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Understanding Acupressure for Sleep and How to Use It Effectively

Studies show that insomnia has something to do with the brain. Fortunately, there are pressure points for sleep that can treat insomnia.

Stimulating acupressure points for sleep can restore energy balance throughout the body, thereby promoting sleep. This article will show how to effectively use pressure points for sleep.

Acupressure massage for sleep

What Are Pressure Points for Sleep?

good night's sleep. Acupressure points for insomnia function as an “off button” for the human brain to induce sleep. Instead of medication, sleep pressure points can improve various sleep parameters.

Do They Really Work?

Hands acupressure

In traditional Chinese medicine, acupressure has been used for centuries, and it has been proven to have excellent results. Although only a few studies back up how acupressure can provide health benefits, it is still a prevalent in-hand alternative method.

Many theorists believe that the positive outcomes of acupressure for insomnia are due to its healing, calming, and relaxation effects.

Some theorists believe that applying pressure or massaging pressure points for insomnia can stimulate the production of a hormone called cortisol. This hormone is called the “stress hormone” because it can control mood and decrease anxiety. It can also stimulate endorphin and serotonin production. These hormones can relieve pain and make people happier and calmer.

Insomnia can bring debilitating disorders, excessive sleepiness during the day, and decreased productivity at work. Try to stimulate pressure points that make you sleep to treat insomnia. Also, acupressure is safe if you want to put someone to sleep or help your baby to have an instant sleep.

Acupressure Points for Sleep and How to Stimulate Them

Stimulating pressure points for sleep can target the root causes behind why people have difficulty falling asleep. Some symptoms and conditions that sleep pressure points target include anxiety, headaches, muscle tension, and imbalanced hormones. Below we set out pressure points for sleep with pictures and provide information on how to stimulate them:
Wind Pool

Wind Pool

The wind pool is located at the back of the neck. It can be found by touching the mastoid bone and slowly moving the fingers to find the groove where the neck muscles are attached to the skull.

  • Locate the pressure point at the back of the neck.
  • Use the thumb to apply firm pressure from the pressure point to the skull. A circular or up and down movement can also be used on the area for four to five seconds.
  • While massaging the area, breathe deeply

Stimulating the wind pool can calm the mind and reduce stress. Both of these factors are important in achieving deep sleep. If you have respiratory problems, these points can minimize any coughing that interrupts sleep.

Inner Frontier Gate

Inner Frontier Gate

The inner frontier gate is located on the inner forearm, just below the wrist. To find this pressure point, measure three fingers below the crease of the wrist using the other hand. Then look for the gap between the two tendons.

  • The palm should be facing up.
  • Use the other hand to measure three finger widths from the crease of the wrist.
  • After locating the pressure point between the two tendons, apply steady, firm pressure downward.
  • A circular or up and down movement can be applied to the area for about four to five seconds.

Aside from helping people sleep, the inner frontier gate point can also relieve headaches, stomach pain, and nausea.

An Mian

An Mian

The An Mian is an acupressure point located on the sides of the neck. To find the point, place a finger behind each earlobe. Move the finger just behind the bodily protrusion.

  • Use the thumb or index finger to locate the point between the earlobe and hairline.
  • Massage the spot in a circular motion. Light pressure is enough.

The research found that massaging the Am Nian, together with other pressure points, may be effective in treating insomnia caused by depression. More intensive research might still be necessary to prove this. These points also relieve vertigo, headaches, stress, and anxiety.

Spirit Gate

Spirit Gate

The Spirit Gate can be found in the crease of the outer wrist below the pinky. To locate this point, you can use your thumb to seek the tiny bone in the wrist in line with the pinky. The point is in between the hollow point of the bone and ligament.

  • To stimulate the Spirit Gate, find the small hollow space between the bone and ligament.
  • Put gentle pressure on the area using a circular or up and down motion.
  • Massage the area for two to three minutes.
  • Maintain gentle pressure on the left side of the point for a few seconds, then on the right side.
  • Perform the same procedure in the same area, on the other hand.

Stimulating the spirit gate is believed to calm the mind, which in turn will help in falling asleep. It is believed to treat insomnia and improve sleep directly.

San Yin Jiao

San Yin Jiao

The San Yin Jiao or Spleen 6 (SP 6) is located on the lower calf above the ankle. It is located four fingers (or three inches) above the bony prominence of the inner ankle. The point is found at a slight dip between the two tendons.

