The Chinese body clock
Within traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture theory, energy moves from one organ system to another at specific times of the day over 24 hours. Each organ corresponds to a part of our natural day order, for example having a morning bowel movement and eating a large breakfast in the morning.
5-7am is the time of the Large Intestine. This is daybreak when Yang energy increases in the early morning and we should wake up and have a bowel movement, riding the body of toxins from the day before.
7-9am is the time of the Stomach. During this time it when we should be eating our largest meal of the day, breakfast. There is a saying that we should eat breakfast like a king, dinner like a prince and dinner as a pauper, which relates to the quantity of food that we should eat in the day with our largest meal in the morning and smallest in the evening. The morning time is an ideal time to eat gluten foods as the stomach has strength to process them. If you eat gluten foods later, you are more likely to have bloating.
9-11am is the time of the Spleen (Pancreas). It's when the digestive system is processing the foods eaten for breakfast which are being held in the stomach. It then releases energy which drives our working day and life and feeds important body systems such as the cardiovascular, respiratory system, immune system and the nervous system.
11am- 1pm is the time of the Heart. The Heart is the highest ranking Yang organ, and midday is the highest point of Yang. It's also when the energy from the Spleen is pumped via the Heart around the body to feed and nourish it. This is a good time to eat lunch like a prince so not too much. Now is not a good time to eat gluten or salads.
1-3pm is the time of the Small Intestine. It's when food eaten earlier will complete its digestion and assimilation and more nutrients are absorbed from the foods and fluids eaten.
3-5pm is the time of the Bladder when metabolic wastes move into the kidney's filtration system ready to be urinated out. People often have a dip at this time of the day. Having an afternoon nap at this time helps the body's energy levels.
5-7pm is the time of the Kidney energy when the blood is filtered and the kidneys work to maintain proper chemical balance. This is a good time to have dinner like a pauper and exercise as Kidney is related to willpower and drive. We should drink lots of water during this time especially whilst exercising. Craving salt can be signs of kidney weakness.
7-9pm is the time of the Pericardium. It's when energy and blood are carried to the capillaries and to each cell in the body. This is the perfect time to have sex or conceive a baby.
9-11pm is the time of Triple Burner (triple heater). It's recommended to sleep during these hours, 10pm to be exact so as to conserve energy and Yin for the following day. There is an old saying "Two hours before midnight is worth ten after", which means sleeping at 10pm is better than sleeping later and sleeping more.
3-5am the time of the Lungs. A lot of people wake at 5am, which is either waking at dawn which is natural or waking due to anxiety. New research has proven this internal body clock, with babies being born around 4am, the time of the lung, when they are finally ready to be born and take their first breathe. It's also around the time when we wake, yawn and should practice our breathing exercises and tai chi before breakfast.
If we follow the Chinese body clock pattern, we should be more healthy and happy in our lives.