Holistic health trends for 2023: Sleep, rest and live with the sun

Call it self-awareness, enlightenment or the solitary confinement enforced by the pandemic but 2023 is going to be the year of making conscious choices. It is going to be a year of holistic health, where the mind-body-soul communion is going to be paramount and, in fact, can even become more than just an outlook. It might become the only way we live. In the gush of material gratification of the past two decades, we forgot our natural state of being, our harmonised living with nature and most importantly our bio-rhythms as they were meant to be. So, all that we rebelled against as being slow and sluggish is now being seen as a panacea for all the diseases that we have acquired courtesy our modern lifestyle.

(1) Resting and sleep: This is expected to be the top trend as almost every research finds out the value of a good seven to eight hours of sleep and rest. Scarce or patchy sleep has been linked to the burden of lifestyle diseases that have affected our heart health, caused diabetes and completely imbalanced our gut health, resulting in each of us developing comorbidities. The emphasis on getting a good night’s sleep has also yielded results in terms of people delivering better, reducing their anxieties and devising a switch-off mechanism for their body and mind to heal. In fact, we will soon be returning to the roots, waking up and sleeping with the rising and setting sun. Researchers and health experts have already coined the term circadian health, indicating it will be a key pillar of lifestyle management. Even tech companies are gearing themselves up to provide sleep-inducing aids and props.

(2) The return of yoga: Given the trajectory of gym deaths because of high intensity workouts that do not match everybody’s body capacity, the interest will shift back to yoga, considering that every asana is targetted at the well-being of every organ of the body and can be done easily compared to other workouts. The Suryanamaskar, or the “Indian push-up” as it is being called globally, is being seen as a composite body workout that helps prevent almost every lifestyle disease from occurring. A rather simple routine of breathing, stretching, contracting, meditation and Shavasana has been found to be effective in overall health.

(3) Eating the last meal before sunset: This again is part of our conformity with the circadian rhythm. As the sun rises, our digestive system works best and with sunset, the secretion of digestive juices reduces. That’s why post-sunset meals are difficult to digest leading to a toxin and calorie pile-up. Also, according to the circadian rhythm, our body metabolism slows down with sunset. All this disturbs our gut health, which is the origin of all our chronic illnesses. This is far older than the fad called intermittent fasting these days.

(4) Being kind to the environment and not abusing it: We are not just going to worry about reducing our carbon footprint but be resource-conscious and waste less. This will impact the way we eat, ensuring we do not tax nature and eliminate species through human consumption but move to sustainable living at an individual level.

(5) Healthy ageing: With a rapidly ageing population that’s going to have to take care of themselves, there is already an increasing focus on age-appropriate exercise regimes and diets. Living old and fit will be the new mantra as geroscience is being studied under the microscope.

Even technology is being increasingly harnessed for self-love and self-care. If I were to summarise in one line, then our way of life would be shuddhikaran, which means purify, regulate and fortify for healing and wholeness.

(Dr Mehta has trained Bollywood superstars Akshay Kumar, Preity Zinta, billionaires, politicians, Miss World/Miss Universe candidates and the Maharashtra Police. A best-selling author, he has been appointed FIT India Movement Champion by the Sports Authority of India).

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