With cold & flu season already underway, it is more important than ever to prioritize sleep. Getting good quality sleep and enough sleep is critical for rebuilding and recovering from activities of daily life, working out and other physical strains placed on the body.
If we don’t get enough sleep or our quality of sleep lacking, we cannot recover fully and our mental and physical acuity is lowered. Healthy sleep also helps to develop healthy neuroplasticity. Below are some tips for getting the best sleep possible, followed by acupressure points that can be safely used at home.
Try to avoid eating at least 3 hours before you go to bed (especially sweets). This gives your body a chance to digest food earlier in the evening so you don’t end up with indigestion. This is especially important when it comes to sweets, as sugar causes blood sugar to spike making it hard to fall asleep. It is also good to avoid caffeine, especially 6-8 hours before you go to bed.
Getting enough exercise is a great way to combat insomnia. If you exercise at night, try to do so at least 2-3 hours before bedtime so you have enough time to truly unwind and let your body’s cortisol levels drop
A good pre-sleep routine and a clean sleeping environment is also important. Consider avoiding screen time before bed if possible, keeping your room clean and free from dust, and using a humidifier for the winter’s dry air. Noise and light should also be at a minimum.
Ideally, sleeping temperature should be set to about 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows for your body to enter deep sleep. Lower temperatures reinforce the body’s natural instinct to fall asleep and help with melatonin production. The ability to enter deep sleep helps with stress reduction, stable energy throughout the day, and even weight loss.
Acupressure Points for Sleep
- Anmien - This point is located about 1 inch behind the ear lobe, at the junction of the base of the skull and the mastoid process, on the neck. It is also referred to as the “peaceful sleep” point and is a master point for treating insomnia and calming the mind. Using both thumbs, apply firm pressure for 2-3 minutes to each point using circular motions. This point can be stimulated while lying on your back in bed.
- Heart 7 - This point is located on the palmar side of the wrist crease, on the ulnar side, just radial to the styloid process. This point is on the heart meridian, and nourishes the heart while calming the mind. It is a great point for stress, palpitations and for when you are having a hard time falling asleep. Using one hand press on the opposite wrist’s point for 1-2 minutes using circular motions and then switch.
- Yintang - This point is located directly between the eyebrows. This point calms the mind and promotes sleep and relaxation. Using your index finger, gently massage this point in a circular motion for 1-2 minutes.