Best Acupressure Points for Sleep: Quick Relief from Insomnia

Best Acupressure Points for Sleep

Do you know lack of sleep can cause deleterious health consequences?

As per the data estimate in 2022, about 31% of adults in the United States admit that they have trouble falling asleep.

Good quality sleep is essential for feeling rested and being healthy. Sadly, many of us struggle to get enough rest, whether it’s because of stress, bad habits, or health issues like sleep apnea.

Sometimes, we might even rely on medications or other artificial aids to help us sleep, but these can have risks and side effects.

So, what can be a natural solution? The answer is acupressure.

By gently applying pressure to specific points on the body, acupressure helps promote relaxation and healing. It makes you fall asleep faster and enjoy a deeper, more rejuvenating rest.

First, let’s talk about what acupressure is!

What Is Acupressure?

Acupressure is an ancient form of therapy that’s been used for thousands of years, especially in China. It combines the principles of acupuncture and pressure. Essentially, specific points on the body, called “acupoints,” are stimulated manually.

This can be done using fingers, palms, elbows, feet, or specialized tools. The underlying concept is that energy flows along specific pathways in the body called “meridians,” which also connect various organs.

Acupressure aims to clear any blockages along these meridians to restore balance. It’s commonly used to alleviate chronic muscle pain, headaches, nausea, and sleep problems.

How Does Acupressure Cure Insomnia?

Acupressure aims to enhance the flow of energy (qi) throughout the body and maintain a balance between positive (yang) and negative (yin) energy. It suggests that many physical and spiritual ailments stem from imbalances in energy flow.

When it comes to insomnia, which often lacks clear physical causes, treating it can be complex. Acupressure suggests that because insomnia is often linked to spiritual and emotional issues, it can be effectively addressed through this technique rather than relying solely on Western medication.

Insomnia affects millions globally and can be triggered by various factors such as stress, anxiety, and chronic pain. According to a recent study, insomnia is the most common sleep problem in the United States, affecting around one-third of people.

Acupressure helps tackle these underlying issues by promoting relaxation and alleviating pain.

One way acupressure aids sleep is by reducing stress and anxiety. Applying pressure to specific points activates the nervous system, inducing deep relaxation and lowering cortisol levels. Cortisol, a stress hormone, can disrupt sleep, so reducing its levels can lead to improved sleep quality. Acupressure also aids in quieting the mind, allowing for easier sleep initiation.

Additionally, acupressure enhances circulation, addressing issues like restless leg syndrome that can disturb sleep.

By stimulating pressure points connected to the circulatory system, acupressure improves blood flow and fosters a more peaceful night’s rest.

So, whether you’re grappling with stress, chronic pain, or sleep disorders like insomnia, acupressure provides a holistic means to promote relaxation and overall well-being.

Know more about Restless Leg Syndrome’s interplay with insomnia!

What Pressure Points Put You To Sleep Instantly?

Acupressure involves application of pressure to certain points on the body. Each point links to a different body part. Effective pressure points are those that have a calming effect, which helps to relieve anxiety and stress.

To get the most benefit from acupressure, it’s crucial to understand which pressure points to focus on and how to apply pressure to those points correctly.

Here are the best pressure points for enhancing sleep:

10 Best Acupressure Points for Sleep

1. Gallbladder 20 (GB 20) – Fengchi

The GB 20 pressure points are located where the top of your neck meets the base of skull.

These points can help relieve insomnia, neck pain, stiffness, and headaches. By stimulating these points, you can reduce stress, and improve your sleep quality. Additionally, it may alleviate coughing and other respiratory issues that disturb your sleep.

To apply pressure to the Fengchi points:

  • Interlock your fingers and clasp your hands together with your palms facing you.
  • Place the cupped shape of your hands over head and rest your palms against the back of head. Your thumbs will be free to apply pressure and massage the GB 20 points.
  • Instead of circular movements, you can also massage up and down in these areas for effective relief.

