Is there a right time to go to sleep?
Are you hurting your chance of a good night’s sleep by going to bed too late?
Is that right time the same for everyone?
Lately, I’ve worked with several clients on adjusting their sleep routine, not because of their problem with sleep, but because of their other health challenges. Improving the quality of one’s sleep is an essential part of my comprehensive healing approach. For some, it’s one of the most important aspects.
Most of us have a set routine around sleeping and waking up, even though we may not think of it as a routine. We go to sleep around the same time. We’ve formed habits, either out of necessity or by choice.
Over time, the routine takes over, and we say we’re a “morning person” or “night owl”.
As a routine’s formed, a routine can change, too, if you have a darn good reason to change it.
Now back to my original question. Are you hurting yourself by going to sleep too late? Is there a right time to go to sleep?
Yes, as a matter of fact, because of how your body is designed.
In Chinese Medicine, we work with meridians, the energy pathways on the surface of the human body. Each organ has a meridian associated with it. Meridians and organs work together to optimize our bodily functions.
Much like some hormones and many physical functions, the meridians in your body go through a 24-hour cycle. Each meridian energy has a high and low tide in a 24-hour period.
You may have noticed that you get a little bit drowsy around 8 or 9pm. But if you push through that period, your mind becomes alert around 10 or 11pm. You get a second wind.
That’s because three of your meridians come alive late at night. The Triple Warmer meridian enters high tide from 9-11pm. The Gall Bladder meridian enters high tide from 11pm-1am. The Liver meridian enters high tide from 1-3am.
Around midnight, the yang energy in your body starts to grow, setting the stage for a new day. Yang energy is what makes you feel vibrant and healthy. It’s what protects you from the energies that cause illnesses. The best time for your body to nurture your yang energy is from 11pm-1am, which means that you should be in bed and asleep.
In addition, your liver rejuvenates from 11pm-3am. During that time, if you stay awake, you’re interfering with your liver’s ability to do a good job at the 100+ functions it performs for the body. Over time, it gets taxed because of that interference.
An unbalanced liver meridian is one of the main reasons that people have trouble sleeping, including both falling asleep or sleeping through the night.
So, you want to protect the health of your liver meridian.
The more minutes or hours that you sleep before midnight, the better off your liver will be.
If you currently go to sleep after midnight, I suggest that you set a goal to gradually move it to midnight over a two-week period.
If you currently go to sleep around midnight, I suggest that you gradually move it to before 11pm.
This simple change alone goes a long way in ensuring a healthy body.
BTW, I once mentioned the fact that the Liver meridian is at its high tide from 11pm-1am in a workshop. An MD in the audience commented that, according to Western Medicine, your liver is most effective in processing cholesterol from 1-3am. This coincides nicely with the peak hour of the Liver meridian that Chinese Medicine speaks of.
I hope this information provides enough incentive for you to look into when you go to sleep.
If, on the other hand, you do go to sleep before 11pm and still have trouble sleeping, stay tuned! I’ll discuss more about sleep in the coming weeks and months.