The Body Clock
Have you ever wondered, why you get more inactive or tired during a certain time of the day, and other times you feel ready to run a marathon! When do you have the most productive thoughts or when you cannot even think or speak properly? and finally why you get sad, lonely and needy for love and care.
One of the reasons people suffer from so many health problems and negative states of mind in these days is because the timing of their everyday activities like eating, sleeping, working, making stressful decisions, being intimate is not in sync with their body's biological needs of the moment. But these problems can go away simply by learning how to cooperate with the body's inner clock.
Confucius writes, "I can only make the world better by making myself better."
When we choose to live consciously with nature's primal cycles - the seasons, the rising and setting of the sun, the changing weather, and most importantly what our body needs at different hours of the day and night.
In traditional cultures people have always understood that humans aren't so different from other living creatures, animals, insects and plants.
Animals in the wild are a good example, they have no doctors to call on when they get sick or injured.
So how do they do this? Simple, By constantly adapting to nature's daily and seasonal laws. When it is dark they sleep. When the light comes up they wake. When spring arrives they build nests and mate. In the summer they eat just the right amount of food to store up energy for the colder months. In the fall they live off their stored food. In the winter instinct tells them to hibernate, everything is happening within the laws of nature's schedule. By doing so nature rewards them with the vigor and good health to survive in the wild.
Human beings, on the other hand, constantly break nature's rules, ignoring the messages of their own body, by overeating, over-working, going on starvation diets, sleeping too much or too little, stressing ourselves over real and imaginary fears, or dwell on feelings of anger and resentment, keeping erratic hours, partying when we should be sleeping eating processed food, smoking, overusing alcohol, taking drugs - you know the list.
Our job is to better connect the outer laws with the inner, and to then use this connection to establish a state of balance between body, mind and spirit.
The 24-hour Biological Clock is ancient yet surprisingly modern. It is a practical, simple to use and remarkably effective guide, showing you how to live each segment of your day in a way that maximizes your full physical and mental potential.
In October, 2017 three American scientists (Drs. Michael Young, Jeffrey Hall and Michael Rosbash) shared a Nobel Prize for an astonishing discovery:
They learned that the cells in our body, contain a hitherto an unknown mechanism that works in sync with the earth's rotation, that controls our 24-hour cycles of sleeping, waking, digestion, elimination and most other primary functions that keep us alive and thriving.
the three scientists discovered that:
• The mechanism inside each cell of any living organism is a detailed and natural timing device.
• These cellular mechanisms are found in every organ, fluid, tissue of the body and all of them are self-sustaining, and are present in every living creature on earth including of course, human beings. This discovery allowed the scientists "to peek into our biological clock,by giving details on how plants, animals and humans adapt to their biological rhythms which are aligned with the earth's rotation."
It's been noted that light and dark influences our mental functioning and physical well-being.
In the West the first written observation of "diurnality" - the tendency of living things to become active in sunlight and inactive in darkness - dates back to the 4th century BC, when Androstenes, a sailor in the fleet of Alexander the Great, observed that the rustling of the leaves on the Tamarind tree makes completely different movements during the sunlight hours than during the night.
an 18th century scientist, Jean-Jacques d'Ortous de Mairan, recognized that in the natural world; the biological behavior in organism is triggered by outside influences.
In the second part of the 20th century scientists compared their researches which showed that the changes of the cellular clocks of every living creature can be tracked, mapped and analyzed.
Just like a 24-hour chemical messenger service, these clocks tell the body when it is the best time of the day or night to eat, sleep, work and play. Scientists refer to this messenger service as "Circadian rhythms."
Circadian rhythms are the product of a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and that cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. Also known as your sleep/wake cycle." This clock, is governed by signals from the environment such as darkness, sunlight, heat, cold, moisture, time of day and time of month.
Based on planetary rotation, Circadian rhythms determine the times when you should be sleeping and the times when you are most awake.
It reveals when your mental acuity is at its sharpest or dullest, when your emotions are up or down, when your appetite is strongest and weakest. Which days of each month are best - or worst - for specific mental, physical and emotional activities.
Living in balance with our Circadian rhythms is essential for maintaining good health;
In Western science, the discovery of Circadian rhythms did much to explain the mechanisms of human behavior, and a good deal of exciting research work is currently being done with this information in the field of medicine, psychology, athletics, work place studies and many others.
At the same time, while the cycles of mental and physical behavior identified by Western science are a recent discovery.
Yet in the traditional oriental mind there is nothing new about the idea that the rhythms of night and day applies a powerful influence on our body and mind.