Learn more about the effect of acupuncture at Fengchi Point (GB 20)!

2. Governor Vessel 24.5 (GV 24.5) – Yintang

Acupressure points sleep

This specific acupoint is highly effective for addressing sleep apnea and sleep problems triggered by a stressed or anxious mind. It works by soothing the mind, easing tension in the central nervous system, and alleviating feelings of anxiety, depression, fear, panic attacks, and insomnia. Additionally, it can provide relief for sinusitis.

You can find this acupoint between your eyebrows, where the bridge of your nose meets forehead. Simply apply gentle pressure to this area with your finger or thumb for about 45 seconds.

3. Stomach 36 (ST 36) – Three Mile Point

ST 36 point can be found easily at home. It’s located about 4 finger widths below the bottom of kneecap and one finger width to the outside of your shinbone. This particular pressure point can help with various issues like stress, nausea, knee pain, stomach discomfort, and digestion problems.

To use this acupressure point effectively:

  • First, locate it by measuring the distance from your kneecap and confirming the area by moving your foot up and down.
  • Once you’ve found it, you can use thumb or index finger to apply firm pressure. Massage the point in a circular or up-and-down motion, but make sure to keep the pressure steady and avoid lifting your thumb or finger from the skin.
  • Aim to massage the point for about one to two minutes to experience its benefits.

Learn about the Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Acupuncture at ST36 Point!

4. Spleen 6 (SP 6) –San Yin Jiao

SP6, also known as San Yin Jiao, is a point that can potentially aid with insomnia, menstrual cramps, urinary issues, and certain pelvic problems.

To locate this point, start by finding the highest part of your ankle on the inner side of your leg. Then, measure 4finger-widths upward from the top of your ankle. Apply firm pressure just behind the bone above your ankle.

This routine has improved sleep and overall quality of life for participants. However, research has shown that pregnant women should avoid using the SP6 point.

To apply pressure, simply use your index finger and press firmly on the point for a few seconds.

5. Pericardium 6

The PC 6 pressure point can be found on the inside of your forearm, about 3 finger widths away from your wrist crease. Pressing on this point can help ease insomnia, anxiety, and nausea by calming your mind. It’s especially known for relieving motion sickness symptoms.

Studies also suggest it can help manage nausea from anesthesia and surgery.

Here’s how to give it a try:

  • Hold your hand up with your palm facing you.
  • Use the first 3 fingers of your other hand to measure 3 finger widths across your wrist, just below your palm.
  • Place your thumb just below where your 3 fingers are.
  • Apply gentle pressure with your thumb until you feel 2 large tendons.
  • The PC 6 pressure point is right there, in the center of your lower wrist. Apply gentle pressure to this spot.
  • Repeat the process on your other wrist.

6. Kidney 1 (KD 1) – Yongquan

This acupressure point can address various concerns such as night sweats, trouble sleeping, rapid heartbeats, sudden hot flashes, restlessness, and feelings of unease. It can also aid with queasiness, throwing up, feeling lightheaded, neck tension, headaches, constipation, and more.

To find it, start by curling your toes and locating the hollow area beneath the ball of your foot, between the second and third toe bones. This point, known as KD 1, lies along the middle line of your foot’s sole.

Trace one-third down from the middle line towards your toes or two-thirds up from your heel. Once you’ve found it, apply gentle yet firm pressure.

7. N-HN 54 – Anmian or Peaceful Sleep

Peaceful Sleep already suggests its purpose: to improve your sleep quality. It’s designed to help ease insomnia and other sleep-related problems.

To use it effectively, locate the Anmian points situated behind both ears at the base of the skull, where the jawline meets the neck muscles. Using your finger, gently slide diagonally up and back about one centimeter toward the base of your skull until you find the Anmian point.

Once located, apply circular pressure slightly upward under the skull, making 100 circles. You should feel a deep, soothing sensation, promoting relaxation and comfort.

