Given that we spend around one-third of our lives asleep, you'd think we'd have nailed it by now. However, for a lot of us (and presumably you, who clicked on an article explaining how to speed up sleep), going down for a snooze isn't a speedy process.
Hence many, many viral tips for trying to get some shuteye. One of the latest sleep tricks to do the rounds comes from TikTokker youngeryoudoc. In a video with over 25,000 likes, he explains that rubbing a certain spot on your wrist can help you to fall asleep more quickly.
The point he is asking you to press is referred to as HT7, or the Shenmen, in acupressure. As much as the word "acupressure" may make you want to instantly dismiss the hack as bunkum, the technique has actually been subject to scientific studies, albeit quite small ones.
One study in 2010 looked at using massaging this area on care home residents with insomnia. In a randomized trial, 50 participants were assigned to an experimental and a control group. 25 residents would receive acupressure on the HT7 area, while the other 25 would only receive light touches. Self-reported scores on sleep were taken before the intervention, during the five-week course of acupressure, and after the massages had stopped.
Those who had the actual massage experienced significantly more sleep and better quality sleep compared to the control group, as well as their own baseline. The effects lingered two weeks after the course had finished.
A second study in 2015 offered elderly people with dementia acupressure to this point over an eight-week period, to measure any effect on sleep. Though they note that the study was small, they did see some good results.
"After receiving the acupressure treatment, patients saw a significant decrease of sleep disorders," the team wrote in their paper.
"The number of hours of effective sleep was perceived as increased. Furthermore, the time necessary to fall asleep decreased significantly and also the quality of sleep increased. Additionally, also the quality of life was bettered. Sedative drugs have been reduced in all patients involved in the study."
While these studies are too small to be definitive – and we don't know that the results would apply to people who experience insomnia to a lesser degree, or whether self-massage would work as a substitute for therapy from someone else – they do suggest that for insomniacs the technique could be worth a try, at least.