woman holding a clock


The Best Time to Eat, Sleep, and Even Pay Your Bills — According to Chinese Medicine

May 3, 2018 By

I was having acai bowls at the neighborhood health foods cafe with my friend Monica the other day, and she told me the most peculiar thing.

She started waking up at 6:45 AM every day without an alarm. At first, she didn’t take much notice of this since her alarm usually goes off at 7:30 AM.

But eventually, she became curious why her body’s “natural alarm clock” shifted to 6:45 AM — almost right on the dot, every morning.

She mentioned this to her chiropractor, and he told her about the Circadian Rhythm and the “Body Organ Clock.”


You see, the Circadian Rhythm is basically a 24-hour internal clock that regulates the biological functions of all living things, from bacteria to mammals.

It regulates the cycles between your energy levels, feeding times, hormone production, and brain wave activity.

The Body Organ Clock is a concept from the ancient practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), that is based off the Circadian Rhythm.

TCM focuses on a holistic approach. Good health is considered to be the effect of a harmonious relationship with the outside environment. TCM includes herbal medicine, acupuncture, acupressure massage, and exercise.

According to the ancient theory of meridians, and the principles of yin and yang in TCM, each organ is most active during a specific time of the day — resulting in the body organ “clock” below.

body organ clock diagram

The 24-hour clock is divided into 12 two-hour intervals in which the organs are active in “yin and yang” — or opposites.

So, the organ that is most active at 12AM is also least active at 12PM.

And according to this Body Organ Clock, the sharpest rise in blood pressure occurs at 6:45 AM — exactly when Monica was waking up!

Now, perhaps you’re reading this and thinking, “well, I wake up at 3AM,” or “I always hit a 4PM slump at work.”

And these occurrences aren’t random.

For instance, if you experience digestive issues, it could be because you’re not eating at the right time. So if you have a midnight snack, the small intestine is not prepared to properly absorb food at that time.

Or, if you have trouble focusing in the afternoon, you could try rearranging some of your tasks to better fit the “mental alertness” time block between 9AM – 11AM.

So, take a look at the details below to find out when each organ is active, and the optimal activity at that time.

And if you find these tips as useful as I did, feel free to share this post on your favorite platform using the social sharing buttons at the bottom of the page!

How to Use the Body Organ Clock to Optimize Your Day


Morning: Wake Up, Hydrate, Fuel, and Be Active


woman eating breakfast

5AM – 7AM
Organ: Large Intestine
Optimize: Wake up and drink 16+ oz. of water. Your body needs water for a healthy colon, so avoid caffeine.

7AM – 9AM
Organ: Stomach
Optimize: Eat breakfast. Fruit, protein, healthy fats, and low GI (glycemic index) carbs are a good choice. If you take vitamins, now’s the time.

9AM – 11AM
Organ: Spleen
Optimize: The spleen supports metabolism and converts nutrients into energy. This is a great time for mental alertness, work, and physical activity.

11AM – 1PM
Organ: Heart
Optimize: Eat a nutrient-balanced lunch that isn’t too filling. This is a great time to socialize with people, offer to be of service, and cooperate with others.

Afternoon: Get Organized and Detox


woman paying bills

1PM – 3PM
Organ: Small Intestine
Optimize: The body is digesting, so this is a good time to “mull things over” like solving problems or getting organized.

3PM – 5PM
Organ: Bladder
Optimize: This is the best time for efficient afternoon work and studying. Drinks liquids (especially tea) to detox.

5PM – 7PM
Organ: Kidneys
Optimize: Kidneys are your energy reserves. This is a time to eat dinner and restore you energy.

Evening: Restore and Relax


reading in the evening to relax

7PM – 9PM
Organ: Pericardium (the membrane around your heart)
Optimize: This is a good time for intimacy and socializing. Now is also the best time to get a massage or do light stretching (both have to do with circulation).

9PM – 11PM
Organ: Thyroid and Adrenals
Optimize: This is a time for energy transfer and temperature regulation. Avoid eating, instead do a relaxing activity like reading.

Night: Time of Deep Rest


11PM – 1AM
Organ: Gallbladder
Optimize: Sleep and regenerate. If you have gallstones, they may start to act up and cause pain during this time.

1AM – 3AM
Organ: Liver
Optimize: This is a time for deep resting and dreaming while your liver is detoxing. If you wake up during this time, your liver is taxed by a poor diet, alcohol, or drugs.

3AM – 5AM
Organ: Lungs
Optimize: You should be in deep sleep while your lungs are expelling toxins. If you wake up congested, or cough at this time, your lungs are overburdened.

Of course the demands of modern life don’t always make it possible to follow this clock. But, it’s a great way to check in with your body and perhaps gain a little more insight into how it functions.

And if there is anything in your life you want to take control of — such as the best time to pay bills (hint, it’s 1PM – 3PM) — you can reference this breakdown.

Do you know anyone in your life that could learn from this as well? Feel free to share this post with them!

Or were you already doing some activities at these particular times? Let me know in the comments below!

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body clock circadian rhythm eating schedule healthy sleeping habits TCM wellness