You can enhance the comfort by adding in a pressure-relief mattress to your bedroom. For a more comfortable and peaceful sleep, invest in quality mattresses!

8. EX-HN 5 – Taiyang or Great Sun

The Taiyang pressure points sit right on your temples. When you’re feeling stressed, you might naturally rub these points. People often find relief from pain like migraines, tension headaches, eye discomfort, and even toothaches by stimulating these points.

Here’s how to locate them:

  • Start by drawing an imaginary line between the outer edge of your eyebrow and the corner of your eye.
  • Then, gently feel along that line towards the side of your head until you notice a slight dip in the bone.
  • EX-HN5 (Taiyang) is right in the middle of this dip. It’s often tender to touch, especially if you’re experiencing temporal headaches. Many find relief by applying acupressure to this spot.

Waking Up With Headache? Try Sleeping Without A Pillow!

9. Conception Vessel 17 (CV 17)

The CV 17 pressure point is located in the middle of your chest, right where your sternum dips in. You can find it at the same level as your nipples. By applying pressure and gently stimulating this point, you can alleviate feelings of anxiety and stress.

It’s beneficial for managing panic attacks, chest congestion, and heart palpitations. Many people find it helpful to use this technique to unwind and release the tension accumulated throughout the day before bedtime.

To activate this point, you can use gentle finger pressure directly on the spot or simply rest your palm on or over it.

10. Heart 7 (HT 7) – Shenmen

The HT 7 acupressure point is found by tracing your pinkie finger down to a small hollow in the inner wrist. Pressing on this point can ease insomnia, as well as feelings of anxiety and stress.

It’s also helpful for reducing irritability and chest palpitations. To locate it, gently bend your hand forward and locate the crease on the side closest to your pinkie finger.

Apply mild pressure to this spot for 15-30 seconds. You can switch between your left and right hands for 3-5 minutes at a time and repeat this a few times daily or as needed.

Learn more through the clinical application single acupoint (HT7)!

What’s More?

There’s yet another acupressure point that can improve your sleep. Read on.

  • Large Intestine 4 (LI 4) – Hegu

The LI 4 pressure point sits on the back of your hand, right in the groove between your thumb and index finger. People often massage this spot to ease anxiety, headaches, and neck pain. Giving it a little attention can help you relax before bedtime.

Here’s how to find it:

  • Hold your hand with your fingers pointing up and the back of your hand facing you.
  • Use the thumb of your other hand to press into the space between thumb and index finger. That’s your LI-4 pressure point.
  • If you’re having trouble locating it, simply squeeze your thumb and index finger together, and you’ll feel it.

If you’re looking to improve your sleep, it’s a good idea to try acupressure on the points mentioned above before bedtime. To do this effectively, it’s important to understand the acupressure technique.

Here’s how you can do it by yourself effectively:

Self-Acupressure Techniques for Better Sleep – Simple Steps!

Acupressure points sleep

  1. STEP 1: Use thumb or index finger to apply gentle pressure on the acupoint, enough to move the skin.
  2. STEP 2: Massage the point in slow, circular motions.
  3. STEP 3: Gradually increase the pressure with each rotation, allowing your muscles to relax. If there’s no muscle tissue under the acupoint, apply pressure slowly.
  4. STEP 4: You shouldn’t feel pain, but some mild discomfort is normal.
  5. STEP 5: Maintain the pressure for at least a minute.
  6. STEP 6: If needed, take a short break and then repeat the process.

Another effective method is to lie down on an acupressure mat for a few minutes before bedtime. Regular use of acupressure mats reduces perceived stress. These acupressure mats benefitfrom stimulating multiple acupressure points on your body simultaneously, promoting relaxation and better sleep.

Before you understand how acupressure can help you sleep better, it’s important to know why getting good sleep is vital for overall health.

Let’s talk about the importance of sleep health. Keep reading!

How Important Is Sleep Health?

