Waking up the same time every night? The TCM clock explains why

by Apr 14, 2020Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

by Dr. Erin Valente, ND

Do you find yourself waking up often in the night and it happens to be around the same time each night? I have seen this happen to numerous people and it’s surprisingly common.

Like our circadian rhythms, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) explains the rhythm of our bodies based on the 24-hour TCM clock. The TCM organ clock is divided into sections that each correspond to a certain organ that is at its strongest during this time period. One thing to note is that the body, mind, and emotions are inseparable in Chinese Medicine which means that when they are in balance you are in optimal health. However, if there is disharmony in your body it is connected to your emotional state and vice versa. Therefore, waking up at certain times of the night has different meanings and is your body’s way of trying to tell you about your physical and emotional conditions.

If you’re waking up between 11 pm and 1 am it means you need to take care of your gallbladder. Experiment with reducing your fat intake or consuming healthier fats, like avocados and nuts, since the gallbladder is responsible for breaking them down. On an emotional level, waking up during this time signifies that you’re holding onto heavy feelings of bitterness and resentment. It will be beneficial to reflect on your relationships and release any negativity blocking energy in your system.

If you wake up between 1 am and 3 am it means your liver was overloaded. The liver is responsible for detoxifying our bodies and processing emotions each night. You may be suffering from an unhealthy diet, excess alcohol consumption, unresolved anger or high levels of stress. Consider drinking alcohol in moderation and find ways to deal with your stress in a healthy way (by working with a licensed practitioner like your ND!)

If you wake up between 3 am and 5 am it could be due to an imbalance in your lungs, specifically breathing. Therefore, any disruption to your sleep during this time means that there is something blocking your ability to take deep, proper breaths. It is also linked to emotional factors, such as grief as a result of dealing with loss. Try to practice abdominal deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga to improve your lung health and grief release.

If you wake up between 5 am and 7 am then your large intestine is trying to tell you something. You need to pay attention to getting proper hydration and fiber since the large intestine is responsible for releasing digestive waste from your system. Emotionally, you’re likely to be feeling “stuck” in a certain circumstance, relationship, job, etc. Try to release the lingering negative emotions that overwhelm you and move forward, both physically and emotionally.

Article adapted from Tao of Wellness

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