As humans we are designed to fall asleep soon after darkness falls and to wake as it gets light at dawn. Sleep cycles were governed by patterns of darkness and light for thousands of years, meaning that for much of history, humanity has enjoyed nine of more hours of sleep each night. The human body is naturally encoded to respond to light and dark and to sleeping with the rhythms of Mother Nature. These days, artificial light has changed the way we schedule our day-to-day lives, and most people sleep for less than seven hours at a stretch. It is possible, however, to come back to natural sleeping cycles by making a few small changes. When our bodies and minds are attuned to the world’s natural rhythms, we feel calmer, more centred, and more energetic while awake. Sleep is more satisfying because we afford ourselves more than enough time for restoration and rejuvenation.
Our use of indoor lighting further compounds our disassociation from the natural cycles of light and darkness that would otherwise encourage our sleep. You can mimic the passage of the day by changing the quality of the light. Sleeping without heavy curtains or blackout blinds is best so you can wake up with the sun. If sleeping by a window without a curtain is not an option, a dawn simulator lamp imitates the sun by growing steadily brighter with the coming of the morning.
You may discover that changing your sleep patterns to be in sync with the daily cycle of light and darkness is easy and that you feel more alive when your sleeping and waking rhythms are in alignment to those of the earth. Nature’s own phases will be your guide to wellness, granting you more waking hours in the summertime when you will benefit greatly from spending time outside and ensuring you get plenty of sleep in the winter when you likely need it most.
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