Sleep is incredibly important for our health. Sleep is crucial for body’s repair and rejuvenation. While we sleep, bodies release hormones that help in cell and tissue repair. Plus, our muscles and bones get the chance to relax and recover.

When we don’t get enough sleep, our immune system weakens, inflammation increases, and the risk of chronic health issues like obesity, diabetes, and heart issues goes up.

Now, onto mental health. Sleep is vital for our brain’s functions. While we sleep, our brains process and store memories, which is essential for learning and retaining information. Without enough sleep, our cognitive abilities suffer, mood swings can occur, and the risk of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression increases.

Beyond the physical and mental benefits, sleep also contributes to our overall well-being. Getting sufficient sleep can boost our energy levels, reduce stress and anxiety, and enhance mood, leading to an overall sense of happiness.

Are you having trouble sleeping?

Read our top 10 tips to sleep better!

Let’s discuss the symptoms, types, and potential reasons behind your sleep difficulties!

Understanding Sleep Disorders & Sleep

 Symptoms, Types, and Causes

There are various types of sleep problems that can affect the quality of sleep and leave you feeling tired during the day. While symptoms can differ depending on type and how severe it is, common signs include:

  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Feeling tired during the day
  • Take naps often
  • Feeling anxious or irritable
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Struggling at work or school
  • Weight Gain
  • Feeling depressed

Sleep disorders can stem from various situations and health issues. These factors can include:

  • Physical factors like pain
  • Medical conditions such as asthma
  • Mental health issues like stress, anxiety, as well as depression
  • Environmental factors such as extreme light, noise, and extreme temperatures
  • Age-related challenges affecting both young and old individuals
  • Lifestyle habits like drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, or consuming alcohol
  • Medications that might lead to sleep problems or daytime fatigue.

Now, let’s delve into some of the most typical sleep disorders and the reasons behind them.

1. Insomnia

Insomnia means having trouble falling asleep or waking up often during the night or early in the morning. It leads to getting less sleep and can affect how you function during the day.

There are different types of insomnia:

  • Short-term: lasts a few nights
  • Intermittent: comes and goes
  • Chronic: happens regularly for at least a month

The reasons for insomnia vary and can cause different types. Things like jet lag, certain illnesses, stress, drinking too much coffee or alcohol, smoking, or taking certain medications can lead to short-term insomnia.

Long-term insomnia can be caused by ongoing stress, anxiety, depression, or other sleep or mood disorders.

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For example, the Helix Midnight mattress collection is one that suits all sleeping styles. Moreover, couples can try opting for Nolah Evolution.

2. Circadian Rhythm Disorders

Your body has its own internal clock which is called the circadian rhythm, which controls your sleep and wake cycles, among other things. Factors like exercise, exposure to light, and certain habits can either speed up or slow this internal clock, leading to sleep disruptions.

There are different types of circadian sleep disorders, including:

  • Jet lag: When your body’s clock is out of sync due to traveling across different time zones.
  • Adjustments to shift work: Working irregular hours that conflict with your natural sleep-wake cycle.
  • Delayed sleep phase syndrome: Feeling compelled to go to bed and wake up later than usual.
  • Advanced sleep phase syndrome: Feeling the need to go to bed and wake up earlier than usual.

Know more about Circadian Rhythm sleep disorders! Understanding disorders can help you identify and manage your sleep issues effectively.

3. Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Snoring and sleep apnea happen when something blocks your airways, making it hard to breathe while you sleep. This blockage can be due to allergies, asthma, or problems with your nose shape.

But the main reason for sleep apnea is when the muscles in your throat relax, stopping air from getting into your lungs easily.

With obstructive sleep apnea, you might wake up often during the night because your body struggles to clear the blockage in your airway. This means you don’t get enough good sleep, which can really affect how you feel during the day.

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4. Parasomnias

This type of sleep disorder involves unusual movements and behaviors while you’re asleep. These actions can wake you up, either directly or indirectly, and they can disrupt your sleep quality.

