Sleep and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Do you know that 1 out of 3 people have insomnia at some point in their lives and over 70 million Americans suffer from disorders of sleep and wakefulness? This is a huge epidemic and if you suffer from a sleeping disorder yourself you understand how deeply it affects your life. What most people don’t know is that sleeping disorders reflect a more deeper psychological meaning; Traditional Chinese Medicine explains why.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Qi

The ancient Chinese believed and understood that our Universe is one giant holistic organism or body, where everything is connected and made out of the same substance they called Qi.

In these modern times the laws of nature have shown us that all matter and Qi are interchangeable and that matter is just a different form of Qi. Matter constantly changes under the influence of Qi, which is why we cannot see our physical body separate from Qi. Ancient Chinese mastered different ways of cultivating Qi in order to support the physical body. They understood that when all living things loose Qi they lose their vitality.

Qi is stored in our bodies and creates energetic pools, or Dan Tians; from these pools rivers flow, which we call meridians, and form our inner landscape.

The Movement of Qi

Our meridians are energetic highways, they transport Qi, blood and fluids along their pathway and to their related organs. All meridians in the body are interconnected and form a long cycle which Qi flows through creating a certain rhythm or ebb and flow, which is our body clock.

Qi moves through our organ system in two-hour intervals. During these two hours the related organ is at it peak, the organ at the opposite side of the clock is at its lowest. For example, during time between 1am and 3am, the liver is approaching its peak by cleansing and reinvigorating our blood, whereas the small intestine on the opposite side of the clock (1pm – 3pm) is at its lowest point.

Each organ is related to a specific ‘element’, representing either the ‘Yin’ or ‘Yang’ qualities of an element and reflects different emotions:

Elements Traditional Chinese Medicine

Interesting note: each of these emotions in excess damage their related organs.

How the body clock relates to your sleeping patterns

When we sleep Qi is drawn inward in order to recharge our bodies. The events taking place in our lives often impact our sleep and our organs’ ability to function optimally. By using the body clock, we can analyze why our sleep is disrupted at a particular time and determine how to regulate our sleeping pattern.

Organ Clock Traditional Chinese Medicine

Between 11pm to 1am – Gallbladder:

The Gallbladder stores the bitterness that comes from anger, this relates to resentment that is being held onto, causing Qi (or energy) to stagnate and generate ‘heat’ (inflammation/ infection), which damages the body.

Solution: resentment comes from giving away your power to someone or a situation. You never need to give away your power, it is yours. When you do, you become disempowered and usually we start blaming the other person and resentment builds. Take responsibility for your own feelings and see it is you that is giving away your power, don’t blame the other for taking it.

Between 1am to 3am – Liver:

The Liver is related to anger and frustration. These emotions are a sign of not having enough personal space or you feeling restricted in expressing yourself authentically.

Solution: our energy fields are much bigger than we are aware of. When multiple energy fields intertwine by people being too close to one another they start to affect each other. If this happens for a long period of time we lose some sense of self, as we take on other people’s thought patterns, feelings and emotions. Frustration is the first sign of needing personal space. By taking space and time for yourself, and no one is too close, you allow your energy field to regenerate. Your energy field is related to your Liver and when it regenerates, so does the Liver.

Between 3am to 5am – Lungs:

The lungs have the ability to store grief and sadness, which is an inward movement. This storing is a huge burden we take on usually because of feeling regret or guilt.

Solution: become aware of taking on the burdens of others and feeling responsible for.them. Everything in life happens for a reason, nothing is a mistake and ultimately meant to be. Trust the choices you make and see how it is all part of a bigger plan. There is no need to feel guilty about affecting someone else’s life. It is impossible to live a life where we don’t affect the people around us. How others respond to our decision making is their responsibility and choice. Stand in the truth that you hold and you are here to share with the rest of the world. You are a significant piece of the collective puzzle.

Between 5am to 7am – Large Intestine:

This organ is related to emotional constipation, not speaking your truth and holding your emotions in. Emotions are a natural part of being human, when expressed they do no harm to our body, but when they are suppressed emotions will stagnate and cause damage.

Solution: Be honest with yourself, know that your feelings have value. They reflect a unique truth that you are here to bring and share with this world. Invite yourself to speak your feelings. What are you feeling right now? And what is holding you back from feeling fantastic? Do not project your feelings onto others, as they are always your responsibility.