Hibernation & Restoration
Do you ever look at a bear and think, wow that would be the life, to get to hibernate away the colder months and wake up refreshed and rejuvenated just in time for spring? Doesn't sound too bad! As winter approaches many of us find we want to sleep more, stay home and relax by the fire so should we be listening to our bodies during this time?
These days our busy lifestyles often mean we behave as if seasonal changes are irrelevant, unnecessary and they mostly go unnoticed. Whilst modern societal norms make hibernating during winter or any time of the year basically impossible, our bodies do require cycles of activity and rest, daily and annually to function optimally. In winter, we produce hormones that make us sleepy and encourage us to take time to restore body, mind and soul so just like a bear, we have these natural urges to encourage us to work with rather than against the cycles of nature.
Sleep basically fixes everything! Chiropractors are concerned with sleep because our nervous system needs rest to function optimally. While you are sleeping nerve cells communicate and reorganize and the brain is cleared of metabolic waste, supporting healthy brain function. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can alter or even halt the formation of different pathways in the brain that help us retain, process and even learn new information. Enough good quality sleep can have positive effects on your immune system, hormone balance, blood glucose regulation and likelihood of overcoming many diseases.
When days are warm and long, our metabolisms and energy levels amp up and we are able to be more consistently productive. Now we demand that same high productivity all year round, forcing ourselves to operate at summer levels even in winter when our body is really craving more time curled up under the covers to rest and restore. It has been suggested that symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) symptoms have more in common with hibernation than with clinical depression so could SAD be a result of our need to constantly work at high speed, mostly indoors and disconnected from natures cycles? Perhaps a bit of hibernation could be beneficial. If we indulged our inclination to slow down in winter, slept more and demand less from ourselves we could use that time to be more inward and reflective, allowing space for personal growth as well as physical regeneration.
Hibernation is a survival strategy bears use to get through foodless winters. Though humans do not hibernate, we could always try and use winter they way nature intended, to slow down as much as possible while still maintaining the activities necessary to keep the ball of life rolling.
If you have any concerns about your nervous system function, sleep or overall wellbeing please or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org