Did you know that according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), our body has its own energy clock? Also known as the Chinese Body Clock, it explains some of the most asked questions about our body. For instance, you may be curious to discover why your mood and energy levels fluctuate so much throughout the day? And why you sometimes tend to be less concentrated on your work than in other instances?
Without a doubt, our bodies do extraordinary things, but they are all built around cycles, controlled by the brain and defined by our sleeping and eating patterns. At different times of the day, the body has one organ which is at its energetic peak, and by knowing your energy clock well, you can help your body cope better.
The chart below illustrates the human energy body clock, showing the best times to eat, work, sleep and socialize. According to TCM, the body moves its energy concentration from one organ to another every 2 hours (as the chart indicates) with the organ opposite each time slot (12 hours ahead) being the one with the least energetic functioning during that time.
For a more detailed overview, this is how the Chinese Body Clock works.
First of all, our body goes through three main cycles every day. These cycles are as follows:
1. Elimination Cycle (4am-12pm):
This is the time during which the body is getting rid of toxins - the reason behind the bad breath and sweaty skin we wake up with in the morning. During this period, it is recommended that we eat food that is easily digestible, such as raw produce, green juice, smoothies, etc.
2. Appropriation Cycle (12pm-8pm):
The body is most awake and active during this time of the day, and so is its digestion and metabolism. You may be feeling more hungry than usual during this time period. If so, it is important to eat, even if it's not during meal times.
3. Assimilation Cycle (8pm-4am):
At this time, the body is concentrating on the absorption of nutrients in order to revitalize cells and organs. It's the perfect time for healing, rebuilding and renewing, and it's recommended that dinner is taken right before this cycle.
As you have seen in the Human Body Energy Clock chart above, these cycles can be broken down even further, focusing more on the activity peaks of specific body organs.
Here's what's happening in every section of the clock and how you can help your body in the process.
• Between 3am and 5am:
While you are in a deep sleep, your body is focusing on the lungs and breathing, to make sure enough oxygen is filling your lungs, and entering your blood and nervous system. If you cough during this time, it probably means that your lungs are getting rid of toxins.
• Between 5am and 7am:
You are now in your elimination cycle, and your body is preparing the large intestine to eliminate toxins as soon as you wake up. If you're up at this time, it is recommended that you drink 16+ oz of water to replace the lost liquid. At this point, opt for a brisk walk over sitting down while drinking a cup of coffee!
• Between 7am and 9am:
Now, the energy focus moves to the stomach. You are likely to rise with a good appetite, after a long period of fasting throughout the night. Wake up and eat breakfast - make sure it contains fruit and protein to fill you with the nutrients you need to face the day.
• Between 9am and 11am:
After the stomach, come the pancreas and the spleen. During this time, these organs are processing your breakfast and converting it into energy. This energy becomes the fuel your cells need for your new day ahead.
• Between 11am and 1pm:
By now, the nutrients in your breakfast are being pumped around the body by the heart, and reaching out to all your body systems and organs through the circulatory system. Now is the right time to be with people and prepare yourself for another dose of nutrients, as energy levels start to decrease.
• Between 1pm and 3pm:
The perfect time to eat lunch. After doing this, many people feel the need to take a nap to boost their energy for the rest of the day and take a break from the morning activities. Furthermore, your body is now working on the digestion of your lunch, focusing on the small intestine. This is also an ideal time for some peaceful meditation.
• Between 3pm and 5pm:
The focus now shifts to the bladder. At this time, it is recommended that you stay hydrated by drinking water or tea. It is also an excellent time to get some things done for the last time before your body prepares you for the evening.
• Between 5pm and 7pm:
It's time for the last main meal of the day - dinner. This shouldn't be very big, but should be nutritious. Your body is concentrating on the kidneys now, to filter the body of any waste. It is also working on the lymphatic system to keep the body clear and in flow. Doing some physical movement would be a good idea - consider walking or stretching.
• Between 7pm and 9pm:
At this point of the day, your blood pressure is typically at its highest levels, and your body's focus now shifts to the pericardium. The day is nearing its end, and it's suitable to take this time to wind down and relax. One's libido has very often reached its peak by now, so the engagement in intercourse is ideal at this time.
• Between 9pm and 11pm:
Your body is now focusing on the triple warmer and the endocrine system. At this time, you are least expected, or recommended, to eat. Preferably, one should continue to relax, while the body is working on its equilibrium and the replacements of enzymes used throughout the day. It's also the ideal and easiest time to go to sleep.
• Between 11pm and 1am:
While you are sleeping, your body is focusing on the gallbladder. If you suffer from gallstones, then you might experience some pain during this time.
• Between 1am and 3am:
The liver is now at work. Your body is detoxifying itself by processing alcohol, chemicals, drugs, and poor diet, and eliminating the unwanted substances, cleansing your blood as a result.