Introducing the Month of Sleep

As the year winds down, our schedules tend to ramp up with lots of holiday activities and expectations. However, when we step back and look at seasonal rhythms, the long nights of winter are the natural time to cultivate the deep rest we need to fuel growth in the year to come. I was first introduced to this concept by professional durability trainer (and my personal sleep coach), Raven Aäe, who dubs this time of year the “Month of Sleep.”

Sleep health is one of the most important markers of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Our bodies heal injuries during slow-wave or deep sleep and our minds integrate experiences, reconcile conflict, and process trauma and grief during REM sleep, which is the phase in which we experience dreams. We all know the visceral difference between a good night’s sleep and a disturbed night’s sleep. But have you ever experienced the benefits of an entire season of restorative sleep? It’s a must for elite endurance and professional athletes but everyone can benefit from a month dedicated to sleep.

In the Northern hemisphere the winter is THE BEST time of year to begin adopting healthier sleep habits. We know from research that changing behavior and personal habits is extraordinarily difficult, and this applies to sleep. So taking advantage of your body’s natural reaction to the longer nights of winter makes this the best time of year to successfully adopt new habits. Not only will you gain the restorative health benefits of a month of sleep, you’ll be more likely to adopt new sleep habits for the long term.

Fortunately, sleep hygiene is a top wellness trend so there are no shortage of resources available if you choose to adopt a month of sleep. If you live with chronic insomnia (like I did for more than 40 years!) I strongly recommend you consider tapping the resources of a sleep expert like my friend Raven, who offers online courses and personal sleep coaching. If you’re a self-starter, check out Harvest’s 12 Tips of for Healthy Sleep bookmark below, based on National Institute of Health sleep research.

Happy Solstice, happy holidays and happy Month of Sleep!

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