Body Clock Reset (For Better Detoxing)
Did you know that your organs are following a schedule, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty five days a year?
In fact, this routine prevails even if you’ve set yourself up to follow a specific detox regime (Hi, Total Body Reset), and the best, most effective resets are created when you sync your regimen up with your body's internal clock.
Let's start at the beginning: my body has internal rhythm (other than what I bust out at 305 Fitness?)...?
Science calls this a ‘circadian rhythm’ (aka internal body clock) which determines the patterns of our brain wave activity, hormones, cell regeneration and most biological activities. An interrupted circadian rhythm has been linked to medical issues, such as infertility, obesity, seasonal affective disorder, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and even cancer; a body that follows its rhythm has been shown to have a better chance at improved metabolism, detoxification, brain focus and immunity.
Yet before modern science existed, ancient systems like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda observed these cycles and found that different hours of the day resonate with certain organs. The qi, or energy, in your body flows through the 12 meridians throughout the 24-hour clock, and it alternates between yin and yang peaks. If you support the energy of the organ at that time, it will flow smoothly. Disrupted energy flow can lead to health problems, but you can also figure out the roots of them and see which organ needs more love by taking note of when you get that foggy-brained slump at the same time each day.
Getting synced up with the body’s rhythm can make health effortless – a lot of the time we’re working against our own clocks, and wonder why we struggle getting results. Don’t expect an overnight shift – it can take a couple weeks to get back in sync, but when you do, I swear you’ll feel the difference.
Gallbladder: 11pm -1am
Do: Sleep! Especially if you’ve worked out that day – your gallbladder plays a huge role in ridding your body of excess lactic acid. The gallbladder meridian is found alongside the side of the legs where the dreaded IT bands are: forget the foam rollers and make sure you’re regularly asleep at this time.
Don’t: Drink or eat. If you must be awake, take a moment to relax and do something self-affirming that makes you feel good. An epsom bath is a great idea if you’re up but aching from your workout.
Do: Sleep. Many people wake up around this time feeling restless, or get night sweats – a major indication the liver is trying to get rid of excess toxins. Make it a habit to be asleep in ‘liver’ hours the majority of the week. Ladies – the liver stores blood and plays a huge role in menstrual health. If your periods are less than comfortable, going to bed earlier can really help balancing things out down there.
Don’t: Drink or eat – this gives the liver too much to process, and not enough time to detoxify.
Do: Sleep. Your lungs are the container for your life force, qi, prana etc. Give them the time they need to heal and regenerate so you can wake up feeling energized. They are distributing blood and energy to all your organs at this time. Many people dealing with grief will wake up in these hours. If you wake up coughing in these hours it could be an indication your lungs have been overloaded with a few too many pollutants, or simply that you are on the brink of a cold.
Don’t: Stay awake. If you’re partying, get away from the cigarette smoke and get some fresh air.
Large intestine: 5am-7am
Do: Wake up! Drink water or warm, cleansing, lemon water or tonics. Go to the bathroom... this is your time to ‘let go’. If you’re constipated at this hour, TCM says it’s the best time to do your enema / colonic at this time – to get your body more loose and in the habit of letting go of waste. Practice yoga, qi gong, breathing. Give your belly a massage. Take a shower, cleanse yourself.
Don't: drink caffeine/coffee.
Do: EAT Breakfast. I’ve seen ex-breakfast-skippers literally drop weight off by beginning to eat a regular healthy breakfast during these hours. In TCM, the strength of your stomach’s energy plays a huge role in maintaining a healthy weight – let it do it’s thing by giving it something to metabolize at the time it is most active. Remember - your stomach is a muscle! Its job is to digest and break down food. If you don’t give it any food during it’s peak hours, it may begin to loose some muscle memory and become weaker. Take a moment to ground yourself before diving into your to-do list. Go for a short stroll.
Don’t: Skip breakfast. I know not everyone is hungry at this time – but have something small (lack of hunger in this peak hour could be an indication of a low metabolism). Don’t worry/over-think about your day now – the stomach (and spleen) correspond to the emotion of worry and anxiousness.
Do: Get sh*t done. Make plans. Do work that requires you to stay grounded and focused. Have a warming tea. Craving sweets at this time or feeling bloated could mean your spleen is out of balance.
Don’t: Eat too much.
Do: Siesta! Eat a grounding lunch. Take a break or go for a little walk. Do some calm breathing.
Don’t: Work out too intensely, drink caffeine, engage in stressful situations – these are all far too ‘heating’ for the fiery heart and can raise blood pressure too high.
Small Intestines: 1pm-3pm
Do: Get back to business - the small intestine works to separate and distribute digested nutrients, and you should also use this time to get organized and productive. Drink water. If you feel dehydrated at this time, it’s usually an indication you have not drunk enough fluids throughout the day. Take your vitamins, and snack on your super foods! The small intestine loves getting nutrients for its walls to absorb.
Don’t: Eat too much.
Do: Work on important projects! This is a really efficient time to work since energy and blood flow are actively into the brain along the bladder meridian. If you’re not feeling too perky - get hydrated. Support the bladder’s detoxifying function by drinking hot tea and lemon water to help things flow out of the body... Also a good time to journal any stuck feelings and emotions.
Don’t: Drink alcohol or caffeine. Have sweets. If you’re feeling sluggish at this time, it could be an indication that yeast or Candida is living in your body.
Do: Have a healthy, light dinner. Drink a little wine. Have sex! It will keep your kidney essence nice and strong. This could be a great time to workout since cardiovascular efficiency and muscle strength peaks.
Don’t: get too drunk. If you’re feeling weak and debilitated, it could indicate your sexual organs are out of balance.
Do: Meditate. Stretch. Yin Yoga. Relax. Light reading Get ready for sleep – this is a fiery accessory organ that is best supported with soothing and cooling activities. Soak your feet in hot water to pull out ‘damp heat’ from the body and get your blood flowing.
Don’t: think too much or snack on sweet things.
Triple Burner: 9pm-11pm
Do: Begin to go to bed. Sleep. Adjust this for the seasons – go to bed closer to 9pm in the winter, and later in the summer. Sex and fertility are also favored at this time if you are calm and content.
Don’t: have sex at this time if you’ve eaten or drunk too much, or feel stressed. Don’t work or stay outside.