Insomnia is a serious problem for many people in the U.S. In fact, according to the Sleep Foundation (1) over half (58%) of Americans have symptoms associated with insomnia every week.
Instead of reaching for sleeping pills, a great alternative for insomnia is acupressure. In Milan, Italy, a study at the San Gerardo Hospital (2) reported that acupressure was effective in allowing patients with insomnia to get better, quality sleep.
Here are a few acupressure points to focus on if you need help falling asleep.
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What is Insomnia?
Insomnia isn't always the inability to sleep at all. Often, people can't fall asleep quickly enough. They have trouble staying asleep. They might also awaken without feeling as if they had a restorative sleep.
When you have insomnia, it can cause problems getting to sleep, staying asleep, and/or sleeping as long as you would like. It's a serious issue that can lead to widespread health effects from sleep deprivation.
What Causes Insomnia?
There are a variety of factors that can cause insomnia including stress, an irregular sleep schedule, poor sleeping habits, anxiety, depression, physical illnesses, pain, medications, and neurological problems. For many people, it is a combination of several things that leads to their insomnia.
How do Pressure Points Help You Sleep?
Acupressure can help to give your body balance, reduce stress, and even physical pain which in turn can help you sleep better. It's a low-risk alternative to medicines, so it's safe for most people to try. Still, it's a good idea to consult your doctor before adding acupressure to your routine.
Different pressure points correspond to different aspects of physical and mental health. To use a pressure point, apply gentle but firm pressure with the hand, fingers, fist, or a massager.
Pressure Points to Help You Fall Asleep
1. Shimien Point
This point can be found on the bottom of the foot and is actually known as the insomnia point. Trace a line from each of your ankle bones to down the bottom of the foot.
Where the lines meet in the middle of the foot is where you can find the Shimien. It's ahead of the heel and it can be sensitive. You might need to use a light pen mark to trace from the ankle to the foot to find the correct spot. Massage the point gently.
You could also try using acupressure sandals.
The Neiguan point is said to be the inner gate to calming the spirit. It promotes relaxation, which is always a boon to a restful night's sleep.
This point can be found near the wrist. It's the depression where the tendons are in the wrist. Apply light pressure on this spot for relaxation. You might want to tape something hard there to experience relief while you sleep, too.
RELATED: 5 Best Acupressure Mats Reviewed
With all the pressure points available on the head, the Anmien is the only one related to a restful sleep. This point is available near the ear. It's in the depression where the neck muscles meet the jaw in front of the ear.
This pressure point requires two finger pressure for as long as twenty minutes to find relief, but it's incredibly effective for being calm and relaxed enough for sleep. Press the index finger and thumb in the depression at the jaw and neck muscles to experience that calm you need.
This point is known as the spirit gate since it's reported to regulate the energy and path to the heart. Dian Dincin Buchman (3), an expert in holistic treatments, says that Shenman is located below the pinkie finger at the wrist. If you trace down from the pinkie to the wrist, you'll find the spot where you can place the thumb of your other hand.
You don't need to press this point for very long. After 20 seconds of pressure to reduce your energy levels, you'll be ready for restorative sleep.
This visual guide from YouTube will help you find pressure points to help you fall asleep instantly.
In this infographic you'll find additional acupressure points for falling asleep faster.
Infographics by AcupressurePoints.net
Note: Your pillow also plays a key role in the quality of sleep that you get. Check out our recommendations for the best pillows based on your sleeping position.
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