Circadian cycles and importance of rest.
What did humans do in the evening before email, smart phones and television? How often do we completely honor our need for rest? How often do you wake up in the morning feeling ready to go fully charged? I know I have found myself many times headed to my bed when twenty minutes later I notice I was mindlessly scrolling through social media with a tense face and strained eyes wondering why I have a difficult time falling asleep. It can feel rewarding to relax in front of a screen before bed watching a movie or tv show however doing this too often may not be the wisest choice to set up for the deep rest we truly need.
The purpose of this is to create balance and come back to the basic circadian rhythms of the planet we live on. Through consciously making micro adjustments to our routines we can reconnect to this circadian cycle setting ourselves up to truly experience deep restful sleep. But its not just about going to bed earlier, it includes taking the time to settle in and enjoy the evening. Disconnecting from the to do lists which aren’t going anywhere, disconnecting from work and using healthy boundaries for ourselves to fully tune in and feel where we need attention and how to fulfill it.
Sometimes we do need to shake things up a bit and when we have established healthy routines and functional boundaries, facilitating our wild side can be much more fulfilling than regular indulging, with this in mind recovery from allowing the wild side out tends to smooth out more quickly. And of course sometimes we need more sleep than others and which simple body awareness practices can do wonders to notice when the longer nights of rest or sleeping in with no agenda are needed.
One of the key points to creating a healthy bedtime routine is the earlier and lighter dinner practice from my previous blog Habits for Vibrant Health. It does take some time to adjust to the new lighter feeling in the body, especially if you are used to the feeling of eating a very filling and heavy dinner as I was or topping it off with dessert. And thats where I began to notice the merging of these habits and how they all depend on each other as whole to create optimal states into feeling great.
Listen to your body, understand the signs that show fatigue, stress, overwhelm and don’t just push it aside. Understanding the signs is a great way to reflect on how our jobs, relationships and everyday situations are affecting us and to see where we can use some extra attention. The goal is creating an easier experience, keeping overwhelm, anxiety and stress levels to a minimum especially in the evening.
At some point in recent history there was the transition to watching television during dinner time and before bed, but is this helping us restore energy or depleting energy and raising stress through redirecting our attention. What are the obstacles preventing me from creating a healthy bedtime routine? What is something kind and settling I can do for myself before bed? I invite you to ask these questions next time you head for the couch with the remote in hand.
Rather than burning the candle at both ends take some time to direct the focus inward, listening to the needs of our bodies, rebuilding the energy reserves and setting ourselves up for the next day. Find what is most relaxing and recharging for you and schedule it in for the end of the day after dinner. Turn down the lights, light some candles, its ok to not be reachable by the outside world for a few hours.