When we “fall back” an hour for daylight savings time, it can be tempting to think of the time change as a boon. After all, we gain an extra hour of sleep! However, it’s important to recognize that the time change can actually be really disorienting. Whether you’re a night owl or morning person, there’s a chance daylight savings time may prompt you to experience symptoms such as fogginess, fatigue, restless energy in the evenings, disrupted sleep, and irritability. The good news? You can use your yoga practice to help adjust your body’s rhythm and ease the transition.
Daylight Savings and Yoga: A TCM Perspective
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there are 12 organ systems and each organ’s energy is what we call “active” for a 2-hour period, which gives a 24-hour clock, or cycle of energy, throughout the body.
The TCM perspective for proper bedtime is somewhere before 11 p.m., so that the liver and gallbladder energy is not disrupted. The liver and gallbladder are active from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., and they are the Judge and General of the body and mind: The liver allows for planning and strategizing, while the gallbladder makes decisions and clear judgements. If you’re up during this time, you might impede these attributes within yourself.
When daylight savings time rolls around, a 10 p.m. bedtime is really an 11 p.m. bedtime, prior to the switch. So, to help our bodies adjust to this new “clock,” we will focus on yoga poses that move the energy of the liver and gallbladder channels, calm our minds, and clear any stress from our day. A stimulation of the kidneys through compression, in our last pose, will also assist the secondary system of circadian rhythm management: the adrenals. (Note, while TCM does not recognize the adrenals, we incorporate the adrenals with the kidneys in the modern view of TCM).
Before You Begin
I recommended you do this sequence two hours before your preferred bedtime (as this would correlate to an hour before your bedtime, previous to the time change). This will allow for a smoother transition in your body and mind.
Make sure the room is brightly lit, which communicates to the pineal gland to delay the secretion of melatonin and decrease sleepiness. You will need a blanket, block, and wall space.
TCM-Inspired Yoga for Daylight Savings
About the Author
Teresa Biggs, AP, DOM is a board-certified Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Yoga Medicine Instructor and founder of Biggs Acupuncture & Wellness Center in Naples, Florida. You can find her at the upcoming Women’s Health Immersion for Yoga Medicine. Learn more at biggsacupuncture.com.