New Research Reports EFT Effective Treatment for Insomnia

Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night?  Do you often find yourself tossing and turning, watching the clock in frustration while anxiously anticipating how tired you will be the next day?  If so, you are not alone.  In our modern, fast-paced world insomnia is an ever-growing problem.  An estimated 70 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep difficulty, with about 10% of the population suffering from severe, chronic, debilitating insomnia. The problem is even more prevalent in our senior population, with over one-half of adults over 60 reporting chronic sleep issues.

Good sleep has profound, far-reaching benefits on health and well-being, which are not fully appreciated until you have experienced a time when this natural function eludes you.  Sleep loss generally leads to fatigue, low energy, difficulty concentrating, mood disturbances, and decreased performance during the day – not to mention anxiety, frustration, loneliness, and feeling out of control at night.

So what has traditionally been done to ease restless sleepers?

By far the most common choice in our society is medication.  Sleeping pills are being prescribed at an unprecedented rate – more than 30 times as often as they were twenty years ago.

But sleeping pills are not a good long-term solution.  At best they mask symptoms for a short time, but as the body develops a tolerance to the drug, they generally lose effectiveness.  Along the way they disrupt the body’s natural sleep cycles and chemistry, often causing unpleasant or even dangerous side effects and/or withdrawal symptoms.  They also do not address any of the causes of insomnia, so eventually the problem is likely to recur.

One of the most popular non-drug treatments is sleep hygiene education (SHE), which offers guidelines around habits, behaviors, and life style choices that affect sleep.  Some common SHE recommendations include sleeping in a cool, dark quiet room, monitoring caffeine and alcohol intake, getting regular exercise and daily exposure to sunlight, and going to bed and getting up at the same time every day.   If the original problem stemmed from too much caffeine, staying up too late playing computer games, or napping too late in the day, and the person now chooses different behaviors, this could effectively solve the problem.  But for many people, the root of the problem is stress, and while most SHE programs acknowledge that stress is associated with insomnia, most do not offer a specific method to address it.


One approach that helps alleviate both the effects — and more importantly, the root causes — of stress is Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).  EFT is a mind-body technique that combines the ancient art of acupressure with modern psychology.   It involves tapping on meridian points, which is calming to the nervous system, while mentally focusing on specific issues that cause stress or discomfort. This simultaneous effort can neutralize the effects of stress on the body, which can show up as physical or emotional pain or other symptoms including insomnia.

A new study performed at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, Korea compared the effectiveness of Sleep Hygiene Education (SHE) directly against Emotional Freedom Techniques adapted for a geriatric population (EFT-I) in treating insomnia in an elderly population. Twenty women over the age of 60 (average age 78), who were diagnosed with insomnia but who were not using multiple sleep medications, were randomly divided into two groups.  Both groups participated in eight 1-hour group sessions over a four week period led by trained professionals, with one group receiving EFT-I and the other SHE. They also received workbooks, cassette tapes and players and were asked to listen to the tape and follow the instructions at least once a day. Follow-up measurements were taken 5 weeks and 9 weeks after the treatment period had ended.  In this study EFT-I outperformed SHE and was shown to be more effective at treating insomnia.  In the words of the authors, EFT should be considered by clinicians as an effective treatment for insomnia.

These results do not surprise me as I spent 28 years cycling in and out of debilitating periods of insomnia.  During that time, I followed everybody’s well-meaning advice on how to get a good sleep.  I tried warm milk, warm baths, soothing music, melatonin, acupuncture, lavender pillows, prescription sleeping pills, and all the good advice of SHE, but nothing seemed to work.  My sleep issues were directly tied to stress and until I learned to deal with both the symptoms AND the causes of my stress, I was doomed to be stuck indefinitely on the hamster wheel of insomnia, and no behavioral recommendations, suggestions, or rules were going to help me.  EFT is not only a tool literally right at your fingertips to manage current stress in the moment it is happening, but it is a powerful tool to deactivate past stressful events that are still wreaking havoc on the nervous system, even if these events happened decades ago and no longer seem to be relevant in your life.


Once I learned to use EFT to effectively manage my current stress, clear out the energetic blocks from past stressful events, and consistently sleep well, my life improved immediately and dramatically.  Not only did everything seem easier and more manageable, but more joyful and fun!  It is now my mission and passion to share this remarkable work and help others move beyond insomnia and reclaim their dreams.


Jennifer Jackson

Certified EFT Practitioner and Recovered Insomniac


For more information on using EFT for insomnia, visit my website at

To view the research citation and abstract Click Here