Having good quality sleep is the most important for the human body.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) said that “replenishing health with medicine is not as good as replenishing health with diet, but that replenishing health with sleep is the best treatment of all” This is truly agreed by the modern medicine.
During the sleep, the Pituitary gland in the brain produces Growth hormone and other hormones, which will slow aging. Growth hormone plays important roles in cell reproduction, cell regeneration, and stimulating growth, while melatonin produced by the Pineal gland help regulate body circadian rhythm (body clock), promote antioxidant and Growth hormone. With all of these during sleep, the body reduces cortisol, which causes stress, controlling insulin, and promote fat burn.
Therefore, having enough quality sleep will improve healthiness and longevity. On the contrary, sleep deprivation results in high blood pressure, high blood sugar, stress, obesity, and other health problems.
Body Energy (Qi) – Yin and Yang
Have you ever felt cold feet or chili in your body? That may be a sign that you do not have enough “Yang” in your body. The imbalance of yang in your body causes a deficiency in the immune system. The imbalance in qi (energy) in the body can cause sleep disorders.
According to Taoist concept, Qi circulates through the body and flows through the body’s “meridians”, such as lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, stomach, gallbladder, and so on. Six of the principal meridians are considered “yin”, and the other half (six) are considered “yang”. At night, yin is predominant in the body, and during the day, yang (associated with heat) takes over. (R)
Sleeping Trick – the Yin vs.Yang
Though you have good nutrition and exercise, lacking good quality sleep can cause serious health problems. Chronic insomnia and continuing sleep deprivation will negatively affect your immune system, emotion, concentration, and cognitive function. Sleep compensation during the day may not improve health issues.
I posted an article on Asian Herbs that helps sleepiness. Food that helps improve sleepiness has an element of “yin” that promotes cooling in the body and calms the nerve. They associate with improving circulation and balancing chemical in the human organism, like liver, spleen, and stomach. The benefits of “yin” food make you less irritable and restless.
Other than sleep food, TCM and Chinese wisdom also suggest the trick for helping sleepiness. If modern sleep techniques do not help you, here are two Chinese Yin-Yang techniques that may help.
1. Improve “Yang” meridian
You can practice the body by following these steps.
- Lay down on the flat floor or bed, bend your leg but the sole feet should face each other.
- Split each knee to the opposite direction.
- Feet will align with the middle of the bodyline.
- Place both palms on the stomach
- Practice breathing inhale through the nose and let the airflow into the stomach
- Practice exhale through the mouth
It is recommended that you will continue to practice the whole cycle for 30 minutes every night. To get the most benefit, you will practice mindfulness meditation during breathing. Focus on breathing and release unpleasant or worrying thoughts.
2. Cooperate “Yuan” meridian
After practicing the first technique for a month, you will practice the second technique, which is slightly different.
- Lay down the body and place your legs, feet, and knees the same as the first technique.
- This time you will connect both hands and place on your head.
- Practice the same breathing style as the first technique.
Practice the first and the second technique after the second month. To have the most benefit, you will focus on breathing and let your body relax.
There is no risk to have a try. It helps balance yin and yang in your body.
Sleep Clock – Yin vs. Yang Meridian Clock
Sleep is an essential part of human life. Sleep is very important that helps your body to recharge and perform at its best the next day.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it said, “When Yang is depleting and Yin is abundant, one’s eyes are closed. When Yin is depleting and Yang is predominant, one is awake.”. It simply explained that nighttime the body is at yin mode, while daytime is yang.
The ideal time for sleep, in accordance with the yin vs. yang meridian clock, is 11 pm to 7 am. The best time to sleep is between 9 pm to 11 pm. Qi (body energy) flows through 12 principal meridians within the body in a 24-hour cycle. When Qi flows through a specific principal meridian, it takes around 2 hours to vitalize and strengthen the organ system associated with that particular meridian before continuing to the subsequent meridian. If your sleep is disrupting, the paired organ systems may be affected.
Dr. Zach Pearl, Ph.D., explained the Chinese meridian clock based on TCM. It is similar to circadian rhythms (body clock) of 24 hours day and night. Each 2-hour sections in the Chinese meridian clock corresponding with an organ system. The particular organ system will function strongly in the body during a particular time.
In the image of the Chinese meridian clock, the strongest time for the digestive system is in the morning around 7 am to 9 am. This explains breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This wisdom is similar to modern medicine, as breakfast will give energy, and your body will burn calories for the activities during the day. You will not get fat from having breakfast.
During 11 pm to 7 am., the ideal sleep time, it is the strongest time for the lung, large intestine, liver, and gall bladder. This TCM and Chinese wisdom are supported by modern medicine, as these organs work for detoxification in the body. Therefore, this is the best sleep time for cleansing the body and brings them back to balance. In addition, it explains the best time for the bowel movement is around 7 am.
Similar to modern medicine for treating sleep disorders, the key recommendations would include reducing stress, avoiding late meal at night, avoid heavy exercise and coffee or alcohol before bedtime.
Traditional Chinese Medicine advised the sleep body direction should parallel with the earth magnetic field lines. The head points to the north and the feet points to the south. When you sleep, the magnetic wave from the earth will affect the brain. The earth magnetic field lines aligning with the body will improve the Qi balance in your body. This may be explained by the biomagnetism in the modern days.
According to Wikipedia, the origin of the world biomagnetism is unclear, but seems to have appeared several hundred years ago, linked to the expression “animal magnetism”. The scientific researchers began to measure the magnetic fields produced by the human body. The low-profile technique started the first valid measurement in 1963 and developed in 1970. So far there was no formal organization announce the research. However, the researchers are actively working on the measurement of the magnetic field of the brain.
Traditional Chinese Medicine recommended the best sleep position is sleeping on the right side. This position will reduce pressure on your heart from your body. The heart can work effectively during sleep.
There are many theories and ideas of sleep position. I suggest you will consider which sleep position is the most comfortable and able to help you sleep better. However, the benefit from sleeping on the side will prevent the tongue to block the airway during sleep. This is important for patients with sleep apnea. The side position is also preventing snoring.
The Bottom Line
During 11 pm to 1 am, the body temperature normally drops, and it is the best time to sleep. The suggested sleep hour for adults is 7 – 9 hours. When you sleep from 11 pm to 7 am, the particular organ system will work best and effectively for the benefits of your health. If you do not have good quality sleep during that time, the body does not allow the organ to work its best. That may affect your health in the long-term.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, sleep disorders are usually attributed to imbalances of yin and yang within the body. Oversleeping is a yang deficiency, while insomnia is a yin deficiency, and is associated with poor circulation, spleen deficiency or stress. The belief of qi meridian explains the organ systems work during the 24 hours of the day. It is best to follow the yin meridian during 11 pm to 5 am period that allows the yin organism like liver, lung, large intestine, stomach, and gallbladder, to work their best for detoxification resulting in good health.
My confession: I collect information about Traditional Chinese Medicine information from my family and friends, together with searching in the global network. Some of them I am not able to refer to the original site, as I learned from my ancestor and mouth to mouth about the Chinese wisdom. I hope it may be useful to you. I believe that traditional techniques are valuable and worthy to pass them on.
All the best for your good sleep!
Priscilla, Founder of TreatmentOfSleepDisorders.com