Unless you are the most chilled-out person on the planet, chances are you wake up at odd times in the night every so often. It’s an annoying occurrence, especially when you have a big meeting the next day or you’re just hours away from a long-haul flight to your vacation destination. Yep, not a great time for tossing and turning!
In these cases, it’s easy to chalk the sleepless experiences up to next-day jitters, a snoring partner, or even too many sweet treats before bedtime. And, while all of those theories do hold water, there is one school of thought that has investigated the phenomenon more deeply—and with some pretty intriguing results to boot…
Traditional Chinese Medicine dictates that there is something called an “organ clock.” Like a wall clock, the organ clock has 12 points, with each representing the time of day that your organs are functioning optimally. The thought here is that, if your body wakes you up at a certain time, then it means that one of your organs is in need of some support. Here’s how it works:
Pericardium (7-9 pm)
Folks who turn in on the early side can fall asleep faster if they nurture this accessory organs system. At this time, be gentle with your body, as well as your mind. Read a book. Cuddle with your partner. Meditate or get on the floor to do some light stretching. Once you turn off those lights, you’ll be raking in the ‘zzzzzs’.
San Jiao (9-11 pm)
Traditional Chinese Medicine states that those who aren’t snoozing at this time are putting stress on their second accessory organs system, otherwise known as the San Jiao. On the organ clock, this 2-hour window is the best time to go to sleep. Good to know!
Waking up during this time could mean that your gallbladder isn’t getting the love that it needs. Remember, this is the organ where bile is produced, so if perturbed, it could mean that your body is having difficulty breaking down fats. In addition to this, TCM says that the organ is central to your self-esteem, so if it fails, your perception of yourself can deteriorate. No bueno.
Waking up during this period on the organ clock could mean that you are holding onto a lot of anger, something that usually will do you no good in the middle of the night! These emotional symptoms tie into, and can eventually lead to, medical conditions such as irregular menstruation, anemia, chronic fatigue, and headaches.
From an emotional standpoint, waking up at this time of night means that you are dealing with unresolved grief or sorrow of some sort. This means that your lungs are not going to be as resilient as they normally would be. According to TCM, this does a number on the immune system, causing increased coughing, sneezing, wheezing, and worsening asthma symptoms.
Large Intestine (5-7am)
Do you ever find yourself waking up just before your alarm sounds? If so, try going straight to the toilet next time! Believe it or not, this is the best time of day to have a bowel movement. TCM says that the large intestine represents the “letting go” of both physical and emotional hindrances. Who knew?
Now, it goes without saying that there isn’t always a lot of cooperative studies between the Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western medicine communities, which means that your doctor may stare back at you with a blank face if you make mentions of “organ clocks.”
We suggest always taking your trusted GP’s advice first, and using Traditional Chinese Medicine as a sort of guideline. Of course, there are many a TCM doctor out there who can treat you as well, if you wish. Just do your due diligence so that you end up in great hands.
No matter the medical plan you subscribe to, this is fascinating stuff all the same. Next time you wake up in the middle of the night, make note of the time and refer back to this list. Your unwanted rousing may just be your bod trying to tell you something!
We’d love to hear your ideas on Ancient Chinese Medicine’s take on sleeplessness. Have you ever discussed the organ clock with a TCM doctor before? If so, did they give you ideas on how to improve your rest? Do you have any remedies that help you get a full night’s sleep?
Source: Naturopathic by Nature