The Ancient Circadian Rhythm
The ancient 2,500-year-old system of the Chinese Body Clock or Organ Clock is a useful insight into how to make the best of our day. The western idea of a circadian rhythm in the human body is similar to the Chinese Organ Clock, where there are time periods of different physiological processes happening. In western thought, the cues of hormones and light are the key factors to our circadian rhythm. In Chinese Medicine, the Qi circulates through the body in 2-hour increments. The circulation of Qi begins with the Lung meridian and ends with the Liver meridian.

Each meridian connects with the internal organ and its assigned function in Chinese medical theory. Each 2-hour period on the organ clock is the peak performance of that organ’s responsibilities. The organ is each period can work more efficiently and productively if we align ourselves to its role at its corresponding time. If you are experiencing symptoms at a certain time every day or wake each night at the same time, look to that organ system to see if there is an internal imbalance hindering your health.

Chinese Organ Clock Bio-hacking List
By harmonizing with the peak function of each organ, our days become more productive without having to put in any extra effort and our health begins to improve. Check out the list that contains some practical tips and tricks to bring your body into balance with its natural energetic circulation, aka its Circadian Rhythm. Experiment with each and see if it improves the quality of your life.

The following information has been compiled by the generous lectures of my Qigong teacher, Master Liu He.

Time Organ What to Do How to Do It
3-5am Lung
  • best time to remove toxins from the lungs
  • best time to dream and store memories
  • allow emotional recovery
  •  open your window to let in fresh air
  • sleep and rest at this time
5-7am Large Intestine
  • “open the heavenly door”: urination and bowel movement
  • best time to do gentle exercise
  • drink warm water with lemon before going to the toilet to stimulate the lymph system and remove toxins
  • practice sitting on the toilet every morning for 10 minutes to regulate bowel movements
7-9am Stomach
  • eat a lavish breakfast
  • anything consumed at this time will have the best absorption and digestion
  • eat a minimum of 4 different ingredients
  • set your energy level for the day by eating essential amino acids
  • coffee first thing in the morning hurts our Gallbladder
  • eat breakfast to prevent cancer
  • treat yourself like royalty by eating a lavish meal at this time as this is the strongest digestive fire of the day
  • ”Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.”
  • best breakfast food is a GRAIN (millet, steel-cut oats, brown rice, etc.), a PROTEIN (just one serving), HEALTHY FATS (avocado, nuts, etc.), and FRUIT
9-11am Spleen
  • best time to assimilate breakfast
  • best time to take a walk
  • do not overthink at this time
  • practice mindfulness and concentration
  • take a walk
11am-1pm Heart
  • best time to rest or take a nap
  • palpitations, fatigue, and restlessness will occur at this time if you’ve skipped breakfast
  • best time to eat lunch
  • lay down for 15-20 minutes
  • make sure to eat your breakfast
  • share a meal with loved ones
1-3pm Small Intestine
  • best time to assimilate lunch
  • digest, rest, organize
  • eat your biggest meal before 2-3pm
3-5pm Bladder

second urination time to remove toxins from the body (besides 5-7am) “Brain Time”

  • best time to exercise!
  • best time to review material
  • best time to stretch or do Qigong
  • drink water to flush away toxins (sweat and urinate)
  • study or exercise at this time
  • eat your biggest meal before this time to provide the brain with fuel it needs
  • avoid stimulants from this time on
5-7pm Kidney
  • “last door” for eating
  • meat at dinnertime will easily become dampness (stored fat/fluids)
  • meat (14-16 hours to digest) and raw vegetables are hard to digest at this time
  • avoid eating a lot of salt
  • ideally, do not work after this time
  • 5am to 1pm are the best times for digestion
  • eat half portions for dinner
  • avoid meats (except fish) and raw vegetables
  • eat porridge, soup, rice, and little salt
  • water or foods high in liquids help the kidneys filter the blood
  • do not eat a late dinner
  • fast for dinner once a week (or once a month, ideally on the full moon)
7-9pm Pericardium
  • best time to connect with yourself through Qigong, breathing work, meditation, or joyful activity
  • “happy hour”: two hours to feel happiness
  • feeling happy at this time will improve sleep quality
  • do not work at this time (1-2x per week is okay)
  • arguing at this time will greatly affect your relationships and internal health
  • seedling time for love and happiness
  • watch a comedy
  • connect with loved ones
  • have a date
  • avoid screentime, but if necessary, use it for happy things!
  • do not argue at this time


9-11pm San Jiao
  • best time to make love or make a baby
  • avoid screentime
  • avoid lights
  • turn off all the lights in your home
  • read a book instead of consuming screentime
  • save your lovemaking for this time
  • most fertile time
  • begin to prepare for bed to help Gallbladder and Liver in healing, restoration, and the cleansing of blood
11pm-1am Gall Bladder
  • best time to get good quality sleep
  • best time to regenerate
  • sleep by 10pm to enter deep sleep by this time in order to initiate the cleansing and repairing processes
1-3am Liver
  • best time to cleanse the blood and begin psychological repair
  • worst time to use eyes or body
  • be deep asleep at this time
  • avoid opening your eyes or looking at screens at this time

 Heaven Nunez is a student at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine and has had training in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for several years.