The 24-Hour Body Clock of Chinese Medicine

24 Hour Body Clock of Chinese MedicineEvery so often I like to revisit this topic. It’s very helpful information and can bring awareness to the problem of disturbed sleep which is of interest to just about everyone. The 24-hour body clock of Chinese Medicine is a representation of the movement of energy through the body’s meridians (energy pathways) and organs in a 24-hour period. Every two hours the energy is strongest in a particular meridian and organ within the body.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), almost all our body functions are linked to a specific time on our internal clock. “This is the time when that particular organ and its related meridians are said to be most energized and working hardest, affecting everything from your emotions to your productivity.” The Chinese believe that to achieve optimum health we need to be in harmony with our internal and external environment.

When our energy is blocked or imbalanced; we experience physical symptoms. If we wake at the same time every night with insomnia; the energy most active at that time is probably blocked.

The best time for bed is between 10 and 11 pm. Gallbladder meridian is most active between 11pm – 1am. Its function is to excrete bile and digest healthy fats and emotionally it’s associated with decision making. “If you’re not resting by 11pm, you could have issues with digesting fats and the emotional components of decision making.”

Here’s the list:

  • 1-3am – organ – liver, activity- deep sleep and dreaming, emotions- anger, frustration, anxiety. A balanced liver keeps these emotions in check.
  • 3-5am – organ- lung, activity -sleeping and gentle breathing, emotions- grief and sadness
  • 5-7am – organ- large intestine, activity-waking and releasing, emotions- releasing that which no longer serves us. A glass of water is a good start to the day
  • 7-9am – organ-stomach, activity-eating and nourishing, emotions being processed- disgust or despair. Having a warming, nutritious breakfast is best.
  • 9-11am – organ-spleen-pancreas, activity-thinking and working, emotions-worry
  • 11am-1pm – organ- heart, actively engaging with friends and eating, emotions- joy or frightful sadness
  • 1-3pm – organ-small intestine, activity-separating useful from useless, organizing, emotions processed- insecurity
  • 3-5pm – organ- bladder, action-reserving and storing, emotion-irritation, moving internal energy. Energy can dip at this time of day. Snacking on something salty will help the energy level.
  • 5-7pm – organ- kidney, activity-replenishing vital energy, emotion-fear
  • 7-9pm – organ-pericardium, activity-emotional support, emotions- excessive euphoria and compassion. Focus on spending quality time with loved ones and self-care.
  • 9-11pm – organ-triple warmer (metabolism, blood vessels), activity-relaxing and hydrating, emotions-hopelessness, confusion
  • 11pm – 1am – organ-gallbladder, action-sleeping and regenerating, emotions being processed-indecisiveness and resentment.

Keeping your energy balanced will improve body, mind, and spirit.