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Traditional Chinese medicine doctor on optimising your day according to your body clock

Traditional Chinese medicine expert, Dr Marina Christov, shares how you can work with – rather than against – your body clock’s natural rhythms to have the best day possible. 

The concept of the ‘the perfect day’ is one we all strive for, but it’s hard to achieve. With so much advice as to when to do what, it can be confusing. Whether it’s knowing how much alcohol to drink , when to have sex, or the best time to sleep – we live in a world of idealised routines.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the advice available, it might be time to take a step back and follow the natural rhythm of your body. Melbourne-based acupuncturist and traditional Chinese medicine expert, Dr Marina Christov, believes in following the cycle of Qi energy and the body’s natural rhythms to optimise wellness, but also to get the most out of your day. Implementing her small changes into your daily routine can make a big difference.

The best time to wake: 5 – 7AM

If we were living according to the sun and rising when it does, the hours between five and seven AM would be ideal for waking up and dedicating an hour to the practices that encourage deep breathing, exercise and movement, ideally in nature. Try walking, meditating or practicing a relaxing morning ritual, ahead of any rushing around.

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The best time to nourish the body: 7 – 9AM

The time of day for the stomach is between seven and nine AM. It is the ‘Earth time’ and a vital opportunity to get nourished and grounded before the busyness of the day. During this time, the digestive energy peaks and we can best take in nourishment and digest it.

According to Chinese Medicine, the sweet flavour needs to dominate your breakfast options, as it is affiliated with this element. Think of fresh fruit, porridge with honey etc. This is also the ideal time to empty the bowels.

The best time to nourish the heart: 11AM – 1PM

Between 11AM and one PM, is the ideal time to nourish the heart energy. Think about what you can do during this time to pull your focus on contributing in the most meaningful way. Meetings scheduled around this time can be fruitful if we are in harmony, as well as taking time out to nurture and nourish our hearts. Think about having a nourishing lunch, add in 15 minutes of meditation, and try to incorporate at least one act of kindness at this time.

The best time to refuel: 3 – 5PM

Between three and five PM is the ideal time to refuel our adrenal glands. Have a handful of walnuts, drink a cup of green tea, stretch the back, and hydrating your body are really important here. It’s also a great time to scheduling a ‘loving’ treatment during this time if you are experiencing fatigue.

What is a ‘loving’ treatment? It’s anything that helps ‘fill your cup’, and is performed by a therapist that you trust and have a rapport with. Your emotional connection with your therapist is key – so that the treatment is more about being ‘nourished’ rather than a quick ‘drive-through’ activity. The treatment type is of secondary importance to the relationship you have with your therapist. Reflexology, kinesiology, massage, acupuncture are all examples of techniques that can then support our bodies further in a holistic and loving way.

The best time to connect: 7 – 9PM

The time between seven and nine PM corresponds to the pericardium meridian, and is the ideal time for intimate meaningful family connections. The pericardium meridian, is the protector of the heart. In Chinese medicine the heart is seen as the ’emperor’ of the body, and the pericardium is the keeper of the gateway to the heart.

Healthy boundaries will be maintained if this meridian is functioning well. If there are ongoing emotional traumas or issues that interrupt the wellbeing of our hearts (like lack of self-worth, low self-esteem, or poor body image) the pericardium meridian can become blocked.

The key this meridian functioning well is to make this your time of day for connection. The early evening is the ideal time for intimate meaningful family connections, is a great time to make new friends or to go on a date. It is also the ideal time to make love!

The best time for deep rest: 11PM – 1AM

Between 11pm and one AM we should be fast asleep. This is when the muscles and tendons relax and is the ideal time to let go of the day.

This time corresponds to the Gallbladder Meridian, which relates to both these physical elements and your tenacity (as in, having the gall to do something). If you are distracted during that time, and this meridian is off-balance, it can undermine your capacity to make good decisions.

The best time for recovery: 1 – 3AM

Between one and three AM is the peak energy of the liver – the body’s detoxification time. Partying too much and consuming alcohol at this time is very much against the cycle. It is time to take care of yourself.

The best time to recharge: 3 – 5AM

The time between 3 and 5AM relates to the Lung Meridian. A lot of people wake up when they are stressed during this period. Similarly, asthma suffers tend to feel more discomfort at this time.

To achieve balance at this time you actually have to have put the work in during your waking hours. To keep this balanced – and stay asleep to recharge – you need to ensure you are oxygenated. How? Be conscious of your breathing techniques and fuel your body with a healthy dose of green food every day, which helps to release oxygen.