Sleep and the Winter Season
At Functional Health and Acupuncture Institute in Cherry Hill, NJ our mission is to help you recover from chronic pain and illness. While there is a lot we can do to guide you and help you function better, all efforts will fall short of their potential if one critical factor is missing: adequate sleep. This is especially true in winter season – the season of the water element in Chinese Medicine.
During the winter it is natural to feel a little sleepier, slower and possibly less motivated. It’s the season of stillness and conservation. It’s a period of hibernation and our time to rest, slow down and revitalize our reserves and our adrenals. Winter is a great time of year to reflect on our health, replenish our energy, conserve our strength and heal on a deeper level.
During the winter, it is important to conserve our battery reserves. Our bodies are instinctively expressing the fundamental principles of winter: rest, reflection, conservation and storage. The “downtime” that winter provides gives us an opportunity to slow down, check in and take account as to how our lifestyle supports or detracts from our health, and to recharge our battery.
It is always healthy to get some form of exercise daily, but during the winter months it is best to participate in gentler, less exerting exercises, such as, yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, swimming, walking, and other low impact sports. Save the extreme exertion activities for the spring and summer months.
Here are a few easy pointers on how you can support and promote your own health this time of year:
• Sleep. Early to bed, early to rise, makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise. Go to bed early and if possible, wake up after the sun appears in the morning. Extra sleep will also benefit you if feel as though you are coming down with something. If you do become ill, naps may help you recover faster.
• “C” it. Load up on Vitamin C and other multivitamins. These can help support your health. When you are sick, adding zinc (75 mg/day during the illness) has been shown to inhibit viral replication and can help with recovery.
• Water, water everywhere. Drink water. Every cell of your body requires this liquid gold to keep it lubricated and running smoothly.
• Avoid the consumption excessively cold foods such as ice cream and iced beverages. If possible, drink liquids at room temperature. Too many colds foods, especially during the colder months, can disrupt your digestion.
• Take herbs that support immune function. Astragalus, Reishi mushrooms and Shitake mushrooms are helpful. These have been used for thousands of years by acupuncturists to keep people healthy and strong. One formula that I really like is ImmunoBerry Liquid by Designs for Health. It’s a great tasting liquid that even kids like and is great for promoting a healthy immune system. To check it out click here.
• Come in for acupuncture treatments. Acupuncture works extremely well when you have a cold, and also as a tune up to stimulate the healing capacity of your body. If you begin to get the sniffles, body chills, or feel under the weather, give me a call. I may be able to help!