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Go To Bed Early To Combat Chronic Disease

    14924181236_5b5df42345_zMany patients come to see me in Mamaroneck seeking acupuncture for various conditions.  Most of these patients not only get acupuncture and herbal medicine but they also get help through lifestyle adjustments.  Adjusting your sleep is one of them,  Going to bed at a reasonable time can have a strong effect on your mental, emotional and physical health.

    In ancient China people believed the cycles of the body followed the cycles of the natural world.  They thought if you go against these natural cycles disease will arise.  The ancient Chinese also believed you should not only dress properly for the seasons but you should also attune your exercise, rest, sleep, diet and lifestyle to fit with the changing of the seasons.  For example, in winter time you should eat more warming and nourishing foods such as meat, root vegetables, cabbage and other winter vegetables.  You should also eat more cooked foods and fewer raw foods.  In the winter time you should also go to bed earlier and sleep a little later.  Exercise should be more contemplative and meditative.  Qigong and meditation are good for the winter time.  Life should slow down during this time of the year.  The winter time in Chinese medicine corresponds to the water element.  In Chinese Cosmology the organ related to the water element are the Kidneys.  The Kidneys should be nourished during the times that correspond to the water element.

      In Chinese Cosmology there are also time periods during the day that correspond to one of the five elemental energies in nature (metal, water, wood, fire and earth).  The time of the day that corresponds to the water element are the hours between 11:00 pm and 1:00 am.  This is also the time when yin energy reaches its peak and yang energy begins to rise.  This changing from yin to yang is a very good time to strengthen your kidneys and the yang energy of your body.  The kidneys are like your body’s battery and the yang qi is like the electricity that allows your body to function.  This is the most important time of the day for you to be sleeping.  Chinese people believe it is not only important to get enough sleep but to sleep at the proper time.  Going to bed at ten and being asleep during the hours of 11:00 pm and 1:00 am is a very good way to strengthen your yang energy and kidney energy.  This is especially true for young people, elderly people, people suffering from chronic illness and for everyone who wants to stay healthy.  Almost all chronic disease has some aspect of kidney deficiency.

      Infertility, chronic knee pain, chronic back pain, urinary problems, low energy, sexual dysfunction, some forms of anxiety and depression, excessive fear, general body weakness, weak teeth, poor hearing, some forms of tinnitus, problems with water metabolism, symptoms of menopause are all good examples. We as modern people like to stay up late doing work, watching television, going out with friends and many other popular late night activities.  In regards to your health it is okay to occasionally stay up late into the night but over time it will cause your kidneys to weaken and your overall health to suffer.  So for a long and healthy life.  Try to go to bed early.


Photo: ‘Mossyard Moonlight_8247’by Rob O’hara Courtesy of Creative Commons

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