Autumn is a strange time of year. Our environment changes quickly; we start wearing coats, waking up before sunrise.
I feel more tired than usual in the evenings, as my body adapts to the changing weather.
Before I paid attention to things like this, my bedtime routine would be the same throughout the year. But now, I find myself going to sleep 15 minutes or even 30 minutes before I would usually, and needing the extra rest.
A restorative yin practice has also been supportive – particularly poses which strengthen the large intestine and small intestine meridians.
I have also been eating more grounding foods – sweet potato, beetroot, colourful carrots.
I love summer, and sometimes feel sad when the evenings get darker. But I remind myself to try and appreciate the opportunity autumn provides to slow down and rest.
It’s definitely bolster season.
Sleep is the most important thing we can do for our body.
In Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, he writes that he used to think that the trio of health was sleep, exercise and food. But new research has shown that sleep is the single most beneficial thing we can do for ourselves.
The way we live our modern life fights against our natural sleeping pattern.
Blue light from screens disrupts our circadian rhythm (yes, even the TV).
The night time economy means things are open late. It is sociable to eat late (when our digestion is primed to eat our main meal in the day).
Electricity leads us like moths through darkened streets when our brains need to be sleeping.
Apart from arranging more lunches, what can you do?
One of the best ways to relax the brain is through movement. Ideally, we shouldn’t exercise about four hours before bed. So I don’t mean a vigorous, ashtanga based sequence. I mean a gentle, yin sequence, designed to unwind the body.
Poses like legs up the wall and supta baddha konasana. Poses like puppy and supported bridge.
Once we start to respect our natural rhythms, evolved over thousands of years, our body will start to relax. Chronic inflammation, stress, insomnia can all be improved by the healing and restorative quality of sleep.