Use Your Internal Body Clock to Find your Groove
CLICK HERE to download your own Circadian Rhythm Chart.
Why do you wake up in the middle of the night coughing when you're sick? Why does eating meat later in the day make you tired? Why does my child wet the bed always between 2 and 7am? Why should we ideally get to sleep before midnight? Why is it so common that heart attacks occur in the morning?
The above questions are best answered through the knowledge and wisdom of the interconnected Qi (energy) flow within all meridians and their natural circadian rhythms.
Meridians are channels in the body that Qi and blood flow throughout. The 12 primary meridians are the ones on which the majority of acupuncture points are located, with each meridian corresponding to its internal organ.
Circadian rhythm's are like our internal body clock, that during a 24 hour day, our qi is thought to move in 2-hour intervals throughout each of our organ systems. These two hour intervals are said to be the time that that particular organ is working the hardest to optimally perform its functions and responsibilities. 12 hours later that particular organ is deemed to be at its weakest and most vulnerable state. Clinically, I find that the two hour interval can extend for one to two hours before and/or after the two hour interval time. For example, while the two hour interval for the stomach is theoretically between 7 and 9 am, clinically I see that it is at its peak performance beginning around 5am and lasting up to 11am.
So now let's use our natural circadian rhythm's to answer the questions I posed above.
CLICK HERE to download your own Circadian Rhythm Chart.
- We wake up in the middle of the night coughing if our lungs are congested or weak in and around 2 to 6am because the lungs are working hard to fulfill their responsibilities of respiration and if they happen to be congested, their descending function is often impaired and while at its peak, the lung is fighting hard to repair itself and in that process can make you cough. If you happen to be coughing in the night your lungs most likely need some attention.
- Unless you are under the age of 25, you will likely notice that eating meat or protein after 5pm takes your energy more than gives it. This is simply because we are asking the spleen, pancreas and stomach to break down and transform and transport proteins at their weakest point. Digesting protein is an energy intensive task at the best of times and therefore protein should ideally be ingested at a time when those 3 organs are at their most capable point, between 7 & 11am. Perhaps there is something to be said for steak and egg breakfasts after all!?
I know this also totally goes against the fact that most of us eat our biggest meal in the evening after we get home from a busy day at work. Honestly I believe that the reason the vast majority of North Americans are overweight or even obese is because they eat their biggest, heaviest, usually most protein rich meal at night, not to mention "yummy" snacks after this.
Perhaps we can still cook at night because that's when we have time but eat the protein element of the meal the following day for breakfast or lunch. I learned so much living in Japan and the way that they organize their eating. Whether it is on purpose and around this theory I'm not sure but they always served their biggest, most protein rich meal in the morning, the classic meal being miso soup, rice and fish (so yummy).
- Clinically it is very common to hear children wetting the bed sometime between 2 and 7am, when the urinary bladder and kidney are at their weakest point. This is also a common time that adults are up to urinate in the night especially after menopause or andropause for men. As we age, our kidney energy naturally declines and weakens. Over the years of having the fortunate opportunity to work with several people through their midlife transition, I have seen how amazing acupuncture and Chinese medicine supports this natural dip making this transition very smooth and comfortable rather than some big traumatic event.
- As a rule it is good practice to be asleep by 11pm as this is when the gallbladder and liver do their work to restore the body for the next day. The liver has an enormous responsibility to store, filter and cleanse the body's blood so that we can attain optimal daily health. If we are up eating and drinking between 11pm and 3am on a regular basis our liver is clearly distracted by having to focus on digestion working harder than it would normally have to because the digestive system is at a rather weakened state during this time. The liver should be carefully concentrating on restoring the body's blood and other functions that the rest of the body relies on. The livers job is decidedly energy intensive and performs best when the body is resting. Getting to bed by 11pm more nights than not is definitely a lifestyle practice that your future and aging self will appreciate. Add alcohol to late nights on a regular basis and well now it's an even more complex conversation...
- Research suggests that heart attacks are most common between 6am and 12pm and usually more severe during this time. From a circadian rhythm perspective, this is likely due to the heart working hard to be at its peak performance and if at its highest endeavour the heart fails to perform optimally, the attack is typically more alarming.
These are just a few questions and answers to many queries that could be answered through the wisdom of our energy flow and our natural circadian rhythms.
In my upcoming course, Medically Empowered Women, I will be able to share and suggest many more insights around this practical theory and how you can use it to make decisions that optimize the health and well-being of you and your loved ones. I am very excited to wrap this course up and begin sharing ancient healing wisdoms that continue to address the health challenges many people face in the world today.