Eating Before Bedtime: An Acupuncturist’s Point-of-View

Digitized copy of the Suwen (First Volume) of the Yellow Emperor's Classic.
Digitized copy of the Suwen (First Volume) of the Yellow Emperor’s Classic.

The ancients of Chinese medicine had some pretty brilliant ideas about the body and how it functions. One of the fundamental text books in Oriental Medicine (and in Acupuncture) is called The Yellow Emperor’s Classic.

Written before the birth of Christ, it is a documented conversation between the Chinese Emperor at the time and his Acupuncturist, Qi Bo. The book explains in detail the subtlety of the body and its relation to the natural world around it. It contains the basic concepts of Oriental Medicine and most acupuncturists are required to read it at some point through their training.

One key tip as an example of the medical brilliance of this time period is the following:  always eat your evening meal no less than two hours before going to bed at night.

Why?

The body’s first instinct is to deal with whatever is in the digestive system, all other functions are put on the back burner until that is accomplished. In Oriental Medicine, we believe that the body heals itself while you’re sleeping.

The liver is the most active between 1:00am and 3:00am; during that time, it should be purifying the blood. In this case, if a meal is eaten and not fully digested before this time, the liver may not be able to fully do its job, which can lead to many issues down the road. An immediate feeling would be one of “food stagnation,” that weird feeling in your stomach when it feels full and uncomfortable after you’ve eaten late at night and gone straight to bed.

Modern assistance for busy lives would include the following: if you have to eat close to when you lie down to sleep occasionally, use digestive enzymes with that meal (such as the ones that we carry in the office) to break down the food more rapidly. If you have any questions about your specific situation, feel free to give us a call at (414) 332-8888 or email us at info@milwaukeeacu.com.

To your happy digestive system, using the brilliance of Oriental medicine…

Nothing in this document is intended as a substitute for your doctor’s diagnosis and/or treatment. This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.