Sleep Through the Seasons


Sleep Cycles

We’ve talked a bit about what you can do to get ready to go from autumn to winter and about a couple of things that you can do to get your body prepared. A lot of this information comes from a highly revered book called Huang di Neijing, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic. This book is often considered the bible of Chinese medicine and how to live a healthy long life in harmony with the cycles of Nature. One of the topics mentioned that we have yet to discuss is sleep patterns and how the body needs different amounts of sleep through different times of the year.


In the summer, it is recommended that you stay up late at night and wake up early in the morning. This is because the sky is lit up by the sun from early in the morning until late into the evening, the Yang energy has reached it's fullest expression. As we move into fall, it is recommended that we go to sleep earlier and wake up in the morning earlier. This reflects the Yang energy of the sun is waning earlier into the evening bringing more darkness or Yin energy. However, as we move into winter, we should still go to bed early (maybe even earlier than during the fall), but we should also stay in bed later in the morning. Yin energy has now reached it's fullest expression which is represented in the longer evenings and shorter days.


I remember a teacher of mine that used to say that last hour you spend in bed during winter time can really help strengthen your kidney energy not only in your lower back, but your knees, brain and bones. I don't think there could be a better recommendation from the doctor than to sleeping in every morning. Now for some of you that might seem like an impossible task, however, it's always "Good, Better and Best". If you don't have an hour, start with five minutes or whatever works for your schedule. Remember this ancient wisdom is a prescription and if done regularly it will build your immunity during Wintertime, ultimately making you healthy, stronger and happier. 


There are so many things you can do to protect your qi as the seasons change. For more practical tips, be sure to head over to the Healing Infusions group on Facebook by following this link 



The Energy of the Time


Shuang Jiang- Frost Decent

In the ancient Chinese calendar, the year is broken up into 24 segments to really understand the energetics of the seasons. As of October 23rd, we moved into what is called Shuang Jiang, Frost Decent.


In Shuang Jiang (Frost Decent), we have entered the last phase of autumn. The northern hemisphere is now experiencing less light from the Sun. This causes the energy of the Earth's qi to descend below the surface, concealing the lifeforce into the roots, into the core. The cold will now be more present. You’ll see we’ve gotten the last days of warmth, the last colors, the remaining crops have begun to wither. Notice how this change in the environment affects our internal qi.


One thing that we all do to adapt to this change is wear warmer clothes. Wool will replace cotton. Parkas, scarfs and hats come out of the closets. It is recommended to also cover your feet by wearing socks, slippers and shoes as the floors and the ground are getting colder. This will help tremendously by making sure the qi in your meridians are protected from the cold (We will talk more about this in the coming posts).


Another thing that you can do to protect and strengthen your qi is to start eating and drinking warmer foods and drinks. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it's hot as in spicy or that its temperature is really hot, but what it does mean is that the food is cooked, not raw. In the earlier phases of autumn we were able to still eat from the leafy vegetables and fruits, we are now starting to put our focus into the roots and tubers: Squash, pumpkins, gourds, potatoes, etc. It is recommend to bake these vegetables by adding spices like ginger, cinnamon, cardamon, pepper, coriander, turmeric and cumin to give the food a little extra warmth.


You can also keep the body warm by drinking warming teas: oolong, pu er, red teas, and black teas. Chai tea is also good thing to ingest during this time because it contains a lot of warming spices mentioned above. However, you’ll want to avoid white and green teas as they are cooling teas. Avoid ice in your beverages as this will affect your digestive qi negatively.


There are still a lot more things you can do to protect your qi as the seasons change. For more practical tips, be sure to head over to the Healing Infusions group on Facebook by following this link .

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