If insomnia has hit, or your sleep isn’t as good as you’d like it, take inspiration from Matariki this weekend. Here are five ways Matariki can help you rejuvenate your sleep!
In the celestial realm, Matariki, (known elsewhere as the Pleiades star cluster), has been revered by numerous cultures for thousands of years. It holds deeply spiritual significance for many indigenous communities around the world, including NZ Māori. This cluster of stars is prominent in our southern hemisphere midwinter. In New Zealand, Matariki represents a time of renewal, reflection, and connection. But did you know that understanding the symbolism of Matariki can also help you improve your sleep? In this blog, I explore the captivating connection between Matariki and sleep. And how embracing the energy of the stars can enhance your well-being and indeed rejuvenate your slumber.
The Cultural Significance of Matariki
Matariki marks the Māori New Year, a time when communities come together to celebrate new beginnings and honour their ancestors. It symbolizes the end of one phase and the start of another, offering an opportunity for introspection and renewal. As the stars of Matariki rise in winter, they illuminate a path to enhanced rest and well-being.
Traditionally everyone was in a state of rest at this point in winter. Crops had been harvested, kai stored, gardens laid out, and with the busy work done, families retreated inwards to reflect on what had been, and what was to come.
Matariki invites us all to embrace this wisdom of resting and rejuvenating this long weekend. Here are five ways that Matariki can help you rejuvenate your sleep:
1. By embracing the restorative cycle of the season
Although Matariki symbolises the Maori new year, it’s about more than just new beginnings.
Matariki celebrates the cycle of seasons. It symbolises work, rest and rebirth. Just as the Matariki stars follow a cyclical pattern through the skies, our sleep also relies on rhythmic patterns to ensure rejuvenation and vitality.
By observing the celestial dance of Matariki, we can synchronize our circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycles with the natural rhythms of the seasons. This alignment can enhance our body clock and lead to more restful and restorative sleep. The longer darker days lend themselves to being sleepier making it easier to rest. This restorative state is important to help us rejuvenate before the coming of another busy time, which Matariki also heralds.
Are you making the most of this time of rest?
2. Using stargazing as a relaxation technique
As we focus on the stars this Matariki, consider this somewhat novel relaxation technique. Stargazing. The act of stargazing has long been associated with tranquillity and inner peace.
We all need to be semi-relaxed to drift into sleep, so any technique that lends itself to relaxation has my vote!
Take the time to look up to the stars this weekend, and as you gaze at the dazzling brilliance of Matariki (weather permitting) allow yourself to be captivated by its beauty. Embrace the night, let your mind wander, and allow any worries or stress to dissipate. While it’s not my usual bedtime suggestion, incorporating stargazing into your bedtime routine really can help calm your mind and prepare you for a more peaceful sleep.
3. By harnessing the energy of Matariki
It’s scientific fact that stars radiate energy. But have you ever thought of harnessing this energy (specifically of Matariki) to enhance the quality of your sleep?
This weekend is the perfect time to set your intentions for restful sleep, improved dream recall, or overcoming any sleep disturbances. Whether you call it mediation, manifesting or prayer, whatever you focus on will grow. So, use this time to meditate under the night sky.
Try connecting with the vastness of the universe and draw upon the revitalizing energy of the stars. Visualize yourself in a deep, peaceful sleep, allowing Matariki’s celestial energy to flow through you, replenishing and rejuvenating both your body and mind.
4. Creating a celestial sleep sanctuary
Our sleep space should be our sanctuary. This weekend Matariki invites us to create a tranquil space where we can retreat and find solace. Now is the ideal time to transform your bedroom into a celestial haven by incorporating elements inspired by Matariki. Think soft hues reminiscent of the night sky; starry decorations; a moon night light or soothing scents like lavender. Infuse your sleep environment with a sense of serenity and cosmic connection, allowing yourself to drift off into a peaceful sleep each and every night.
5. By embracing rituals and traditions
To honour the significance of Matariki, embrace sleep rituals and traditions that connect you with the essence of this celestial event. It can also be a time to reestablish your own cultural rituals and traditions that may have slipped off the radar.
Consider lighting a candle before bed (signifying the guiding light of Matariki illuminating your dreams – and as a bonus encouraging the flow of melatonin). Practice journaling: it’s perfect for recording your aspirations and dreams for the year ahead. Engage in bedtime storytelling with your family; sharing tales of ancestors and the stars, and their impact on our lives. These rituals not only deepen your connection to Matariki but they also cultivate a sense of mindfulness and tranquillity before sleep.
Matariki is more than just a new public holiday. It’s a celestial phenomenon, embedded in cultural heritage, that holds the power to really elevate your sleep experience if you embrace it.
By aligning ourselves with the rhythms of the universe, embracing stargazing as a relaxation technique, harnessing the energy of Matariki, creating a sleep sanctuary, and embracing relaxing rituals, we can deepen our connection to the stars and really rejuvenate our sleep. Thus, improving our general health and wellbeing.
Will you let Matariki’s gentle radiance guide you on a transformative journey towards restful nights and a revitalized spirit this weekend? It’s definitely worth it for better sleep!
Kim is a Mum and Sleep specialist, solving behavioural sleep issues and improving sleep for all ages. She helps families establish healthy sleep habits that lead to happier lives and better health.