If you consult the two thousand year old Chinese manual The Nei Ching (The Yellow Emperor's Classics on Internal Medicine), the first book ever written on medicine and still considered the fundamental guide to its principles, describes in detail how important it is for Humans to live in harmony with the four seasons, the phases of the moon, the 24-hour rotation of the earth and especially the hours of the day.
Based on the Yellow Emperor's observations, scientists in the Oriental East have spent centuries developing their own representation of the body clock that in its present version is a good deal more detailed.
Oriental Asian doctors have found that the best way to represent the body clock is, well, as a clock, complete with clock face, time zone sand numbers. Divided into 12 2-hour sectors, and each of these sectors is associated with a particular organ and it's meridian in the body.
As the Qi circulates throughout the body's energy-channel network on a daily basis, each organ experiences a two-hour period of maximum and minimum energy.
A 24-hour movement between stamina and fatigue, meaning there is a best and worst time of day for everything.
Both Eastern and Western models of the body clock operate on a 24-hour schedule, and are coordinated to different body functions, but when take a closer look it will see that the oriental version is based on a completely different set of medical principles and philosophical view of life than the Western model. So let's have a look.
Chinese and Western medicine define the concept of "organ" in significantly different ways. Western science the lungs or liver or heart is a bundle of cellular tissue that performs physiological tasks, exclusive to that organ itself. The lungs control respiration. The liver detoxifies the blood and adjusts metabolism. The heart pumps blood and oversees circulation.
In TCM, on the other hand, an organ is considered as biofield of organized energy that radiates lifeforce (Qi) out in several different directions throughout the body. Its impulses are traveling along that organ's specific energy pathway called meridian. Because an organ in TCM is more like an energy network or, like a radio station than a stationary body part it affects different areas of a person.
For example the lungs control respiration but also play a part in the development of the hair and skin. The kidneys expand control over the sense of hearing, the procreative organs and the marrow. The liver is associated with the emotion of anger, women's gynecological issues and the health of the eyes.
The Chinese body clock is a 24-hour energy cycle that is hard-wired into our blood, bones and organs. It starts ticking the moment we are born and continues until the hour of our death, operating regularly 24 hours a day.
Therefore a doctor of TCM rarely speaks in terms of a specific organ, but about the energy channel system that is associated with that organ such as the kidney meridian, the spleen meridian and so on.
In TCM the 12 organs on the body's natural clock, perform the following functions:
The Gallbladder (11 PM to 1 AM)
- Since TCM does not separate mind from body, the Gallbladder receives bile from the liver via the bile duct, stores it, then secretes it downward where it helps digest foods transiting it through the duodenum. At the same time, it also oversees a man or woman's emotional stability, courage and ability to make decisions. Individuals with a strong Gallbladder Qi are confident,fearless with penetrating judgment.
who suffer from various phobias and fears, lack assertiveness and/or are unable to think through problems and resolve them in a timely way may suffer from some variety of a Gallbladder weakness. Finally, the Gallbladder supports the tendons and ligaments and well functioning physical movement. On the 24-hour clock the Gallbladder is paired with its digestive partner the Liver and is opposite the Heart, making these opposite hours (11 AM to 1 PM) the weakest time of day for activities involving the Heart.
Liver (1 AM to 3 AM)
- The Liver stores and detoxifies blood, aids digestion and helps regulate the volume of blood in circulation at any given time. It also controls the flow of Qi throughout the body, as well as nourishes the tendons, ligaments, eyes, finger and toe nails. Psychologically it is all about balance.
An individual with a healthy liver is flexible, composed and in control. A weak or sick Liver often produces irritability, rigidity, depression and sudden, nasty temper flare-ups. People who suffer from liver problems would find themselves waking up between 1 AM to 3 AM, if during an initial consultation a TCM doctor hears a patient complain about habitual nighttime waking, especially between 1 AM to 3 AM, the first thing he or she thinks of is possible liver weakness.
On the 24-hour clock the Liver is paired with its digestive partner the Gallbladder and is opposite the Small Intestine, making these opposite hours (1 to 3 PM) the weakest time of day for activities involving the Small Intestine.
Lungs (3 AM to 5 AM)
- In Western terms, the lungs play a central role in building immunity to bacterial and viral diseases.
The lungs control normal respiration along with the inhalation and circulation of Qi, distributing this precious life substance through every cell in the body. In TCM the lungs also oversee the health of the skin, hair and sweat glands, protecting our outer body from invading pathogens such as excessive cold, heat, dampness and wind.
From a psychological perspective, the lungs are related to excessive grief and sadness. People suffering from depression or a chronic sense of guilt are often short of breath. The lungs are also responsible for our social connections with others. Strong lungs produce self-belief and resolve, making us feel equal to others and helping us build solid relationships with friends and associates. Weak lungs generate feelings of alienation and sense of disconnection from the daily flow of life.
