Listen to Your Inner Tic-Toc (not the App)
Waking up in the middle of the night to go to empty your bladder is a sign of the time, something that starts happening as we get older and that we learn to accept. It is simply a decrease of a hormone called ADH…
Are you sure? What time do you wake up to go to the bathroom? Is it random or have you noticed that you wake up at the same time every night? Did you wake up because you had to go, or did you wake up first and then assumed it was to go to the bathroom? And if you are under 60, your ADH should be working just fine, so why are you waking up?
When we sleep our body works very hard to repair itself. Waking up could be a sign you will want to pay attention to. The same is true during the day. As we are busy going on about our work or daily routine, we pay little attention to what is going on inside of us on a cellular level. Yet billions of micro-processes are happening without our conscious awareness. But is there a time of the day when you feel drained, or particularly full of energy?
Across cultures, philosophies, and medicine both modern and ancient, there is a common knowledge that our body is regulated by an internal clock, one very much in sync with nature. The clock has many names, Biological, Circadian, Meridian or Ayurvedic and originated in different parts of the world, sometimes 4000 years apart. Yet no matter which you refer to, it always seems to agree that there is a perfect time of the day for everything… eating, working, creating, resting, laughing, thinking, emptying your bowel or bladder, and even having sex.
The Chinese Meridian clock works in 2-hour segments, the Ayurvedic in 4-hour segments and some physiological activities have a 12-hour cycle; yet when you take a closer look, they overlap nicely and identify the same general principles, organ activities, physiological processes and day and night equilibrium. If you woke up every night around 2:30 a.m. for example, it would correspond to the time your liver is working hardest to detoxify and regenerate, and it might be telling you it needs some extra help. In this case, go back to our May 7 post on how to detox your liver or consider having a check-up.
Working from the Chinese Meridian clock, incorporating ayurvedic, endocrinology, physiology and homotoxicology elements, I created a time chart with corresponding organs and ideal activity to maximize our natural ability to detoxify, repair-and-rebuilt, and to live in a more harmonious, natural way.
When looking at it, keep in mind that depending on season, latitude and corresponding daylight hours, our clock will vary and fluctuate. Moreover, each individual is different and the amount of sleep, energy, focus and need to unwind will change accordingly. These individual shifts (great and small) are influenced by body type, age, personality and even blood type. Some of us are early riser and some are night owls, so it is important to listen to your own body’s needs and adjust the clock to your own metabolism.
But most of us, especially those of us living in the city, away from nature, have become comfortable with habits that aren’t necessarily healthy, habits we might sometimes be unwilling to change as we do not like to venture outside of our comfort zone, or because we might not perceive them a threat to our health and even because we think they make our lives easier... A healthy circadian rhythm however, improves every aspect of our mental and physical health, positively affecting our mood, our ability to adapt to change, to handle stress, our focus, productivity, healthy cell proliferation, optimal energy and deep restorative sleep.
Of course, work might sometime pull us away from our natural clock, working 10 hours without a drink of water or pulling an all-nighter, sleeping all day the following day. These should, however, be occasional and not habitual, and in between work commitments, one should try and have a well-balanced rhythm.
Connect to your body and your needs to find your ideal rhythm and try and create a nice flow between energizing activities and relaxing practices. Your health depends on it.
Looking at the chart, you can observe that slower activities, like walking, resting, meditation or breathing exercises are recommended after lunch or dinner. This is to promote good digestion, and since our digestion is handled by our parasympathetic autonomic nervous system, it makes perfect sense.
When our work or habits take us too far from our own biological clock, disease can happen. Night workers for example develop vagal tone related illnesses.
I invite you to tune in to your body, look at the chart and identify what habits, if any, might be harmful to your mental and physical health, then decide what you are willing to change. Make time for your friends, invite joy and laughter, do yoga, go walking, stretch, and go back for example, to one of our meditation or breathing exercise you remember really enjoying and try to do it daily. Listen to our 5 min health tips on the vagus nerve, our detox or adrenal fatigue post and if you can, incorporate some of the advice into your daily life.
Thank you for spending a few minutes with me reading this.
Love and Joy,
 ADH or Anti Diuretic Hormone is a hormone made by the hypothalamus in our brain, that helps our kidneys manage the amount of water in your body by regulating and balancing the amount of water in our blood.  Our body is “immersed” in a viscous liquid called the ECM (extra cellular matrix) made mostly of proteins and molecules. It protects and envelops our organs acting as a barrier, inhibiting cell migration. A compromised ECM will allow diseased cells, like tumor cells, to travel to other organs causing metastasis. ECM has 2 distinct phases called SOL-GEL. During the SOL phase (daytime), it is less gelatinous and vehicles both nutrients to the cells and waste materials out of the cells for proper detox. During the GEL phase (nighttime), there is a higher content of proteins like collagen that make it less fluid to promote proper cell repair and to build new cells and tissues. These phases are regulated by our autonomic sympathetic central nervous system and parasympathetic central nervous system. The first is more active during the day and promotes the release of hormones like adrenaline to wake us up and keep us alert and focused and the latter is mainly active in the evening, releasing hormones that inhibit adrenaline like melatonin to prepare us for a good night sleep. Smaller shifts between the two nervous system occur throughout the day performing different activities. These shorter shifts explain why the Biological Clock’s is organized in 2-hour segments and not simply 2 main ones (day and night).  The autonomic sympathetic central nervous system is our stress responder, and it can save us in case of danger; in doing so, it inhibits (temporarily) ‘useless’ functions like our digestion which is operated by our autonomic parasympathetic central nervous system. When we are under constant stress (sympathetic mode), our digestion will be halted or slowed down, and we will develop digestive issues and illnesses like acid reflux disease and irritable bowel syndrome.