With a third of American adults reportedly not getting the recommended amount of sleep, waking up periodically throughout the night is not unexpected. However, the time that you find yourself waking up may provide some insight into your life.
Sure, there are always going to be outside distractions in life that have the ability to negatively impact our quality of sleep, like a crying baby or a new puppy that’s determined its time to go out. However, if you notice yourself regularly waking up at the same time with no reasonable explanation, your body may be trying to send you a message. The only way to return to a restful and uninterrupted sleep? To identify what your body is trying to tell you, and address its concerns.
The concept is based on a traditional Chinese belief that the body contains an ‘energy highway’ throughout which the Qi, or life energy, flows. Throughout the body, there are ‘channels’ or ‘meridians’ through which this energy flows. Each is associated with the distribution of energy for various aspects of our lives, such as the energy necessary for the optimal function of major organs, or to the brain, the help regulate mood and stress levels. This is the foundation for traditional acupuncture practices, using these points to relieve ailments throughout the body.
When these meridians are experiencing distress, they send signals to the brain to warn us. For example, if you are currently experiencing an upset stomach, the associated meridian (in this case, the Leg Yang Ming) will alert us that something is wrong. This is a system designed to encourage quick and effective treatment of all ailments.
If you are routinely waking up at the same time night after night, there is a good chance that this is the efforts of a specific energy meridian to get your attention. By tracking the time that you wake up each night, you can identify patterns of behavior.
If you wake up at the same time every night, what is your body trying to tell you?
9 PM to 11 PM: Stress
If you find that you have a very hard time falling asleep and staying asleep between the hours of 9 PM and 11 PM, this is a good indicator that you are experiencing an extreme amount of stress in your life. This could come in the form of a stressful situation at work, or simply working too hard, difficulties in your relationship, family struggles or financial problems. Whatever the cause, the sooner you alleviate that stress factor in your life, the sooner you’ll find yourself falling asleep with ease. In the meantime, meditation and breathing exercises have been found effective in the management of stress.
11 PM to 1 AM: Heightened Emotions or Gallbladder Issues
If you are dealing with a highly emotional time in your life right now, such as a failed relationship or the loss of a job, this can impact your ability to sleep between the hours of 11 PM and 1 AM. This may also reflect ongoing emotional struggles, such as those individuals who struggle with feelings of self-confidence and self-worth. Focus on positive affirmations to help boost your mood and invite positivity into your life. On the physical side, this is also the time that is associated with the function of your gallbladder. Other signs and symptoms of gallbladder problems include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, unusual stools or urine, fever or chills, and abdominal pain.
1 AM to 3 AM: Anger and Frustration or Trouble with the Liver
We often overlook the incredible impact that anger and frustration can have on our lives. Whether you’re holding onto resentment from a situation in the past or a stressful and frustrating situation that you are currently faced with, you don’t have to allow this negative and toxic energy to infect your life. Take a deep breath and try to focus on the positive. Remember that holding onto grudges and resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it will hurt someone else – you’re the one that’s going to pay the ultimate price. This may also indicate that something is preventing your liver from functioning at its optimal level. If you notice signs of liver disease or failure including jaundice, fatigue, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, or mental confusion, seek medical attention immediately.
3 AM to 5 AM: Spiritual Awakening, Sadness or Ailments of the Lungs
There are a few causes that could be associated with waking up at this time, so you are going to have to reflect and consider which may apply to your life. If you are waking up due to a physical ailment, it is likely associated with the function of your lungs. Have you been feeling out of breath, or struggling to keep up with your usual daily routine? If so, contact a medical professional. If you haven’t, the next consideration is an emotional struggle, specifically feelings of sadness and/or depression. Those who feel as though they are living under a dark cloud often find themselves waking up at this time. Finally, if you have eliminated both other potential causes, this may not be a sign of a struggle at all. Practitioners believe that the energy meridians associated with the spirit and spiritual awakening may be active at this specific time in the morning. Take a deep breath and embrace the experience, opening your heart and your mind to the changes you are currently undergoing. You will come out of this a more evolved version of yourself.
5 AM to 7 AM: Emotional Blockages or Digestive Issues, Specifically the Large Intestine
You may notice that you not only are waking up at this specific time in the morning, but you’re also experiencing signs of digestive upset including nausea, heartburn, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting or changes to your bowel movements. If so, then you are likely dealing with an issue relating to the digestive tract. These ailments are incredibly common; however, they can also be pretty serious if they are left unaddressed. The best thing you can do is to seek the opinion of a medical professional for the next steps. If this is not the case, you may be struggling with unresolved or suppressed emotions. Take a deep breath, find a quiet place alone and do some serious self-reflection. Are there emotions you are avoiding expressing? Unfortunately, while it may seem like the easy solution these emotions will continue to fester beneath the surface until they are addressed. The only way to be free of them is to work through them and release them once and for all.