  • Sit in a comfortable position and place the ankle in an area you can reach.
  • Locate the area using four fingers.
  • Massage the area from the shin bone to the calf while taking ten long slow, deep breaths.
  • Do the same on the other leg. It can be done a few times a day.

The research found that this acupressure point can improve women’s general health because it can balance hormones. Balancing hormones in the body can calm the mind, decreasing stress levels, anxiety, and insomnia.

Note: It is essential to know that the San Yin Jiao can stimulate labor. If it is stimulated before the due date of delivery, labor can be induced prematurely.

Yin Tang

Yin Tang

The Yin Tang, or third eye, is located at the center of the eyebrows, above the nose.

  • Use the thumb or index finger to locate the point.
  • Apply light pressure on the point for about one minute.

Stimulating the Yin Tang induces sleep by increasing melatonin production. Its ability to decrease tension on the neck, jawline, forehead, and shoulders can help people fall asleep. This point is also helpful in relieving migraines.

The Yin Tang point is also considered one of the best acupressure points to relieve obstructive sleep apnea. With this sleep disorder, a sufferer experiences episodes in which they stop breathing while sleeping. The most common remedy for this condition is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). The sufferer needs to sleep with a face mask every night as the required machine continuously supplies oxygen. However, this condition can also be relieved with acupressure.

Taixi (KDT)

Taixi (KDT)

The Taixi, or KD 3, point is located just above the heel of the foot. To locate this point, start from the sole, then point the fingers upward, then inward toward the bony prominence of the ankle. The point is in the small deep between tendons before the ankle ball.

  • Locate the point using the thumb or index finger.
  • Apply gentle but consistent pressure to that point.
  • Repeat the procedure on the opposite foot.

It is believed the Taixi can be used to treat insomnia. A 2014 study found that stimulating the Taixi, or KD 3 point, and the HT 7 point improved the sleep quality of adults with hypertension. It also lowered their blood pressure.

Another condition that can be improved by stimulating the Taixi or KD 3 is narcolepsy or excessive sleepiness during the day. A sufferer of this condition will fall asleep during inappropriate times due to the failure of the brain to regulate the sleep pattern.

Who Should Avoid Using Acupressure for Insomnia?

Although acupressure for insomnia is safe and non-invasive, there can be a few side effects if the person has underlying medical conditions. People who should avoid acupressure for insomnia include:
  • Pregnant women. Some acupressure points in the body can induce labor. If those areas are stimulated, it can result in premature delivery. Those areas can only be stimulated when the woman is already due for delivery.
  • Heart conditions. Stimulation of specific acupoints can lead to a decrease in blood pressure and even worsen circulation.
  • Previous cerebrovascular accident (CVA) or stroke.
  • Ruptured tendon in the acupressure point.
  • Open wound or bone fracture near the pressure point to be stimulated.
  • Tumor or cancer on the pressure point to be stimulated.
  • Varicose veins.
  • Spinal cord injury.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.

If you have the conditions listed above or other circulatory conditions, it is best to consult your physician before starting acupressure therapy.

Pranamat Eco mat

Stimulating Sleep Acupressure Point with the Help of Pranamat Eco

A Pranamat Eco set, which consists of a pillow, massage mats, and storage bag, is useful for stimulating different sleep acupressure points. This set is excellent for providing relaxation, self-healing, and improved sleep. It can also stimulate other pressure points that can relieve stress, pain, and more.

Final Thoughts

Pranamat hand acupressure

Having enough sleep is essential for maintaining good mental, emotional, and physical health. Sleep is also necessary for recovery from physical exertion as the body repairs itself when it is asleep.

Aside from having a healthy diet and a sleep schedule, stimulating pressure points for sleep can be beneficial. However, while some people can see immediate results, some will need several acupressure sessions. Be patient and consistent with the therapy, and let your body reap its benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some pressure points for sleep include Wind Pool, Inner Frontier Gate, An Mian, Spirit Gate, San Yin Jiao, Yin tang, and Taixi.

A few studies have shown the positive effect of acupressure on improving sleep. Although some points will not directly induce sleep, their ability to relieve stress, calm the mind, and provide relaxation can help in improving sleep.

There are several acupressure points for sleep. Aside from those mentioned above, other pressure points can improve sleep by relieving other symptoms.