The Long Winter’s Nap
The Long Winter’s Nap
When the days get shorter and the nights get long, do you find yourself turning inward? To Hide away. Hibernate. Seeking Rest - Calming, Deep Relaxing Sleep. The Long Winter’s Nap.
There are times, when we all need stillness. We need to find Silence. We need to separate from the rhythm of our daily lives and find peace. Winter is upon us. Curl up in your cozy spot. Be warm and safe, waiting for the long night to end and the light to return. Unhurried, snug, sheltered away. In your burrow. Biding your time. Not resisting the winter but in harmony with nature. This Adaptation is not surrender. This is rolling with the rhythms of nature. Is it such a bad thing, the desire to sleep through to spring? It feels like a natural response to the cold, long nights. And it is. Winter demands that we slow down. It’s in our biology. Sunlight and darkness are powerful drivers of our circadian rhythm.They regulate our sleep-wake cycles. Exposure to sunlight in the early evening hours delays the production of the sleep promoting hormone melatonin. With the early sunsets of winter, melatonin is released earlier - when it gets dark out earlier, we are more likely to feel tired or ready for bed sooner.
When everything changes in the winter, let it happen. It is a time to enjoy the pleasure of solitude, to contemplate life and to dream. Quality sleep stimulates our immune system. It regulates our hormone levels - particularly our stress hormones. And so, our Winter Solitude creates a space to amass our energies, to restore, to repair and to Align - mind, body and spirit. Winter is patient and so we must be too. After all, where else do you have to be right now?
Take time To rest, to sleep and to be restored. Take time to heal, to hear your inner voice. Reframe your memories. Change thenarrative. Find self forgiveness. Find peace. Think through the thoughts that need to be thought. and unthink the thoughts that need to be unthought. Let go and release.
Then there are the times we stir in the middle of our sleep. This too is in our biology. I used to think of waking in the long night as insomnia or
restlessness. Why? Why, with all this time, this night, this surrounding silence, can I not sleep? Now, I have found that this, too, can be a blessing. When I was researching human hibernation I discovered stories of how we coped with the long winter’s nap in the time before electricity. It was common for people, for whole families to wake near midnight and gather for winter’s watch. Winter’s watch: brief time to rekindle the fires and share the stillness. Then each would turn to their solitary pursuits and wait for sleep to return. In our modern world, we can make use these solitary moments.
So Light a candle, read a book. Think, pray, remember. Remember loved ones. Remember joy. Recall, then react and recover. And Returning from your reverie. Rest. Rest again until the light returns. And know, as you read this, The Winter Solstice has passed. The days are still short but each day gets little longer. The sun creeps out for a few minutes longer and raises higher into the sky. With each day, there is promise and hope that spring will return.
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