3AM: Cat fight!
Screeching, hissing, and an occasional yowl drift up from the backyard.
I stare at the ceiling, wide awake.
Sound familiar? Okay, maybe not the cat fight part but how about the lying wide awake, staring at the ceiling, cursing fate…
… And then cursing the woman who cut you off on the freeway and your boss who just doesn’t seem to get that, yes, you do actually need to eat lunch.
Why do we get so angry in the middle of the night?
Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches that qi, or energy, moves through the body on a 24-hour cycle. 1-3AM is liver time.
The liver is associated with anger and frustration. If you are waking up at 3AM, gnashing your teeth and replaying the day’s frustrations, your liver is trying to tell you something.
What to do:
- Give your liver a voice. Before you go to bed, spend fifteen minutes letting it out. No, don’t put this in your journal; we self-edit in our journals. Use a piece of scrap paper so you feel free to scrawl any nasty, ugly, insecure thought or emotion that crosses your mind.Do NOT re-read this piece of paper (you just got it out, why would you put it back in?). Rip it up or burn it to get those emotions good and gone!
- Use Gentle Herbs to Keep the Liver Toned: dandelion, sarsaparilla, and burdock all help keep the liver moving throughout the day.
- Essential Oils Move Energy: a bit of lavender or chamomile on a tissue slid into your pillowcase can soothe liver angst through the night.
A more moving regimen is to use lemon, cypress, or rosemary oil. Don’t do this at night! It’s too much energetic activity for bedtime.
- If you feel like your liver is storing years and years’ worth of your frustration and anger, try making a smelling salt from these oils and sniffing it throughout the day. This will stir up emotions (not make them disappear) so be sure to use write-and-rip as well as breath work, exercise, and plenty of water to move those emotions out!
- Create a bedtime routine that prepares you for sleep. I have my clients start to wind-down a half-hour before bedtime. Turn off the computer, t.v., cell phone, and tablet. Candlelight is a lovely way to transition between electric light and the darkness of night. Make yourself a cup of herbal tea.
If you carry a lot of tension in your musculature and find yourself laying in bed, stiff as a board, add a little hops to your tea. You might be familiar with Hops as the main ingredient in beer. I find that the herb, even in tea form, can give some people a slightly hung-over, woozy feeling in the morning. So experiment and see what feels good to you.
Back to that Bedtime Routine: While you are waiting for your water to boil for your tea and then for your tea to steep, you can do your write-and-rip (or write-and-burn). This is also a great time to make to-do lists for the following day.
Spend the last 10 minutes before bed, sitting quietly, sipping your tea. You’ll find yourself ready for sleep and far more able to dream through the night.