Some examples of these sleep disturbances, known as parasomnias, include sleepwalking, talking in your sleep, groaning, experiencing nightmares and night terrors, bedwetting, and grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw.

The reasons behind each of these sleep disorders can vary, ranging from psychological factors to environmental influences.

Know important facts about parasomnias!

5. Sleep Changes during Pregnancy

Pregnancy can affect your sleep due to hormonal shifts and changes in your emotional state. In the first trimester, hormones might make you feel tired. But as your pregnancy progresses, various factors like having a larger belly, feeling excited, anxious, or having vivid dreams can make it hard to sleep.

If you’re struggling to sleep during pregnancy, it’s a good idea to talk to an acupressure specialist. They can advise if acupressure might help you. However, it’s generally recommended to avoid acupressure during pregnancy because certain pressure points could potentially trigger labor.

Are you experiencing trouble sleeping during pregnancy? Get a Saatva mattress or choose from the 5 best mattresses to sleep on during pregnancy!

Some research indicates that acupressure can release endorphins and benefit conditions like depression and anxiety. Additionally, studies suggest that acupressure could help alleviate fatigue and improve mood. Is it worth considering for you? Let’s discuss it!

Does Acupressure Really Work For Sleep And Insomnia?

Acupressure, a technique rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine, has been utilized for centuries to address insomnia and various sleep-related issues.

While there haven’t been extensive studies on the effectiveness of acupressure specifically for sleep problems, the research conducted so far is promising.

For instance, one study found that stimulating a specific point known as HT 7 helped alleviate insomnia symptoms for up to 2 weeks following 5 weeks of acupressure therapy.

Similarly, another study observed improvements in both sleep duration and quality after 4 weeks of acupressure treatment for women experiencing postmenopausal insomnia.

Although the number of studies is limited, their findings suggest that acupressure could be a beneficial approach for managing insomnia. Importantly, none of the studies have reported negative outcomes, making acupressure a potential avenue worth exploring for improving sleep quality.

While acupressure offers many advantages, it also comes with some positives and negatives. Let’s explore them together!

Pros of Acupressure

Acupressure offers specific advantages that might catch the attention of people struggling with insomnia.

  • It helps to relax muscles and promote better blood circulation, which can aid in improving sleep.
  • Similar to massage, acupressure provides a pleasant sensation for the body, enhancing the overall experience.
  • One notable perk is that acupressure is easily accessible. You can practice it on yourself at home, and it doesn’t cost anything.

Cons of Acupressure

  • Some doubt the effectiveness of acupressure, especially for treating chronic diseases and infections. However, there’s evidence suggesting it could aid in managing abstract conditions like insomnia.
  • People with conditions such as arthritis should be careful with acupressure to avoid aggravating their condition.
  • Another issue with acupressure is its lack of regulation, leading to varying quality of treatment depending on where you seek it.

Acupressure is a safe and non-invasive technique that anyone can use on themselves. However, there are some precautions you should be aware of before trying.

Important Precautions for Acupressure

Here are situations where you should avoid trying acupressure on yourself:

  • If you’re pregnant, certain acupoints might stimulate labor.
  • Avoid acupressure on areas with scar tissue.
  • Steer clear if you have varicose veins.
  • Don’t apply acupressure on wounds, swelling, or damaged skin.
  • If you have conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, bone disease, or spinal injury, it’s best to avoid self-treatment.

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It’s wise to consult with an acupressure specialist before attempting self-treatment. However, while acupressure may offer benefits, it’s crucial to remember it’s not a substitute for professional medical care.

If you suspect you have a sleep disorder persisting for more than a few nights, it’s essential to get advice from a healthcare professional.

Know when you should seek medical help!

When Should You See a Doctor About Insomnia?

If you’ve tried acupressure for about 3-4 weeks with no improvement, it might be a good idea to consult a doctor. They can check for any underlying medical problem that could be affecting your sleep.

