Posted by: Debi Phillpotts
It’s the middle of winter here on the east coast and oh what a winter it has been so far. We’ve come to know new lingo such as “Arctic Vortex” and hearing forecasts of sub degree temperatures have become the norm. And the snow, well nothing short of plenty this year, for sure.
If you have ever had any bodywork from me, most likely I have mentioned the natural rhythms of the seasons and their corresponding energy characteristics. If not, no worries I’m here to remind you about the water element which corresponds with the season of winter. This is a yin season with some of the characteristics being passive, dark, and cold for example. Now, we all know the nights are longer during the winter season so it would make sense that we get more sleep and are less active. Right?
Sleep. How much do we need? According to the National Sleep Foundation adults require 7-9 hours of sleep per night, teens require 8-9 hours and younger children anywhere from 11-15 hours depending on their age. The key question to ask oneself to determine how much sleep is needed is how productive, happy and healthy are you during the day? Are you at health risk, have weight issues or depend on caffeine for your energy? When we are feeling cranky, forgetful, or unhealthy chances are the last thing we think about is if we have incurred and unresolved sleep debt. While everyone’s needs are individual, short sleep duration is linked with:
- Increased risk of drowsy driving and motor vehicle accidents
- A greater likelihood of obesity due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation
- Increased risk of diabetes and heart problems
- Increased risk for psychiatric conditions including depression and substance abuse
- Decreased ability to pay attention, react to signals or remember new information
The good news is that we can sleep off this debt with regular proper amounts of sleep. So why not take advantage of those long winter nights and get some proper rest? Some tips for a good night sleep are:
- Going to bed earlier at the same time each night (weekends included)
- Refraining from tv/electronics and heavy meals at least two hours before going to bed (try reading or meditation)
- Avoid napping
- Get exercise during the day
- Make your bedroom an oasis of tranquility ie: serene colors, natural light, comfortable bed and bedding and no TV in the bedroom.
Try a week with a regular, sufficient sleep regimen and you just may notice you are feeling “Fresh as a Daisy”!
Thank you and Good Night!