Just the other week, I was working at a health fair and everyone was telling me how tired they had been feeling. Between the cold and loosing an hour of sunlight, I as well was beginning to feel the pull towards exhaustion that reaches us every year when hibernation seems like it would really be the best idea.
At times like this the life of a house cat seems really appealing. They have the luxury of spending their time and ordering their lives the way they want, mostly.
Although a lot of our time is spoken for, with a little forethought we can make the most of the time we have. For example, sleeping at night, in a totally dark environment, increases available melatonin and that makes sleep easier, deeper and more productive.
Did you know that the better you sleep (ideally 8 hours a night), the easier it is to lose weight? Insomnia leads to weight gain. While it is making you feel sluggish and in need of caffeine, it is also making your internal organs feel the same way. Not enough energy for digestion leads to more calories going to fat, and other problems as well.
Traditional Chinese doctors had a fairly sophisticated way of understanding how and when body processes optimally happen, according to the seasons and according to the time of day.
Every day the qi circulates through the organs in a specific order and at specific times. For example, 5 am to 7 am is Large intestine time, when the body has the best energy for pooping. After that, from 7 to 9 is Stomach time, which is why according to conventional wisdom, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is when you have the most energy for digestion (which is an activity that is second only to brain activity in terms of need for available glucose).
If you don't feel like eating breakfast normally, consider whether you are eating late at night (not a good time because then the energy you need for repair and cleaning has to go to digestion). Makes sense?
Optimal time for sleeping is during Yin time, when the world is dark and quiet. Optimal time for eating is during Yang time. That way when you are active and need the calories and have the energy to digest them, nourishing food is available.
I use the Chinese Medicine body clock all the time when I treat with acupuncture/acupressure for diagnosis. I ask about sleep, and when people wake up, if they do. If people wake or can't sleep between 1 and 3, I know I need to clear stagnation in the Liver channel. If they wake between 3 and 5, I know there's something up with the Lung. If they can't fall asleep it's frequently excess energy affecting the Pericardium (functionally that means heart and mind).