Additionally, they may suggest medications that could be more effective for you compared to herbal remedies.

In some cases, your doctor might refer you to a sleep specialist if your sleep problems persist. These specialists can conduct tests to understand the root cause of your insomnia by monitoring your brain waves during sleep.

If you’re pregnant or dealing with other medical conditions, it’s especially important to seek guidance from a doctor before using acupressure or any other remedies. They can provide personalized advice on what’s safe and appropriate for your situation.

Hence, if you’re struggling to sleep, whether it’s due to stress, anxiety, depression, or simply feeling restless, consider trying acupressure for relief.

Curious to know what is the link between sleep, anxiety, and depression. Read on!

Additionally, here are some natural tips to help you improve your sleep quality!

Top 4 Tips To Sleep Better Naturally

Here are some simple techniques that can help you relax and improve your sleep:

1. Tip 1: Gentle Stretching

Stretching your legs and arms while gently massaging your back and neck can help relax your muscles and promote sleep.

2. Tip 2: Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Try tensing and then releasing muscles throughout your body, starting from toes and moving upward. This can help release tension built up during the day.

3. Tip 3: Hot Bath

Taking a hot bath before bed can gradually raise body temperature and then rapidly cool it down, which is very soothing for both your muscles and mind.

4. Tip 4: Yawning

Actively inducing yawning can signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down, helping you fall asleep faster.

Give these techniques a try to see what works best for you in improving your sleep quality.

FAQs about Acupressure and Sleep

Q1. What pressure point should I press for better sleep?

  • There’s a special spot called Anmian point located just behind your ear, about 1 centimeter behind the middle of it. If you apply gentle pressure to this point for about 10 to 20 seconds a few times, it can help improve your sleep.
  • Another helpful point is called San Yin Jiao, also known as SP6. Research has shown that stimulating San Yin Jiao can enhance sleep quality, especially for those struggling with insomnia.

Q2. What massage is most effective for insomnia?

  • Swedish massage is widely favored in the Western world. It’s gentle and incorporates techniques such as long strokes, kneading, and circular motions to help your body unwind and relax.

Q3. Which acupressure points for sleep can help with sleep apnea?

  • Specific acupoints such as REN23, LU7, ST40, EX9, LI11, and DU20 can help with sleep apnea. Acupuncture has shown to be a dependable and cost-effective treatment for OSA. It could serve as a viable alternative to CPAP, which is commonly used, or even be more effective in managing the condition.

Q4. Is the pressure point for anxiety and insomnia known as “Hot 7”?

  • Shenmen (HT7) is a key spot on the Heart meridian. It’s known to boost blood health and soothe inner tension. This makes it great for addressing issues like stress, anxiety, insomnia, and heart palpitations.

Q5. What is the Chinese acupressure point that can help with insomnia?

  • This point is called Anmian. To stimulate it, place your finger or thumb on the Anmian and gently apply circular pressure upward beneath the skull. Repeat this motion around 100 times. You might feel a deep ache initially, followed by a sense of relaxation.


  1. Yeung, W.F., Yu, B.Y.M., Chung, K.F., Zhang, Z.J., Lao, L., Ho, F.Y.Y., Suen, L.K.P. and Ho, L.M., 2022. Self-administered acupressure for insomnia disorder: A randomized controlled trial. Phytomedicine, 99, p.153993.


  1. Lee, J.H. and Park, H., 2021. The effect of auricular acupressure on sleep in Older adults with sleep disorders. Journal of Korean Gerontological Nursing, 23(2), pp.117-128.


  1. Jang, M. and Park, H., 2020. The effects of auricular acupressure on sleep disorder in the elderly: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of the Korea Academia-Industrial cooperation Society, 21(6), pp.116-126.



This information offers general advice and should not replace professional guidance. It’s not meant to diagnose sleep or health problems. Before making any changes to your routine, it’s important to consult a healthcare expert for personalized advice and assistance.