Summer solstice, also known as Midsummer, has finally arrived. It gives us the chance to enjoy additional daylight, and equally as important, provides the opportunity to reset our sleeping habits. It is the official beginning of summer for those living in the Northern Hemisphere. On the summer solstice, the sun travels its lengthiest path through the sky giving us the longest day of the calendar year. The term “solstice” derives from the Latin words “sol” meaning sun and “stitium” meaning still or stationary.
Humans have been celebrating the summer solstice through rituals, bonfires, feasts and celebrations since the stone age. According to Midsummer: Magical Celebrations of the Summer Solstice by Anna Franklin, an artist, therapist and high priestess for fifteen years who has been leading Midsummer celebrations, “the cold, dark days of winter and blight are far away, and the time of light, and warmth, summer and growth, is here. We naturally feel more joyful and want to spend more time in the open air… Midsummer is natural time of celebration.” Here at Nollapelli, we honor this natural phenomenon with a balanced mindset: optimizing activity during the day in order to reset our sleep schedule at night.
With the summer solstice providing the longest day, it also brings the shortest night. How do we reset a sleep cycle during the shortest night of the calendar year? Comprehensive wellness is about balance. All of the tools and activities used to optimize wellness, such as concentrated exercise during the day or consistent routines at night, are necessary spokes in an effective self-care wheel. Take advantage of the additional daylight. Boosting physical activity and mental stimulation during the daylight hours improves the quality of one’s sleep. This summer solstice, extend your hike on a trail, read an extra chapter in the sun’s rays (with proper sun protection, of course), move your dinner and conversation outside or add an additional yoga practice to your day. These activities will shape your body and mind for quality sleep.
As summer solstice comes to a close, begin a new chapter in your sleep story. Do not mistake the additional daylight hours as an excuse for less sleep. Visualize how you want to practice your sleep routine or ritual and at approximately what time. Just as the summer solstice kicks off a new season, it can also mark the renewal of a consistent sleep schedule. A regular sleep schedule reinforces the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Your body falls into routine; becoming tired at approximately the same time each night and waking at approximately the same time each morning. This contributes to a refreshed feeling. The quality alertness will allow you to take full advantage of summer’s daylight hours; continuing the full circle of wellness.