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The Chinese Body Clock: What Happens In Your Body During 3-5 AM

Chinese Medicine follows cyclical patterns, both physically, and in accordance with the natural world. Over a 24 hour cycle, Qi flows through each organ system every 2 hours. Read on to understand what happens between 3-5 am. 

Do you find that you often wake up at the same time in the middle of the night?
Any chance it falls between 3-5 am? 

Chinese Medicine follows cyclical patterns, both physically, and in accordance with the natural world. The Body-Energy Clock is therefore built upon the concept of the cyclical ebb and flow of energy throughout the body, as each organ is believed to have a specific time of day when it is most active and has its peak energy flow. During a 24-hour period, Qi moves in two-hour intervals through the organ systems. 

​So what happens to your body between 3-5 am? 


SuperFeast Lung Time

This period of time is governed by the Lungs and is a time of Yin. As the Qi moves into your Lungs at 3 am, a new 24-hour cycle begins and your soul is beginning to settle back into your physical body. 

As the Lungs govern grief and sadness, waking during this time may indicate that you are processing these emotions.  

​If you do wake up during this Lung period, it is best to stay in a gentle, resting state, without overly activating the mind. Continuing to lay in bed, meditate and relax into whatever you may be feeling. This time is seen to be deeply spiritual, allowing space for silent reflection.
​If you feel like you want to get up, do your less intense Qi cultivation practices, such as gentle breath work, Qi Gong, Tai Chi or Yin Yoga.


SuperFeast Body Clock


From a practical perspective, waking up between 3-5 am can be a sign of respiratory problems such as asthma or bronchitis, which may be aggravated during the night due to changes in temperature or humidity.

If you consistently wake up during this time and experience symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, or chest tightness, it's important to seek medical attention and address any underlying respiratory issues as this is an indication of disharmony within the Lungs and the smooth flow of Lung Qi.

Tonic Herbs

Incorporating tonic herbs can also be another tool you can use to support overall Lung health, Lung Qi, sleep and emotional processing. These are the herbs and blends we love to work with when experiencing disharmony in the Lungs: 

Lung support: QI Blend, Astragalus and Cordyceps 

Sleep support: Reishi, Ashwagandha, SHEN Blend

*Reishi and SHEN Blend are our favourites for working with the Heart and emotions. 

Learn more

The Lungs are associated with the season of Autumn/Fall and the Metal Element, so this is a particularly potent time to focus on this organ system of the body, but of course if you intuitively feel the pull to focus on this within yourself then we recommend doing so, regardless of the time of year. 

To dive deeper into the Lungs and sleep, check out some of our articles and podcast episodes below: 

Episode 156 - Autumn: The Metal Element, Lungs and Nature with Tahnee & Mason 

Episode 183 - Sleep Quality, Breathing & Child Development with Cole Clayton

Episode 176 - Improve You Sleep and Know Your Chronotype with Olivia Arezzolo

Episode 102 - The Importance of Sleep for Healthy Hun & Qi with Jost Sauer 

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Through The Taoist Lens: The Lungs

The Lungs are the most ‘external’ of the Yin organs; they are the connection between the body and the outside world. Read on to learn more about the Lungs through the Taoist lens. 

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Through The Taoist Lens: The Lungs