The importance of a good night’s sleep cannot be overstated. In Traditional Chinese Medicine sleep disorders and insomnia are considered to be a blockage or imbalance in the body’s energy. This time of year, the fire element is most active, which is represented by 4 energy pathways or meridians, heart, small intestine, pericardium, and triple warmer.
The heart meridian is associated with peaceful sleep, thoughts, intelligence, emotions, and intimacy. It also oversees blood and circulation, houses the spirit, consciousness, and mental ability. When we are sleep deprived, our ability to reason is impaired and our emotions are frayed.
The Chinese 24-hour Meridian Clock, which I have spoken of many times before, shows the times of day in which each meridian is most active.
The meridians most active during the hours of 11 pm to 7 am are:
- 11pm-1am- gallbladder
- 1am- 3am- liver
- 3am- 5am- lung
- 5am-7am- large intestine
During the hours of sleep our bodies repair themselves. For instance, the liver detoxifies the blood, and makes proteins for clotting, and bile. If we are awake at this time, energy will be diverted away from the liver and these functions will be interrupted. In TCM the liver is also associated with planning and the emotion of anger or frustration. It then makes sense that if you have not had enough sleep, you will have difficulty concentrating and be short-tempered.
There are many different causes for sleep problems and Chinese Medicine has the tools to help you identify the specific cause for each issue. It is important to address sleep deprivation which left unchecked can create other health issues such as palpitations and digestive disorders. An acupressurist can help balance your energy and improve sleep but for more chronic and severe issues it is best to see an acupuncturist.