Improve your sleep with a Japanese energy technique

(Thanks to max_thinks_sees)

I love sleep, more than perhaps someone my age should. In high school, my mother thought I had caught mono since I was napping so often and I used to openly state that I would turn down intimacy for a full night of sleep. My girlfriend is thankful that I’ve grown past this.

Later, I developed a mild bit of insomnia that kick-started my research into “body hacks” as I call them. In my searching, I learned of an ancient Japanese energy trick that puts me to sleep nearly as fast as any sleep aid I’ve ever used. It’s so simple, you might not believe how well it can work to help you drift off to dreamland.

This energy work goes by the name Jin Shin Jyutsu which is similar to modalities like acupuncture and shiatsu. While this can be used to relax at any time, this finger exercise has helped me best at the end of the day:

1. Gently grasp your left thumb with your right hand. The goal here is to think about lightly wrapping rather than gripping with your fist.

2. Loosely hold this for about a minute.

3. Repeat on your index finger, slowly working down the digits before switching to gripping the fingers on your right hand with your left fist.

While this sounds deceivingly simple, the first time I tried it I didn’t even make it to my right hand. To this day I’ve only made it through all 10 fingers a handful of times and even then I’m more relaxed then when I started. Thanks to Dr. Scott La Pidus, M.D. for exposing me to this technique.

6 thoughts on “Improve your sleep with a Japanese energy technique

  1. Apparently this works with headaches as well, or so my special man friend tells me. I noticed him doing something like this a few weeks ago, and then I read this, and I brought it up to him. He’d never heard of it as a sleep aid, but mentioned that he’d heard it helped headaches. (Hit or miss success rate, so he says.)



    It’s really a technique for general relaxation; the reason I specified sleep is because my brain is usually bonkers at night. I suspect it helps the special man friend with tension headaches, hence the hit or miss.

  2. Interesting technique, lol. I like to use my time in bed to think about business and my future. I figure why waste productive thinking time! I obviously don’t have a sleeping problem though… (unless I take a caffeine supplement after 6pm)

    1. Fit (can I call you Fit?),
      I like this technique and some fiction before bed. What it tends to do for me is simply give a focus that isn’t all the rambling thoughts in my head. Meditation has helped the latter, but it still happens. Once I’m asleep, I have no trouble staying there, as evidenced by the 10 hours I slept Saturday night.


  3. this sounds really cool, but by what physiological mechanism could this possibly work? I know body temp lowers at night, so *warming* your hands wouldn’t seem to put you to sleep or relax you by this circadian mechanism. I would think this only serves to distract you from your monkey mind (via externalizing your attention and thoughts) in the same way meditation does. but that doesn’t point to a physiological mechanism, it only speculates as to a psychological mechanism and I don’t think that is a satisfying scientific answer.

    1. It is a very psychological trick but the physiological response of the relaxation is real. There are studies of acupressure on patients post-stroke. The results are positive and the result of reduced heart rate and possible blood pressure reduction indicate a possibly physiological mechanism to the sleepiness the follows:

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