Do Bears Really Hibernate in Winter?

After a few weeks of mild winter weather, we got socked with a nice dose of rain, sleet, ice and snow this weekend. UGH!!!! Truthfully, I don’t like snow let alone adding all this other stuff to the mix. And the gray skies….time to become a bear and hibernate until spring!

OK, that seriously got me thinking about bears and hibernating. Turns out that bears hibernating is a common misconception. Most bears do tend to slow down during the winter, but they are not true hibernators. Bears are “light hibernators” entering into a lighter sleep-state called torpor. Torpor is a survival tactic like hibernation that animals use to survive the winter months triggered by the cold temperatures and decreased food availability.

What’s all this got to do with us? Well, I think we can all agree that most of us are pretty darn blessed with heat and plenty of food to survive winter! But many of us do feel tired and sluggish during winter due to the lack of sunlight which disturbs our sleep and waking cycles. (We won’t go into all the other things in this blog that disturb our sleep!)

What to do:

Get outdoors as much as possible when the weather allows. Beyond the pure enjoyment of sunshine, our mood and health is influenced by a complex relationship of hormones that react differently throughout the season changes.

Get a good night’s sleep. Preaching to the choir, right?! Sticking to a regular sleep pattern does more than help us stay alert during our day activities. See more in this article.

Get some exercise, even meditation. Some days exercise is the last thing I want to do when my alarm goes off in the morning. There have been many articles written on positive links to reducing stress by exercise and meditation – especially during the winter.  

Get a rainbow of color in your food. This one is tough for me even in warm months, but during the winter I find that comfort food – carbohydrates and sweets is so much more appealing than my fruits and vegetable intake. I’m using the Juice Plus+ products to help me out with this.

Get more vitamins. This sort of goes along with eating a rainbow of food color as whole nutrition is always the best. Focus more on these five vitamins and minerals (vitamin C, vitamin D, Iron, Zinc and Folate or Folic Acid) that your body needs more of in winter. Check with your health practitioner for these and others that are good to supplement with.

Wishing you good winter health!

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