Around 58 percent of Americans experience insomnia-like symptoms each week, reports the National Sleep Foundation. These symptoms include waking without feeling refreshed, having trouble staying asleep and not being able to fall asleep quickly. If you have trouble with sleep, before you reach for medication to help you get a good night's rest, try acupressure. A study by the San Gerardo Hospital in Milan, Italy found that it was an effective way to help insomniac patients get longer sleep of better quality.
Neiguan, also known as the inner gate, is a pressure point to calm the spirit and promote relaxation. Known as the most effective pressure point for sleep problems, Neiguan can be found by placing three fingers at the base of the wrist and feeling for the natural depression between the tendons located there. Apply steady pressure to help you feel more relaxed and less bound. For all night relief, try taping a kidney bean to the pressure point for continuous relief.
Shimien is known as the insomnia pressure point and is found on the bottom of the foot. You can locate it by drawing a line from each ankle bone to the sole of your foot, just ahead of the heel. Try it with a pen first to find the exact point where the lines intersect; you can apply pressure to this spot to help relieve your sleeping problems. It should be the most tender place on your foot, so take care in applying the pressure; it shouldn’t hurt.
Shenmen is also known as the spirit gate, and it is said to regulate the pathways and energy to the heart. Holistic expert Dian Dincin Buchman notes in her book, “The Complete Guide to Natural Sleep,” that Shenmen is found below the base of the smallest finger, by the crease of the wrist. Use the thumb of your opposite hand to apply pressure for 20 seconds in the area to depress energy levels in preparation for natural, effective sleep.
Anmien, the peaceful sleep pressure point, is the only sleep-related pressure point found on the head. You can apply pressure to the point directly before the ear, along the tender portion before your neck muscles meet your jaw line. To use this pressure point effectively, press your index and middle finger firmly into the depression for 15 to 20 minutes until you begin to feel calm, relaxed and ready for sleep.
- Sleep Foundation: Sleep in America
- Minerva Med. 2008 Dec;99(6):535-7.: Efficacy of HT 7 Point Acupressure Stimulation
- The Complete Guide to Natural Sleep: Dian Dincin Buchman, 1995
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.