Acupressure Points for Insomnia
I have trouble falling asleep, or
I can fall asleep, but then I wake up through the night!
Waking up in the middle of the night is called insomnia, and it's a common problem. Mid-sleep awakenings often occur during periods of stress. Over-the-counter sleep aids rarely offer significant or sustained help for this problem.
To help stay asleep through the night, try some of these strategies to relieve insomnia:
Establish a quiet, relaxing bedtime routine. For example, drink a cup of caffeine-free tea, take a warm shower or listen to soft music. Avoid prolonged use of electronic devices with a screen, such as laptops, smartphones and ebooks before bed (I know! That's a tricky one for sure!)
Relax your body. Gentle yoga or progressive muscle relaxation can ease tension and help tight muscles to relax.
Make your bedroom conducive to sleep. Keep light, noise and the temperature at levels that are comfortable and won't disturb your rest. Don't engage in activities other than sleeping or sex in your bedroom. This will help your body know this room is for sleeping.
Put clocks in your bedroom out of sight. Clock-watching causes stress and makes it harder to go back to sleep if you wake up during the night.
Avoid caffeine after noon, and limit alcohol to 1 drink several hours before bedtime. Both caffeine and alcohol can interfere with sleep. (Again, tricky!)
Avoid smoking. In addition to smoking being a major health risk, nicotine use can interfere with sleep.
Get regular exercise. But keep in mind, exercising too close to bedtime may interfere with sleep. (Try first thing in the morning or at lunch break)
Pay attention to your body's natural bio-feedback. Your body will tell you that it is winding down, getting tired and when you identify that you are starting to feel drowsy, it is time to go to bed.
Wake up at the same time every day. If you experience increased awake time during the night, resist the urge to sleep in.
Avoid daytime napping. Napping can throw off your sleep cycle.
If you wake up and can't fall back to sleep within 20 minutes or so, get out of bed. Go to another room and read or do other quiet activities until you feel sleepy.
When to Seek Medical Advice?
Sleep is crucial for your physical and mental health.
Regularly not getting enough sleep is linked to a range of health problems, including:
weakened immune function
decreased cognitive function
If you have insomnia that lasts for more than a few weeks, make an appointment with your doctor. You may have an underlying condition that needs treatment. In some cases, insomnia is caused by a medical condition such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome or chronic pain, or by a mental health disorder such as depression. Treatment for one of these underlying conditions may be necessary for insomnia to get better. Also, treating insomnia may help depression symptoms improve faster.
If you keep having sleep problems, talk to your doctor, who will determine the cause and best treatment for you. Your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist or may prescribe medication. Strategies to try to get your sleep patterns back on track may be part of the treatment process or recommendations.
There is something else you can try, and you may be pleasantly surprised to see how effective massaging certain acupressure points can be. There are a number of key pressure points on your body that can help you fall asleep faster—or help your current sleep become deeper and more restorative. Touching these pressure points is known as acupressure, acupuncture’s DIY cousin. Like acupuncture, the traditional Chinese medicine practice relies on stimulating certain points in the body to redirect energy and promote wellness. The main difference between the two is that, while acupuncture stimulates body points with needles, acupressure relies on touch to get the job done.
Before you begin this acupressure treatment for insomnia, take 3 deep cleansing breaths. Inhale, through your nose and exhale deeply, out through your mouth. Next, warm up your body with a few stretches, above your head and side to side.
As you press each point, be aware of your breath.
With each point, use your thumbs or fingers to apply a firm but gentle pressure, move in a small circular or up-and-down motion for about 60 seconds to 2 minutes on each point. This entire sequence of points will take you about 15 minutes to complete. Remember to breath smoothly and close your eyes.
Try my Eight Beautiful,
Acupressure Points to Help you Sleep!
This is a great point for calming the mind in preparation for sleep. The point is used in the clinic to reduce anxiety as well. Feel for the small, hollow space in the area of your wrist. It's in line with your pinky on the palm side. It might feel a little nervy so be gentle. and apply gentle pressure in a circular or up-and-down movement. Make sure to do both wrists, one at a time.
This is an excellent point for sleep and other emotional problems. In addition to insomnia, this point helps with menstrual cramps and digestive distress. To find the point locate the highest point on your inner ankle. Count four finger widths up your leg, above your ankle. Apply deep pressure slightly behind your biggest lower-leg bone.
Warning! Don’t use this pressure point if you’re pregnant, as it is also used for inducing labor.
3. An mian (Does not lie on any Meridian Line)
This point actually translates to peaceful sleep. It is a common point for insomnia. It is also indicated for headaches, heart palpitations and emotional distress.
The An Mian points are on either side of the neck. To find them, place a finger behind each earlobe, and move the fingers just behind the bony protrusion.
Light pressure is sufficient.
4. Tai Yang - Sun Point
About 1.5 inches away from your eyebrows, this point can be found in the depression of your temples. This is an excellent point to calm the mind, relax facial and jaw tension, and reduce headaches.
It is a great point to prepare yourself for bed. It can be used throughout the day if you’re feeling overwhelmed. The point is located right at the temples.
They can be tender, so start slowly.
5. Yong Quan - Kidney 3 -
This point is often referred to as a grounding point. The idea is to help you feel stable and supported. This helps prepare us for sleeping soundly. The points name translates as bubbling spring.
It is located on the sole of your foot. It’s the small depression that appears just above the middle of your foot when you curl your toes inward. The point is large and easy to find. It is not used often in the clinic as the skin is very sensitive to a needle but your fingers will feel great. Your partners fingers will feel even better!
Lie on your back with your knees bent so you can reach your feet with your hands.
Take one foot in your hand and curl your toes.
Feel for the depression on the sole of your foot.
Apply firm pressure and massage this point for a few minutes using circular or up-and-down motion.
6. Neiguan - Pericardium 6 - Inner Frontier Gate
In addition to being an effective point for helping you to sleep and stay asleep, P-6 is also great to relieve nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy.
This pressure point is located between the two tendons on the underside of your forearm, just above the wrist. You can find it by placing three fingers right at the wrist joint and feeling around at that spot. You should be able to feel—and in some cases even see—
the two tendons clearly.
Apply pressure between them. It’s possible to buy wristbands that will keep pressure on the P6, all night long. A more cost-effective approach is simply to scotch-tape a kidney bean to the spot.
7. Feng Chi - Gallbladder 20
Gates of Consciousness - Wind Pool
In addition to being an effective point to stimulate for sleep, GB20 is recommended for headache, migraine, eye blurriness or fatigue, low energy, vertigo, shoulder and neck pain, stiffness, epilepsy, cold and flu symptoms.
Locate Feng Chi by feeling for the mastoid (ear) bone and following the groove back to where the neck muscles attach to the skull.