Finally, since Lung energy peaks during the early morning hours of 3 AM to 5 AM when there is lots of fresh morning Qi in the air, meditators and Qi Gung practitioners are often busy at their practice during this time. The Lungs are paired with the Colon and are opposite the Bladder, making these opposite hours (3 - 5 PM) the weakest time of day for activities involving the Bladder.
The Colon or Large Intestine (5 AM to 7 AM)
- The Large Intestine receives digested food residues from the stomach and small intestine, extracting water and whatever nutrients remain, then excreting the remainder.
The Large Intestine is connected to the emotions of Note that when we wake in the early morning we often feel the urge to toilet. This is no coincidence, as Qi energy peaks in the hours of the Large Intestine from 5 AM to 7 AM, making it the best time of day to have a full, satisfying bowel movement.
On the 24-hour clock the Large Intestine is paired with the Lungs and is opposite the Kidneys, making these opposite hours (5 - 7 PM) the weakest time of day for activities involving the Kidneys
The Stomach (7 AM to 9 AM)
- In TCM the stomach not only receives and processes food but also extracts Qi from what we eat, then transfers it on to the Spleen where it is further refined.
In general, the stomach moves nutrients, wastes and Qi downward for processing in the intestines but if a person is poisoned, say, or suffers from a stomach flu the Qi energy moves upwards rather than down, causing vomiting, burping and hiccups.
In a psychological sense, strong stomach energy is associated with confidence and security. People with weak stomachs often indulge in needless worry, tension, anxiety and thoughtfulness, all of which harm the stomach and the digestion.
On the 24-hour clock the Stomach is paired with the Spleen and is opposite the Pericardium, making these opposite hours (7-9 PM) the weakest time of day for activities involving the Pericardium.
The Spleen (9 AM to 11 AM)
- The Spleen filters the blood, removes damaged red cells and constantly produces new white blood cells. According to TCM, it also plays a major role in digestion, extracting nutrients from food and fluids and transforming them into Qi and blood.
The Spleen also transports blood and Qi throughout the trunk and limbs, ensuring that the muscles and limbs are strong and tight. Flabby skin and flaccid muscles can indicate a spleen deficiency. Causing poor appetite, bloating, low energy, memory issues and weight loss. Just as Stomach energy moves downward, Spleen energy floats up to the Lungs, throat and mouth.
If the Spleen is functioning properly upward, resulting mental clarity, good concentration and a lightness of being, especially in the morning hours between 9 and 11 AM when Spleen Qi is strongest. Fuzzy thought, confusion and an inability to focus and pay attention can all be signs of a compromised Spleen. Too much thinking, concentrating intensely for long periods of time and hard mental work can likewise damage the Spleen.
On the 24-hour clock the Spleen is paired with the Stomach and is opposite the Triple Burner, making these opposite hours (9 - 11 PM) the weakest time of day for activities involving the Triple Burner.
The Heart (11 AM to 1 PM)
- The king of organs, the heart pumps and circulates blood and oversees the blood vessels. According to TCM, the Heart also stores the soul or spirit known as Shen. The Shen is five separate forms of consciousness in one:
Yi or awareness,
Zhi or will,
Shen or ordinary feelings and emotions,
Po or personality and ego,
and Hun, the immortal Spirit that continues to exist after death.
The Heart is connected to the tongue and to words.
People who speak too fast, too slow, too seldom or too much may have unbalanced heart Qi.
When the Heart is strong a person tends to communicate and relate well with others.
Emotionally speaking, joy is the emotion that rules the heart. There is, however, a good form of joy and a bad, the first is normal joy and delight, the latter is the kind of manic, over-excited giggling glee that one finds in anxious, highly nervous people and in the mentally unstable.
People with Heart conditions should be especially careful of overeating, becoming too angry or excited at these hours, as the Heart energy is at its maximum now, so pushing it with extra stress can cause Heart strain or worse.
On the 24-hour clock the Heart is paired with the Small Intestine and is opposite the Gallbladder, making these opposite hours (11 AM - 1 PM) the weakest time of day for activities involving the Gallbladder.
The Small Intestine (1 PM to 3 PM)
- The Small Intestine receives partly digested food from the stomach and continues to break it down into nutrients and wastes. It sends the Qi extracted from the food to the spleen for further digestion and forwards the stagnant wastes downward to the Colon for further processing and elimination.
On the bio clock the hours of 1 PM to 3 PM are the best time to eat lunch, as the Qi energy is strongest in the Small Intestine at this time and digestion is working at fullest. If there are foods that you especially enjoy eating but are difficult to digest - this is the time of day to eat them.
On the 24-hour clock the Small Intestine is paired with the Heart and is opposite the Liver, making these opposite hours (1 - 3 AM) the weakest time of day for activities involving the Liver.
