We were losing the early sunrise in the Northern Hemisphere last week until the clocks turned back with the arrival of daylight savings time. Now, we slip into longer evenings and the feeling like bedtime is upon us sooner. Don’t fight the feeling to slumber!
Every working creature needs a time for rest and replenishment of resources and energy – that goes for people, animals, and even the soil. Consider this study on soil and then think about the same needs for us humans.
A study compared two identical farming soils. One was farmed continuously for eight years while the other was allowed to stand fallow every few seasons, meaning that is wasn’t farmed. The soil from the field that wasn’t allowed to rest contained 1,097 parts per million (ppm) of nutritional solids, while the fallow or “rested” field soil yielded 2,871 ppm of nutritional solids.
Rest is crucial to the health of your body and soul, just as it is to the soil in the above mentioned study. Sleep is also an absolute and undeniable necessity of life. Lengthy and regular periods of rest are equally important to us. Europeans take long vacations, anywhere from four to ten weeks a year. Most Americans are lucky to take a two week vacation and probably not every year. Many don’t take vacations at all.
Give yourself permission to rest and replenish.
Remember the old adage, “early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise?” Research now confirms that going to bed early is much better because the natural body cycles regenerate better that way. Going to bed after 10 or 11 may yield the same number of total hours slept, but those hours aren’t as replenishing as if you started your nighttime sleep cycle earlier.
Another interesting fact about sleep cycles involves teens. They actually need a lot of sleep. One school experimented and started classes mid morning instead of the usual 8:00 am. time. The students actually performed better and were more awakes, as this schedule honored their natural cycles more closely. However, the experiment was disbanded because it just wrecked too much havoc in the lives of the adults population of society.
Many Americans are “on the go” the majority of the time and don’t allow for “down time”. Our bodies and souls need time to relax, replenish and just shake out the day. We need to set good examples for our children of how to manage our time and our resources.
They will be in charge when we get older. I, for one, want them to slow down and notice what is going on with themselves, with their families, with their environment, and they learn how to do this by example. Know when to slow down yourself, so they have an idea of what that looks and feels like to establish a more balanced and replenished life.