Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders and is difficult to completely treat because of the undesirable side effects of hypnotics. The present study was designed to investigate the hypnotic effect of acupuncture stimulation at HT7 on caffeine-induced sleep disorders and locomotor activity in rats. We also evaluated neuronal activity changes in the arousal region of the basal forebrain. Rats received intraperitoneal injections of caffeine, and then electroencephalogram power spectrum analysis and locomotor activity measurements were performed. Stimulation at HT7 was performed using a mechanical acupuncture instrument (MAI) before caffeine injection, and its effects on caffeine-induced changes in sleep architecture, locomotor activity and c-Fos expression were examined. Caffeine injection (7.5 mg/kg) produced a significant decrease in slow-wave sleep and an increase in wake time compared with saline injection. Caffeine injection also increased locomotor activity and c-Fos expression in the medial septum-vertical limb of the diagonal band of Broca (MS-VDB), one of the arousal regions of the basal forebrain. Stimulation at HT7 with the MAI alleviated the caffeine-induced sleep disturbance and the increase in locomotor activity. In addition, MAI treatment at HT7, compared with treatment at a location not corresponding to any traditional acupuncture point, reduced the caffeine-induced increase in c-Fos expression. These results indicate that the hypnotic effect of HT7 acupuncture stimulation on caffeine-induced insomnia was associated with suppression of neuronal activity in the basal forebrain.