Treating Insomnia with Acupressure

by Martin Reed Patient Advocate

Acupuncture is often used to find relief from insomnia. But what if needles aren’t for you? Another option is acupressure, which stimulates points on the body by pressure from hands or instruments. No needles are involved. Here's what you need to know to get started.

How Does Acupressure Help Insomnia?

Acupressure is a traditional Chinese practice that has been used for generations to treat insomnia without medication or side effects. Like acupuncture, it targets points along meridians or pathways that connect different parts of the body. When insomnia is a result of an underlying medical condition such as back pain, anxiety or depression, targeting points on the body related to the conditions may help a person find some relief.


This point promotes relaxation and calms the spirit. It is thought to be the most effective pressure point for sleep. To find this pressure point, place three fingers at the base of your wrist. There is a natural depression located there between the tendons. Once you locate it, apply steady and firm pressure to it.


This point, located on the bottom of the foot, is also known to target insomnia by relieving certain sleeping problems. Locate the point by drawing an imaginary line from each ankle bone down to the sole of the foot. It's just in front of the heel.


The Senmen pressure point to relieve insomnia can be found on the wrist, but can also be found on the ear and massaged, as a way to sedate the mind and ease stress. But because it is so small, it’s mostly treated by needle therapy. To locate the wrist shenmen for sleep, locate the base of your pinky finger by the crease of your wrist and apply pressure.

Acupressure safety tips

Acupressure should not hurt. When pressure is first applied, you may feel a tender or dull ache, but that generally dissipates, and many people report a change to a good feeling occurring in the area. The length of time that pressure should be applied is up to you, but anywhere from 15 seconds to a minute or two per pressure point is ideal.

Closing Thoughts

These are just a few of the areas that can be targeted with acupressure. If you think that acupressure would be of benefit to you, schedule a few treatments with a trained practitioner. Keep in mind, acupressure is meant to be a whole body experience. Treatments won't just target your insomnia, but will be tailored to your specific health and issues.

Martin Reed
Meet Our Writer
Martin Reed

Martin is the creator of Insomnia Coach, an eight-week course that combines online sleep education with individual sleep coaching. His course helps clients improve their sleep so they can enjoy a better life with more energy and start each day feeling happy, healthy, rested, and refreshed. Martin also runs a free sleep training course that has helped over 5,000 insomniacs. He holds a master’s degree in health and wellness education and studied clinical sleep health at the University of Delaware.