This Ancient Chinese Method Explains Why You Aren't Sleeping Well

If you find yourself constantly waking up in the middle of the night, it might be due to more than a reoccurring nightmare. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, certain times of day (and night) are correlated with different organs and functions within the body. The time that you wake up at night might point to a problem that stems from one of your organs- signaling a need for a little more self-care.



According to NYC acupuncturist Terri Brown, the body has a very specific way of directing its energy throughout the day. Your energy source, or Qi, attends to different body parts for around two hours, and helps carry out the body's functions optimally. Modern day lifestyles can upset this natural rhythm and disrupt your body's natural order. Contrary to most westernised medicine, which focuses on treating and masking the problem, The Chinese Body Clock Method looks at an ailment and traces back, to the source of the problem. By following the symptoms you can easily pinpoint ways to improve your health and wellbeing.


Sleep is one of the best places to start. According to the body clock, the most important times to be catching some beauty rest are during the gallbladder phase (11-1)liver phase (1-3), and the lung phase (3-5). If you’re waking up during one of these blocks it’s very likely that you have an imbalance or a problem that correlates to the corresponding organ system.


The Gallbladder Phase is the first phase of your body’s detox, where it releases bile, repairs tissue, and builds new blood cells. During the hours of 11-1, the body is processing waste and generating energy for the next day. Without quality sleep during this time, you might wake up feeling exhausted and lacking energy to get through the day. If you're searching for an answer to your emotional problems, the gallbladder is also correlated with the feelings of bitterness and resentment. So, if you’re having trouble falling asleep during this time you may have some emotional issues holding you back.



The Liver Phase follows the Gallbladder Phase, from 1-3, and is your body’s optimal detoxing time. Your deepest sleep should take place during these hours as your body moves out waste products from the day before. For those of you midnight snackers. this is the worst time to be eating, since digestion diverts energy away from detoxification. Waking up during this time could mean you have liver issues, trouble detoxing, or pent-up anger and resentment that needs to be dealt with. Side note: too much alcohol consumption the day before can tax your liver and prevent it from carrying out its job, so if you want a good night's sleep, be mindful of how much you party!


The Lung Phase, from 3-5, is also important for detoxing, but mainly within the lungs. During these hours the body loosens mucus and waste in order to expel it; so, if you wake up coughing that might indicate you need a  diet change to prevent mucus buildup. “The lung phase is the true start of a new day,” explains Terri Brown L.Ac., “this is why monks traditionally wake up at 3am to begin chanting.” However, waking up this early for rigorous activity can startle the body too much. If you’re an early morning gym-goer, try to soothe your body in these early hours with some gentle breathing exercises. 


The reason we call it beauty sleep is because the processes of detoxification are important for clear and glowing complexions. If these natural processes are disturbed, your body might not be functioning at its best. Taking time to tune into what’s bothering you throughout the day can help you pinpoint better ways to execute self care. If you’re curious about the ways Chinese Medicine can benefit you and your beauty sleep, we recommend seeing an acupuncturist. 


Story By: Zoe Brown