Ever since I was first introduced to the idea of the Chinese Body Clock, I’ve been really interested in it. The Chinese Body Clock, indicates why you’re waking up in the middle of the night. It’s all related to energy and how your organs and internal body have an effect on your overall wellbeing, including why you are waking up every night at 2am.
In fact, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body has a strict schedule of self-care, self-regulating various organs within the body at specific times of day and night.
What is the Chinese Body Clock
Depending on what time you find yourself waking up, there is a correlating organ. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, each organ has a specific time for regeneration. When you wake up, it’s a sign that that organ isn’t functioning optimally or isn’t nourished.
The clock is based on your body. So even though it’s the Chinese Body Clock, it is based on whatever time it is where you are.
It’s important to remember how your energy inside and out is distributed throughout twenty-four hours.
Tick tock tick tock, what’s waking you up?
11pm-1am: The Gallbladder
The gallbladder is responsible for breaking down fats and releasing bile which emulsifies with fat. This emulsification process acts kind of like detergent and washes everything out.
How to support your gallbladder:
Throughout the day eat lots of bitter and sour foods to help prepare the gallbladder for digestion. Supporting the liver is also important because the liver and gallbladder work hand in hand.
1am-3am: The Liver
The liver is responsible for so many functions in the body. These jobs include: detoxification, filtration of anything we consume, cleansing blood, and synthesizing fat.
How to support your liver:
Start your morning with warm lemon water. Use herbs like dandelion and milk thistle in teas and tinctures. Eat lots of bitter foods like arugula, water cress, mustard greens. Consume adequate amounts of protein. Add cruciferous veggies into your diet (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage).
3am-5am: The Lungs
The lungs are a key detoxification organ as well. They filter small blood clots, traps dust particles and bacteria, are part of the immune system, and of course their main job is to oxygenate the blood.
How to support your lungs:
Consume lots of cruciferous veggies (kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli). These foods are high in chlorophyll and antioxidants, key for cleaning and building blood. Add in chili peppers, they are filled with capsaicin, the spicy compound that gives them their bite. Capsaicin improves blood flow, stimulates mucus membranes, and fights infection. Grapefruit is also a lung superfood, it contains an antioxidant called naringin which inhibits certain type of cancer causing enzymes.
5am-7am: The Large Intestine
This is usually when nature calls. It’s no surprise that we tend to have a good bowel movement first thing in the morning. That’s when our nervous system should be in parasympathetic mode, aka rest and digest. Between 5-7am, it’s believed that the large intestine is in charge of separating what we don’t need and eliminating it.
How to support your large intestine:
Warm water (especially first thing in the morning) helps the large intestine to eliminate effectively. Cold water backs up elimination by constricting the smooth muscle in the large intestine. Fibre is also a really important component to bulk up stool and cause efficient, proper elimination. Fibre is foods like nuts, seeds, veggies, beans, legumes, and berries.
These are the main organs that are responsible for nighttime wake up calls. It’s also important to consider stress levels and what’s happening when you wake up. If you don’t notice any noises or your mind racing and there are no “reasons” for you to be awake, consider the Chinese Body Clock.
What time do you tend to wake up at night? Let me know in the comments!