You Could Probably Hibernate

You Could Probably Hibernate

by James Hamblin, The Atlantic

The science of adapting to cold weather could change treatment of inflammatory diseases, insomnia, and trauma.

Complaining about winter is one of the few remaining bastions of reliably safe small talk. Some people protest—I absolutely love freezing—but most will happily engage in winter bashing. In addition to widespread access to heated homes, offices, and vehicles, new industries continue to emerge on the promise of combating winter. Moisturizing skin-care regimens are sold as the only way to keep our skin in one piece, and massive down coats are deemed necessary for spending even a few minutes outside. Sun-imitating lamps and vitamins promise to help us maintain a will to live.

Watching the struggle, as the cyclic abyss of winter sucks the vitality out of entire cities, I started to wonder about more comprehensive options. Maybe our minds and bodies are telling us we’re not supposed to be fighting so hard. Maybe it would be easier and more efficient to just shut ourselves down—to stock up energy for the better months. As the days grew shorter and darker, the eyes on New York’s subway emptier, I grew radicalized: It is absolutely ridiculous that we don’t hibernate.

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