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Waking up at 2am | Ask Dr. Liliane

Waking up at 2am | Ask Dr. Liliane


Why do I often wake up at 2:00 in the morning? Sometimes I can go back to sleep but sometimes I cannot or will stay awake for a long time.


Two o’clock in Chinese medicine is right in the middle of “Liver time” which goes from 1:00 to 3:00 in the morning. I would say 80% insomnia patterns fit into that pattern.

Organ hourly clock:

  • 11:00 PM - 1:00 AM : Gallbladder time
  • 1:00 Am-3: 00 AM: Liver time
  • 3:00AM-5:00 AM : Lung time
  • 5:00 AM to 7:00 AM : Large Intestine time

Those hours correspond to a biological clock of inner organ recharge. At night, those organs need to be nourished by deep Yin and Blood. For our Liver Tree in particular, there is a need for recharging its “sap” in the form of Blood and Yin water (Our liver filters one liter and a half of blood every minute). If, for any reason, we are too Yang and too fiery, our spirit, like a plane that cannot land, continues to swirl and get exhausted -  unable to find a resting place and reach its airport to recharge fuel and batteries.

The reasons?:

  1. The most obvious is excess alcohol as most people know. Alcohol has an anxious characteristic and people who drink excess get startled and wake up around that time.
  2. Digestive issues: heavy food and stimulants at night are among the most common causes.
  3. Another important factor: stress and a pace that leads to poor nutrition. Stress by itself will tend to interfere with falling asleep.
  4. Over acidity: heavy exercise is therefore not the best before going to sleep (producing lactic acid). Neither are orange juice or even vitamin C or a green juice…best taken in the morning, during Liver time!

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