What It Means If You Rub Your Feet Together Before Falling Asleep

We all have sleep rituals. Maybe we have to shower before bedtime or we've gotten used to reading a few pages from the book we're currently into. For others, it might mean leaving your phone in a different room of the house, switching off the TV, and winding down with absolute peace and quiet. For some others, it might be something more physical like rubbing their feet together before drifting off to sleep.

"Cricketing" or rubbing one's feet together, has often been associated with a form of anxiety relief, so perhaps you turn to this bedtime habit to help you sleep when you're away from home. But it's not just the anxious sleeper who turns to cricketing, per the experts. Rubbing your feet together can be a common practice for many people, even when there's no anxiety in the picture. 

The name itself comes from what the insects — crickets — do to produce sound, they rub their leathery front wings together. Psychotherapist Dr. Michelle Di Paolo told Sleepopolis that self-soothing habits like cricketing are similar to other things people might be doing to get to sleep, like bouncing their knees up and down or twirling locks of hair in their fingers. What can cricketing be doing for you?

Rubbing your feet together could be helping you unwind

Our skin is very sensitive to stimuli and rubbing your feet together is one way in which you can reap the reward of stimulating sensitive nerve endings on your feet. 

Comparing cricketing with hand-warming techniques like rubbing your hands together or blowing into them, Dr. Paolo shared that such physical movements can activate "the parasympathetic nervous system resulting in immediate cardiovascular relaxation and other stress hormone benefits" (via Sleepopolis).

Getting to sleep in a relaxed manner is a lot about mindfulness too. This is probably why some people count their breaths. Rubbing your feet together might also help you stay in the present and consciously focus on your body, which is something clinical psychologist, Dr. Lauren Kerwin told Well+Good. "Those who cricket while they fall asleep, which is common, do so often to improve their sensory processing of their body lying down with blankets around them in a dark and quiet space," explained Dr. Kerwin. 

It might simply mean you enjoy how the repetitive movement feels

There's something to be said of repetitive movements like rubbing your temples or someone running their fingers up and down your spine that bring stress relief. Perhaps, the same can be said about rubbing your feet together. Dr. Kerwin told Well+Good that "some evidence suggests that repetitive motions can stimulate the release of feel-good neurotransmitters [like oxytocin] and endorphins, which are natural painkillers produced by the body." 

Licensed acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist, and physical therapist, Eileen Li told Bustle that rubbing your feet together before you go to sleep just so happens to hit the spot when it comes to two acupressure points. You're stimulating the LV3 or Liver 3 located on the dorsal side of your foot (top side) between your first and second toes and the KD1 or Kidney 1 which is located on the plantar surface (the bottom of your foot) between the second and third toes, according to the acupuncturist. 

"It can help alleviate tension, improve blood circulation, and provide a sense of comfort and well-being," shared Li. We all know there are surprising things your sleep habits can reveal about your health. If you're prone to rubbing your feet together under the covers, it might mean you're prone to anxious thoughts at night or it might simply mean you're looking for mindful comfort before falling asleep.