The Bladder (3 PM to 5 PM)
The Bladder's job in TCM is to receive liquid wastes from the Kidneys, which in turn receives them from the Lungs and other organs of digestion. In cooperation with the Kidneys the Bladder then empties these wastes through urination.
People often notice that their need to urinate increases in the late afternoon along with their thirst, a sign that the Bladder is especially active at this time. This is a good time to drink lots of water, as it will be distributed throughout the cells of the entire body with maximum efficiency during these hours.
Interestingly, the Bladder meridian runs all the way down either side of the spine, and each point on this meridian is associated with one of the major organs. This is one reason why a back rub feels so good - pressure applied to the spinal area stimulates these points which in turn stimulate the organs.
On the 24-hour clock the Bladder is paired with the Kidneys and is opposite the Lungs, making these opposite hours (3-5 AM) the weakest time of day for activities involving the Lungs.
The Kidneys (5 PM to 7 PM)
In TCM Kidneys are responsible for a surprisingly large number of body behaviors. The Kidneys produce
control the brain and urinary system,
oversee the health of the hair,
bones and sense of hearing,
maintain fluid balance,
govern sperm production,
reproduction and the organs of sex,
monitor short and long term vitality levels and the will.
People with weak kidneys tend to feel especially fatigued in the late afternoon and early evening, because it is the time of the Kidney. If they suffer from any form of nervous disorder they may feel especially anxious or uneasy at this time, as the Kidneys are associated with the emotion of fear. Those with strong Kidneys, especially young people, feel particularly full of energy at this time of day. For all these reasons the Kidneys are referred to as "the root of life;" and indeed, the life force itself, known as Jing in Chinese, is stored in the Kidneys. Too many careless or self-destructive living habits practiced over the years (especially substance abuse) can damage this precious organ and the Jing along with it, shortening a person's life span in the process.
On the 24-hour clock the Kidneys are paired with the Bladder and are opposite the Large Intestine, making this opposite time of day (5 - 7 AM) the weakest time of day for activities involving the Large Intestine.
The Pericardium (7 PM to 9 PM)
- The Pericardium is a double-walled sac surrounding the heart.
Its primary function is to serve as a defense for the heart, protecting this vital organ against possible injuries as well as wind, cold, heat and dampness. Closely associated with the Heart, the Pericardium oversees the flow of arterial and venous blood.
It also oversees sexual secretions of different kinds, also referred referred in TCM as the Circulation/Sex organ. It is, therefore, no accident that the Pericardium governs heart-associated emotions such as passion, attraction, love, joy, grief and sadness.
In a person with healthy Heart and Pericardium energy - personal affection flows freely, which is one reason why the early hours of the evening are a favorite time for romance and intimate activities. Weak Pericardium energy generates conditions as sadness, heartbreak, hyper-sexuality and frigidity .
On the 24-hour clock the Pericardium is paired with the Triple Burner and is opposite the Stomach, making this opposite time of day 7 - 9 AM) the weakest time of day for activities involving the Stomach.
The Triple Burner (9 PM to 11 PM)
- The Triple Burner (also known as Triple Warmer and San Jiao) is not an actual physical organ, but a water regulating mechanism located in three parts of the body: the upper part (lungs, head and heart), the middle part (stomach and spleen) and the lower part (the abdomen including the Kidneys and Liver), all of which play a role in managing the balance and flow of the body fluids. In practice, the Triple burner is a channel that energetically connects the above mentioned organs and ensure a harmonious flow of the fluids. These fluids include the vaporized water of the lungs, the digestive process in the center and waste products at the bottom burner.
The Triple Burner also plays a part in maintaining an optimal body temperature and in moving Qi. During the Triple Burner hours (9 PM to 11 PM) people often notice that their stomach is a bit overactive, making strange gurgling noises. Apart from food the Triple Burner is also moving the fluids.
On the 24-hour clock the Triple Burner is paired with the Pericardium and is opposite the Spleen, making this opposite time of day (9 -11 AM) the weakest time of day for activities involving the Spleen.
The body clock, in short, is a multi-leveled wellness device that oversees every aspect of our lives. By living in harmony with the cycles of night and day and with the 24-hour flow of energy through our meridians, we align ourselves with our environment and with the energy rhythm that nature programmed into us from the day we were born.
In the process we realize that the Body clock is a sophisticated and even magical life organizer that gives us far more control over almost every aspect of our thinking, feeling, health and social well-being than we ever imagined possible.
I hope this article raised your curiosity about trying to live by the body clock to prevent certain unwanted health conditions and simply feel more in control in our daily activities.
Stay safe and stay curious dear Everyone!