The first week of daylight savings can be jarring.
In a world where you wake up with an alarm clock and not the light of the sun, moving the clock ahead (or back in the fall) profoundly affects the rhythms of your life. It disrupts your sleep cycle, and shifts when you eat, work, exercise, and spend time with your friends and family.
This sudden shift in your routine can leave you feeling tired, and irritable, and affect your mood and mental health for weeks around the time shift.
Changing the timing of your daily habits throws off your body clock from an East Asian medicine perspective as well. In East Asian medicine each of the 12 meridians has a 2-hour period where its health is showcased.
For instance, the two hours between 1 and 3 AM are a reflection of the health of your Liver meridian. The Liver channel is associated with springtime, vision, planning, and strategy, and plays a key role in reproductive health, circulation, and managing emotions. It can be thrown out of balance by excessive stress, irritation, anger, lack of exercise, overexercising, staring at screens for hours, overconsumption of fatty foods and alcohol, and underconsumption of protein. Frequently waking up during this time can be a sign that the Liver meridian is out of balance. If this sounds like you, please reach out to schedule some acupuncture, and know that herbs and possibly some lifestyle shifts could benefit you as well.
You can help your body clock adjust to daylight savings by stimulating specific acupressure points on the Saturday before daylight savings.
For best results hold during the recommended point during the hour that the time change will affect, highlighted in bold below.
If you forget on Saturday, try using them on Sunday going by “new time.”
I’ve listed the full 24-hour cycle so that early birds and late birds can find the points they need during their normal waking hours. No need to wake up to hold these points, but if you are having insomnia, feel free to give them a try!
You can also use this technique to avoid jetlag when you travel by stimulating these according to the time at your destination.
5-7AM Large Intestine meridian: spring forward stimulate from 7-8AM, fall back 4-5AM
Lightly pinch Large Intestine 1 at the lower corner of your fingernail on the index (2nd) finger. The point is located at the nailbed on the same side as your thumb. Hold the area until you feel a sensation of warmth or pulsing underneath your fingers. The point may respond quickly or take a few minutes to activate.
7-9AM Stomach meridian: spring forward stimulate from 9-10AM, fall back 6-7AM
Tap with a loose fist or your fingers, gently massage, or hold Stomach 36 lightly with your fingertips until you feel a pulsation. Stomach 36 is located four fingers below your knee in the lateral (outside) muscle next to the shin bone.
9-11AM Spleen meridian: spring forward stimulate from 11AM-Noon, fall back 8-9AM
Use your fingertips to gently circle or lightly hold Spleen 3, located on the big toe. It is easiest to find Spleen 3 on yourself by sitting down and crossing your leg with your ankle over your knee. Spleen 3 is on the medial (inside) surface of the big toe just behind the first metatarsal-phalangeal joint (the big joint where the toe attaches to the foot).
11AM-1PM Heart meridian: spring forward stimulate 1-2PM, fall back 10-11AM
You can hold Heart 8 simply by making a fist. This point is located where your pinky finger touches your palm when you make a loose fist. This point loves it when you lightly trace circles over and around it.
1-3PM Small Intestine meridian: spring forward stimulate 3-4PM, fall back Noon-1PM
Small Intestine 5, located on the pinky side of the wrist, is a point that you can hold covertly without anyone noticing. It is. To stimulate Small Intestine 5, simply place hold your wrist with the opposite hand.
3-5PM Bladder meridian: spring forward stimulate 5-6PM, fall back 2-3PM
UB 66 is another point that is easiest to stimulate when you are sitting with your legs crossed. To locate UB 66, feel along the lateral (outside) edge of your pinky (5th) toe. UB 66 is found at the fifth metatarsal-phalangeal joint (the big joint where the toe and foot meet). This can be a tender point, so rub it gently or hold it softly and wait for a pulse or feeling of heat under your fingers to activate.
5-7PM Kidney meridian: spring forward stimulate 7-8PM, fall back 4-5PM
For maximal comfort, try holding KD 10 while seated as well. This point is located on the medial (inside) surface of the knee. To stimulate KD 10 (and some other wonderful bonus points at the knee), take your opposite hand and reach behind your knee. You can also gently tap the inside surface of your knee with your fingertips.
7-9PM Pericardium meridian: spring forward stimulate 9-10PM, fall back 6-7PM
Pericardium 8, also know as Lao Gong, is a very important point in Qi Gong and Tai Qi. You can activate this point the middle of the palm, by facing your palms together and feeling the heat they generate. Try slowly pulling your hands apart and see how long you can feel the connection between the two palms. If you prefer, you can hold or circle the middle of the palm with the fingertips of your opposite hand.
9-11PM Triple Warmer meridian: spring forward stimulate 11PM-Midnight, fall back 8-9PM
You can find Triple Warmer 5 by turning your hand palm side down. Place your fingers in the middle of the wrist crease. Triple Warm 5 is located 2 fingers up from the wrist crease and is soothed by gentle circling motions and light brushing away from the body.
11PM-1AM Gall Bladder meridian: spring forward stimulate 1-2AM, fall back 10-11PM
Gall Bladder 41 is another point that may be easier to stimulate by crossing your legs. Like Spleen 3 and Bladder 66, it is located just behind the metatarsal-phalangeal joint, in this case on the dorsal (top) surface of the foot just behind where the 4th toe attaches. This point enjoys gentle tapping and light circle massage.
1-3AM Liver meridian: spring forward stimulate 3-4AM, fall back Midnight-1AM
Liver 1 is another point on your foot that is most easily reached when your legs are crossed. Pinch at the nail bed of the big toe to stimulate this point, located on the lateral (side towards the pinky toe). And seriously, if you are up at this time regularly, please come in for treatment.
3-5AM Lung meridian: spring forward stimulate 5-6AM, fall back, 2-3AM
Stimulate LU 8 by holding one palm facing your chest and wrapping your opposite hand around your wrist so that they reach the inside of your wrist below your thumb. Again, if you commonly find yourself awake during this time, please come in for acupuncture and herbs to help you sleep soundly through the night.
If you still feel tired, irritable, or worn out after trying this technique, come in for acupuncture to help your body adjust to the time change, and take home herbs to support your natural rhythm. Curious about how East Asian herbs could benefit you? Ask me at your next visit!