hand with pressure point
Sleep Health

What Are The Pressure Points For Sleep?

    Last Updated
    April 11, 2022
    min read

    No matter what position you sleep in, the wrong mattress could leave you with discomfort in specific areas of your body. Many people commonly wake up with aches in their shoulders, hips, or knees, and, less commonly, in their heels, ribcage, and tailbone.

    These are all known as your "pressure points", or the areas of your body that cause discomfort when you sleep on them. Finding the right mattress that relieves pressure on your body can help you achieve better sleep each night.

    Here, we discuss some of the most common pressure points for sleep, along with the acupressure points that purportedly alleviate pain and help combat sleep disorders.

    What Are Pressure Points?

    The term "pressure points" can often be confused with acupressure points. Though identifying both can help you achieve more restful sleep, it's important to make a distinction between the two.

    As mentioned, pressure points are the areas of the body that we tend to put firm pressure on when we sleep.

    Side sleepers put more pressure on their shoulders and hips, while back sleepers put more pressure on their tailbones. For stomach sleepers, it's the rib cage that takes the most amount of pressure after hours of sleep. In turn, this pressure can result in joint pain, muscle pain, and general discomfort the next day.

    Choosing the Right Mattress for Pressure Point Relief

    Pressure point relief is possible with the right type of mattress. Different types of sleepers require different levels of mattress firmness and different mattress materials.

    For side sleepers who put a lot of pressure on their shoulders and hips during sleep, the best mattress options are memory foam mattresses, hybrid mattresses, and latex mattresses with plush to medium firmness. This is because these types of mattress materials allow side sleepers to sink into the mattress and have their pressure points gently cradled as they sleep.

    For back sleepers and stomach sleepers, the best type of mattress is a medium to firm innerspring mattress, foam mattress, or latex mattress. Whereas a softer mattress works for those who prefer a side sleep position, those who sleep on their backs need something with more support. This keeps their spines aligned and helps them avoid neck pain, lower back pain, rib cage pain, and stomach pains.

    Purple's mattresses support your whole body, while flexing under your pressure points. Its innovative gel Grid™ is specifically designed to reduce pressure on the parts of your body that need support most.

    Shop Mattresses

    How To Use Acupressure Points

    In your search for a mattress that relieves your pressure points for sleep, you may have come across a similar topic: acupressure points.

    Acupressure ties into traditional Chinese medicine’s practice of acupuncture, which seeks to treat discomfort through strategically-placed acupuncture needles. The idea behind it is to place the needles in specific areas of the body to relieve pressure in those areas.

    An acupressure point is one that you create with your body rather than needles. Using the same ideology as acupuncture, acupressure involves using your fingers to tap into your body’s natural trigger points to achieve certain results.

    For example, an acupressure point on the chest, when massaged, may reduce stress or tightness that begins in the chest. If you want to fall asleep more easily or reduce your anxiety around sleep, the practice of acupressure may be able to help.

    Does Using Acupressure Points For Sleep Work?

    Although experts are still developing more concrete evidence on the effects of acupressure on sleep quality, promising studies have surfaced over the years.

    Several studies have found that acupressure may improve insomnia and other sleep issues in particular groups of people. In one study involving residents in long-term care facilities, acupressure on the HT7 point (which we'll explain later) is believed to help with insomnia for up to two weeks.

    Another study done on postmenopausal women struggling with insomnia found that the subjects' total sleep duration and sleep efficiency were increased while sleep latency decreased following four weeks of auricular point acupressure treatment.

    Acupressure doesn't just help improve the sleep quality of menopausal women, pregnant women, or the elderly, either. A recent study points to the potential efficacy of acupressure in pain relief. Cancer pain sufferers reported lower pain intensity and decreased analgesic use after acupressure therapy.

    Interestingly, acupressure may also be thought to fight fatigue on days you don’t get enough sleep. One study that involved students listening to college lectures showed that acupressure helped keep them stay stimulated and alert during lectures on the days they used it.

    The Best Acupressure For Sleep

    If you want to try to improve your sleep quality with acupressure therapy, you can start with the following acupressure points:

    Wind Pool

    Located on the back of your neck, the Wind Pool pressure points consist of two points that can be connected with a horizontal line just below your hairline.

    If you want to fall asleep faster, apply gentle pressure to these points simultaneously and massage your neck muscles with a light, circular motion for three minutes.

    Inner Frontier Gate

    This pressure point is found in your inner wrist, right between the two tendons in your wrist. As with the wind pool pressure point, applying gentle pressure and massaging in circular motions can help you fall asleep faster and gain more restful sleep.

    An Mian

    An Mian is another point that’s specifically for good sleep, translating to “peaceful sleep” in English. You can find the point right behind the ear, slightly above where the jutting part of your mastoid bone sits. Massaging it is thought to improve sleep and battle insomnia.

    Spirit Gate Or HT7

    The Spirit Gate point, or HT7, is found at your wrist crease just below your pinky finger. Gently massaging this area doesn't just help you doze off, it can also bring quality sleep, alleviate stress, depression, anxiety, and even reduce motion sickness. If ever you feel carsick and have trouble sleeping, apply light pressure on this point on your outer wrist for a few minutes.

    San Yin Jiao Or SP6

    For this pressure point, you may need a partner's help. You can also activate this pressure point before you sleep, sitting up with your feet on the bed so you can reach your ankle bones.

    Located at the top of your ankle where there is a depression in your tendons, this acupressure point is said to help alleviate insomnia, dysmenorrhea, and indigestion. It's even believed by some practitioners to induce labor!

    Yin Tang

    The Yin Tang acupressure point is located between the eyebrows. Applying pressure to this area can help those with sinus problems and migraines. It is also said to help reduce tension in the upper body, particularly in the jaw, neck, and shoulders.

    Taixi (KDT)

    Travel a bit further down from the SP6 spot and closer to your ankle bone and you'll find the Taixi pressure point. Massaging this point is said to provide improved sleep quality by making you feel more relaxed at bedtime.

    The Bottom Line

    You can incorporate acupressure therapy into your sleep hygiene practices to help you fall asleep faster. But if you want a greater reduction in sleep disturbance and fewer aches and pains in the morning, the solution boils down to finding a reliable mattress.

    Support is necessary not just for comfort but also for keeping your weight distributed evenly to avoid extra pressure on specific body parts. No matter what sleeping position you use most, a Purple mattress can help you achieve pain-free mornings and more restful sleep.

    Frequently Asked Questions On Pressure Points For Sleep

    Can pressure points help with insomnia?

    Yes, studies have shown that locating certain acupressure points and placing light and gentle pressure on these areas can reduce insomnia.

    How can I sleep faster?

    Practicing good sleep hygiene and finding the ideal mattress for your preferred sleep position can help you sleep faster.

    How do you put someone to sleep instantly?

    There is no magic solution to putting someone to sleep instantly. But by making the bedroom more conducive to sleep and practicing good sleep hygiene habits, you can encourage relaxation.


    About the authors

    April Seifert

    April has nearly a decade of writing experience, with 3+ years specializing in sleep content. Her work has been covered by sites like BuzzFeed, Entrepreneur, and Money Under 30. She has an M.A. in Magazine, Newspaper, and Online Journalism from Syracuse University and a B.A. in Communication Studies. As a self-proclaimed expert in all things cozy, she sleeps better at night, knowing her writing helps others sleep in comfort, too.