Early to Bed, Early to Rise – Coping with Winter

Many patients have reported recent concerns that they are “too tired at night” and “can’t get out of bed in the morning”. While certainly extreme fatigue could be a potential sign of illness, it is even more common to feel this way simply due to the change from Fall to Winter.

In Chinese Medicine, Winter is a time of “yin” within the yin-yang cycle. During yin time, the focus is on darkness, hence the shortened number of daylight hours. Another focus is on cold, which I would not have to point out to anyone who stepped out of their apartment at 6am this morning. Brrrrr. It is also a time of relative inactivity, which can account for that desire to watch Lifetime movies rather than hit the gym.

During Winter, it is advisable to head to bed earlier and rise earlier to combat that feeling of sleepiness. Winter is a time to conserve energy, build strength, and focus on healing within. One of the best ways to do that is through adequate sleep, and our bodies are kind enough to remind us of that by allowing us to feel tired, perhaps earlier than we would prefer. If you are one of the lucky few that can manage to sneak away for a much-deserved nap, Winter is certainly the time to indulge.

Our bodies also tend to crave nourishing, warm, and slightly heavier foods in Winter time. It’s no coincidence that soups are so popular during December, or that chestnuts are a traditional holiday snack. Both are warming and nourishing to our bodies and they appeal to us because our body knows what it needs. So feel free to choose that delicious bisque or chowder over your usual clear broth with vegetables.

During Winter, the focus is also on immunity and healing within. A great way to ward off potential seasonal illness is with acupuncture. Just a few acupuncture points along selected meridians of the body can give you an extra line of defense. It is also advisable to “tune-up” any issues that we may have had during Spring, Summer, or Fall. Because our bodies focus is on healing during winter months, it’s a good time to begin the journey to conquer any ailments you may be experiencing. Happy winter, and remember: Stay warm, rest more, and nourish your body. Spring will be here before you know it!

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