What Traditional Chinese Medicine Thinks about Sleep Cycle and Ideal Bedtime
Published | 4 min read
Suffering from insomnia? Not sure when to sleep? Traditional Chinese Medicine's view on the sleep cycle may have the solution for you!
When we doze off, our brain goes through a
The concept of the sleep cycle explained above is based on the 2007 guidelines of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). However, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sees it differently. By looking at what happens in our body every hour while being asleep—and awake, TCM’s version of the sleep cycle may give us an idea about the best time to go to bed. Keep reading to know more!
Sleeping and the Sleep Cycle in TCM
To understand the sleep mechanism from TCM’s point of view, we must first go back to one of its foundations, the
The ancient Chinese medical text,
This process can also explain
Ideal Bedtime Based on TCM’s Sleep Cycle
While wei qi circulates the body, it goes through the meridians (the channels where our qi, blood and body fluids move). Wei qi does this 25 times along
The chart below depicts which meridians
|3am – 5am||Lungs|
|5am – 7am||Large |
|9am – 11am||Spleen|
|11am – 1pm||Heart|
|1pm – 3pm||Small intestines|
|3pm – 5pm||Bladder|
|5pm – 7pm||Kidneys|
|7pm – 9pm||Kidneys|
|9pm – 11pm||Triple burner (the system that manages the movement of water)|
|11pm – 1am||Gall bladder|
The chart above can also identify if there’s a disruption in the organ systems. If sleep constantly gets disturbed at a particular hour, it may indicate trouble in the corresponding organ.
A good night’s rest is vital well-being, and to achieve that, you need to maintain a healthy sleep cycle. Your job or life demands may keep you awake for many hours, and you may not know when to take a break.
This is an adaptation of an article, “Natural Rhythm of Yin and Yang in Our Body”, which first appeared on the Eu Yan Sang website.
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- Eu Yan Sang. 2018. TCM And Childhood Ailments: Disturbed Sleep [online]. Available at: <https://www.euyansang.com.sg/en/tcm-and-childhood-ailments%3A-disturbed-sleep/eyschailments2.html> [Accessed 27 March 2022]
- Science Direct. 2016. Human biological rhythm in traditional Chinese medicine [online]. Available at: <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095754816301028> [Accessed 27 March 2022]
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