Insomnia is one of the most common health conditions affecting millions of people around the world. Insomnia makes it difficult for an individual to fall asleep and remain asleep. The disorder prevents numerous individuals from getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of good sleep a day.
Some individuals have short-term insomnia that lasts for a few days to a few weeks, whereas others might have chronic insomnia that tends to last for even months.
A frightening statistic released by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) reveals that 60 percent of the US population tends to experience the symptoms of insomnia once a week at least. In 2016, a whopping $41 billion was spent on sleeping remedies and aids in the US – a statistic that is likely to cross the $52 billion mark by 2020.
Notwithstanding the frequency of insomnia, acupuncture may well offer substantial relief. In general, acupressure for sleep includes the use of pressure applied physically for stimulating certain specific points on your body that are associated with various aspects of your mental as well as physical health.
You can perform acupressure alone or under the guidance of a licensed acupuncturist. Walkthrough this brief post to understand the top 4 pressure points for sleep that can help you get rid of insomnia without consuming harmful sleeping pills.
Can Acupressure make you sleep?
Acupressure is a traditional Chinese treatment that is being practiced by a large number of people around the world for thousands of years. Though it has been around many decades, experts have just recently started evaluating the effectiveness of this alternative treatment method.
As per the concepts of this Chinese therapy, an uneven spread of the qi (energy) within our body can act as a trigger for insomnia. Therefore, you can rectify this imbalance by applying firm pressure on specific acupoints that correlate with the disorder – hence, helping the qi to flow naturally through the body and preventing episodes of insomnia(1). Also, acupressure can treat several other secondary factors that lead to insomnia such as anxiety.
While the majority of existing studies related to sleep and acupressure are small, the results are relatively promising.
How does Acupressure Therapy Work?
The concept behind acupressure is to facilitate a superior flow of energy (called qi) around our body, along with regulating and balancing the forces opposing positive (yang) as well as negative (yin) energy in the body. It claims that an increased amount of spiritual as well as bodily ailments results from the issues with balance and flow of energy.
Insomnia is a condition characterized by unclear physical causes and, therefore, treating insomnia can be a daunting task. Owing to this, the real reasons and factors behind insomnia are emotional and spiritual and, therefore, you can treat insomnia efficiently and effortlessly with acupressure therapy, instead of generally-used Western prescription medication.
Applying the Right Amount of Pressure for Right Sleep
Your thumb or the middle finger is generally the best fingers for applying pressure on the acupoints for insomnia because they are typically the strongest.
Press firmly but gently on the acupoints given below so that you experience a moderate discomfort but not intense pain that can be unbearable. Since most acupressure(2) points are typically tender, you can easily know when you’ve hit the right point. You can gently massage the acupoints; however, make sure not to rub it severely.
Apply constant firm pressure for around 1 to 2 minutes twice daily. Make sure you do it on both the sides of your body.
Acupressure Points for Sleep
Now let’s take a look at the most popular and effective pressure points for insomnia or sleeplessness:
1. Spirit Gate
You can find the spirit gate acupoint at your outer wrist’s crease, right below the pinkie finger.
To cure insomnia:
- Start with a feeling for the hollow, small space in the region and apply firm but gentle pressure with up-and-down movement or in a circular action.
- Continue for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Now gently hold the left end of this point with and apply moderate pressure for some 5 to 8 seconds – repeat by holding the right end.
- Repeat the process on the same region of the other wrist.
By stimulating this acupoint, you can soothe and calm your mind, hence prompting a sound sleep.
[Read: Yoga to Fight Insomnia]
2. Three Yin Intersection
You can find the Three Yin Intersection acupoint on the inner leg, right above the ankle.
To cure insomnia:
- Find your ankle’s highest point.
- Count a four-finger width above the ankle – up your leg.
- Apply firm but gentle pressure marginally behind your largest lower-leg bone (also known as tibia), massaging it with up-and-down or circular motions for some 4 to 5 seconds.
Along with treating insomnia, stimulating this acupoint can also help treat menstrual cramps and pelvic disorders.
3. Bubbling Spring
You can spot the bubbling spring pressure point on the sole of your feet. It is the little depression right above the mid of your feet that is easily visible on curling your toes inward.
To cure insomnia:
- Lie down on your back and bend your knees so that you can easily stretch your hands to touch your feet.
- Hold one foot in the corresponding hand and bend your toes.
- Notice the depression of your foot on your sole.
- Apply firm but gentle pressure and mildly massage this pressure point for some 2 to 4 minutes in up-and-down or circular motion.
Stimulating the bubbling spring pressure point is known to ground your qi (energy) and induce sound sleep.
4. Inner Frontier Gate
You can find the inner frontier gate pressure point easily on the inner forearm, right between the two tendons.
To cure insomnia:
- Slowly turn your hands over, making your palms face up.
- Take one of your hands and count a three-finger width down from the crease of your wrist.
- Apply a moderate and steady pressure downwards between the two tendons.
- Use an up-and-down or circular movement or massaging the region for some 4 to 5 seconds.
Along with inducing sound sleep, this pressure point also helps treat headaches, stomach pain, and nausea.
How often should you practice acupressure for sleep?
Make sure you continue practicing the acupressure techniques discussed in this post twice a day, daily for successfully treating insomnia and associated symptoms.
Expect seeing positive results soon enough after the first 5 to 7 days. Continue the practice for a minimum of 2 months to bring about a significant transformation in your daily sleep pattern, and feel free to practice these techniques frequently.
Pros and Cons of Acupressure for Sleep
Acupuncture does have several measured advantages that deeply interest people suffering from acute or chronic insomnia or sleeplessness. For example,
- It encourages blood flow and relaxes your muscles.
- Acupressure for sleep may well turn out to be a pleasant and calm experience. Similar to massage, acupressure makes your body feel good.
- Another advantage is the instant availability of acupuncture since it can be performed for free, at any time, at home, on the self!
While it has several major advantages, there are certain demerits associated with acupressure. For example,
- There is significant skepticism regarding the overall efficiency of acupressure, specifically for curing several critical health conditions such as severe infection and various chronic diseases.
- Acupressure is considered expensive and takes a lot of time to help you recover from your problem.
- If not done under proper guidance or with appropriate knowledge, then acupressure may have severe side effects on your body.
- Lastly, acupressure is not considered as conventional medicine so it may have a different effect on different people. Some may get benefited earlier while in some cases it may take longer than expected.
Insomnia or sleeplessness is a common and deeply-upsetting disorder affecting millions of people around the world. Most individuals face the perils of insomnia at some point in their lives. Acupressure for insomnia is one of the most preferred alternative treatment to relieve the symptoms associated with acute or chronic sleeplessness without any adverse effects.
If you’re fed up of taking sleeping pills that do more harm than good to your body, then give acupressure a try for 15 minutes daily before going to bed for a minimum of 1 to 2 months – and rest assured, you won’t be disappointed.
Simply make sure to identify the underlying cause behind chronic insomnia. Consult your physician before using acupressure for sleep to find out whether or not it’s safe for you, depending upon your existing medical condition.