilizing a consort diagram to track subject disposition throughout the study period.

Aim #2: Compare objective (actigraphy data) and subjective sleep measures (PSQI, sleep diaries) at baseline and at five weeks in OEF/OIF veterans with PTSD who receive auricular acupuncture in conjunction with standard PTSD therapy or standard PTSD therapy alone.

Aim #3: Compare PTSD symptoms (PCL-M) and depressive symptoms (PHQ-9) at baseline and at five weeks in OEF/OIF veterans with PTSD who receive auricular acupuncture in conjunction with standard PTSD therapy or standard PTSD therapy alone.

Aim #4: Compare PTSD symptoms (PCL-M) and depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 scores) weekly during the study period (baseline, weeks one, two, three, four, and five) between OEF/OIF veterans who receive auricular acupuncture as compared to those that receive standard PTSD therapy alone.

The proposed study is innovative in that it utilizes a sleep specific auricular acupuncture regimen to examine feasibility and efficacy on sleep quality among OEF/OIF veterans. The work of this study supports important scientific inquiry for improving sleep quality among veterans, and has incorporated rigorous research methods. Investigating novel treatments to improve sleep quality among veterans addresses TriService Nursing Research Program’s priority of Force Health Protection by promoting scientific inquiry of the treatments offered to OEF/OIF veterans entrusted to our care.


Final Report is available on NTRL: