Cycles, Winter and deeply restful sleep: Do you get it?
by Jenny Ellis
There is no avoiding the fact that we live in and are responsive to constantly repeating cycles, not just the obvious 24-hour cycle we live on a daily basis, but its existence within a weekly, monthly, yearly cycle and so on. Every 24-hours, our bodies undergo a natural rejuvenation cycle, with most of the night-time marking a part of that cycle in which the body’s ability to rejuvenate us is key to the way we will feel the next day.
Within each 24-hour period we have times when we are naturally inclined to be active and productive. When we honour these times and go about doing what’s needed, our bodies are responsive and appreciative of this activity. In that sense we will get to the end of our ‘work day’ and feel good about the day, satisfied and pleased with what we achieved.
If we pay careful attention however there is a distinction between achieving a lot in a day, which can be done by driving ourselves without break or care for it’s impact, and staying active and responsive to what presents itself TO BE DONE that day, and doing it.
The way in which we go about the day aside, in general it can be said that our bodies will respond far better, meaning we will feel far better, from being active and productive during the day than if we laze about with little purpose, spending the day procrastinating, distracted from what’s needed, idle or indulgent.
By direct contrast there are also parts of the day when we are naturally inclined towards a more relaxed state, to winding down, completing things from the day, preparing ourselves for bed, or for the next day.
Equally, when we honour these times, and don’t push through working or staying too active in our pursuits, we begin to feel settled and nurtured. This sets us up to have a deeper and more restful sleep and we wake refreshed and ready for the next day.
There is a natural movement of activity–rest-activity-rest that is unavoidable and is key in understanding how to support ourselves if we are to be truly healthy and well. When we push against this natural rhythm of the body within these periods of the day, it is inevitable that we will feel the impact. It is as simple as trying to run our vehicles on the wrong fuel!
Our ability to nurture, nourish and support the body’s ability to rejuvenate and replenish from one day to the next is essential if it is vitality we would like to enjoy as a natural consequence of the way we live.
So while this daily cycle exists and holds the opportunity to support us enormously, so too does a greater cycle of activity and rest occur, you could say, throughout the year. Our seasons mark this time in effect, with the onset of our colder months hailing a time to hunker down a little more and the warmer months to be more active and activated around what there is there to be done. During the Winter months we lose daylight hours and colder morning temperatures sees many of us naturally inclined to sleep a little longer, staying in bed a little longer.
So what if we were to honour the fact that this time offers the opportunity to rug up, keep warm, sleep a little longer, rest more deeply and in general, the capacity to use these months to deeply nourish the body, enjoying the rejuvenation that is possible, in preparation we could say, for a more vitally active and productive summertime?
It is common knowledge that we are more susceptible to colds and flus during the colder months of the year, something that within the context of the body and it’s ability to cleanse, replenish and rejuvenate itself, could be seen as part of a necessary cleansing process, supporting us to discard what has accumulated through the build up of our daily activities. We all know the pattern of working long and hard only to get sick once we go on holidays or take a break and begin to relax again. We tend to think of this as an inconvenience, a breakdown of the body in some way, rather that the body’s inherent wisdom and capacity to support us to sustain a quality of life. It is part of the homeostatic mechanism for the body to be constantly attempting to repair and rejuvenate itself. It is only us, and our choices in each moment, that interferes with this natural cycle.
When we understand this process and it’s rhythm, it is easier to adjust ourselves to bring our choices and our own rhythm in life in line with that of the body, hence allowing the body a greater capacity to replenish, restore and rejuvenate itself.
Winter is an opportunity to do just that!