Do you have a hard time going to sleep at night? Or Do you wake up at the same time every night?
You see, the human body is closely tied up with the environment. It has an internal body clock that operates on a 24-hour cycle known as the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is composed of several body processes that operate based on the sunlight.
An illustration on how the circadian rhythm works is that the cells in our brain send signals to the body when it is dark that it is time to go to bed. In the same way, it tells us that it is time to wake up as soon as there is light. Another example is the production of the sleep hormone melatonin which are only released by the body at night and suppressed in the morning.
Why Is It Hard To Sleep At Night?
So if the body has a way of adapting to the environment, why do some people still have a hard time falling asleep at night?
Factors That Alter The Circadian Rhythm
Depending on people’s lifestyles, the circadian rhythm can be disrupted. According to experts, disruptions can either be short-term or long-term. Factors that alter the circadian rhythm include:
- Jet lag – a temporary sleep disorder that is experienced by people who take intercontinental flights that cross different time zones.
- Irregular work shifts – experienced by people with erratic work hours or night shifts in their work.
- Unhealthy Lifestyle – experienced by those who have poor sleeping habits, unhealthy eating and sleeping practices
- Medications – some medications alter sleep
- Mental Conditions like depression and dementia
Why Do You Wake Up At The Same Time At Night?
Chinese medicine practices break the body clock further with the concept of organ clock. This concept is rooted in the belief of the existence of a vital life force or a qi. The qi is supposed to go around the whole body in 24 hours in a two-hour interval per major organ. This means that each organ in the body is strongest at that specific time.
For example, 1am to 3 am is the time where the liver is said to be doing its work. Its detoxification is at its peak during this time. If you are not asleep during this period, the liver will not be able to do its work properly.
In the same way that if you keep on waking up at a specific time, ancient Chinese medicine believes that it is a signal from your body that you may be suffering from an illness on that organ.
How To Reset Your Circadian Rhythm
Maintaining your circadian rhythm is vital to your health because the body has the capability to heal itself but only if you follow the natural flow. Use the organ chart clock above as guide for the body’s natural rhythm.
|5:00 AM to 7:00 AM||Large Intestine||Wake-Up, Meditation|
|7:00 AM to 9:00 AM||Stomach||Breakfast, Exercise, Reading, Work|
|9:00 AM to 11:00 AM||Spleen||Work|
|11:00 AM to 1:00 PM||Heart||Lunch|
|1:00 PM to 3:00 PM||Small Intestine||Nap / Relax|
|3:00 PM to 5:00 PM||Bladder||Work|
|5:00 PM to 7:00 PM||Kidney||Dinner|
|7:00 PM to 9:00 PM||Pericardium||“Me” Time|
|9:00 PM to 11:00 PM||Triple Burner||Get Ready to Sleep|
|11:00 PM to 1:00 AM||Liver||Sleep|
|1:00 AM to 3:00 AM||Gallbladder||Deep Sleep|
|3:00 AM to 5:00 AM||Lung||Deep Sleep|
However, it is difficult for many to follow the organ clock because of work. If this is the case, there are still little things that you can do to reset your circadian rhythm.
- Follow a daily routine
- Make your room environment conducive for relaxing or sleeping
- Avoid drinking caffeine at night
- Power off your gadgets when it is near sleeping time
- Exercise daily
- Avoid naps in the late afternoon
Stay healthy by understanding how your body works.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio