Have you ever gone through a rough stretch where night after night, you wake up at 3 am, finding it difficult to fall back to sleep? You may chalk it up to a full workload or relationship problems, but sometimes the problem may be deeper than you think. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine Theory, waking up at particular times during normal sleeping hours can be a symptom of an organ imbalance.
Chinese Medicine uses the theory of the Chinese clock to describe a set of activities that happen on a daily basis and also affects our health. According to the Chinese Clock, one can determine when an organ is at its energetic peak or resting period throughout a 24 hour period.
This information can help a Chinese Medical Practitioner determine which organ is in need of some adjusting to restore balance in the patient’s body. Below is a detailed chart describing each organ’s peak energetic time throughout a 24 hour period and symptoms commonly associated with that particular organ dysfunction.
Here is a brief description of physical and emotional functions of these organs commonly disrupted when a patient is presenting with insomnia.
11pm-1am Gall Bladder:
Physically, the gallbladder stores and excretes bile, but emotionally, it is in charge of self-esteem and decision-making. If you’re not sleeping by this time, you are depleting your gall bladder’s energy stores. Over time, this can lead to poor self-esteem, poor judgment, or difficulty digesting fats.
The liver’s role is to store blood for menstruation and to get us through the day. If you’re not sleeping at this time, you can quickly become deficient, especially if you are female because of the importance of blood for menstruation. The liver is also emotionally connected to anger. You may find that you wake up between 1-3am if you have repressed anger or long-standing resentment. Symptoms of liver imbalances include irregular menstruation, anemia, chronic fatigue, and headache.
The lung is responsible for moving the qi (energy) through the meridians and to the entire body, as well as providing immune protection. It is also emotionally associated with grief. You may wake up during these times if you are struggling with grief or sorrow. Imbalances may also show up as wheezing, coughing, or asthma.
Ok, it’s my Gallbladder’s fault. Now what?
Treating insomnia due to any organ imbalance is possible with Acupuncture, Herbs and Lifestyle modifications. With a tongue and pulse diagnosis, I can put together an herbal formula and acupuncture treatment plan that can address the root cause of any symptom. My favorite herbal formula to address most common types of insomnia is Suan Zao Ren Tang (Zizzyphus Tincture).
Zizzyphus tincture contains a blend of Chinese medicinal herbs used for thousands of years to treat insomnia. Suan zao ren chao (roasted sour jujube seed) chuan xiong (Sichuan lovage root) fu ling kuai (poria cocos fruiting body) zhi mu (anemarrhena rhizome) and gan cao (Chinese licorice root)
I generally recommend patients take 30-40 drops in a little bit of water 30-60 minutes before desired sleep time. It works instantly and doesn’t leave you with that groggy feeling in the morning.
*This formula is contraindicated if have high blood pressure. If you are pregnant or nursing you should always consult your physician before taking any new medication.