As the nights get longer, some of us start to feel tired or fatigued. If this happens to you – don’t worry, you are not alone. Winter tiredness is common in the colder months. Here are a few proven ways that can help you tackle low energy and boost your mood and productivity.
7 Ways to Beat Winter Tiredness
1. Enjoy the Outdoors In The Daytime
Not everyone can go out for a long walk in the park during office hours. However, even if you simply go outside for just ten minutes during your lunch break, it can make a big difference.
Plan in some fun activities with your friends, from weekend getaways to art or fitness classes you'd never think of going for on your own.
2. Boost Those Vitamin D Levels
Lack of sunshine in the winter months means lower levels of vitamin D. This is because our bodies are designed to get vitamin D from the sun. There are very few foods that contain it, unless it’s added. Food sources of vitamin D include oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), eggs, meat as well as certain breakfast cereals - always check the pack. The daily recommended intake is 10 micrograms of the vitamin a day. In the winter months, it can be hard to get the recommended levels, so health officials advise taking vitamin D supplements.
3. Sleep, sleep, sleep
Getting a good night’s rest is very important as this will help you feel positive and productive during the day ahead. Aim to go to sleep and wake up at the same hour every day – this will help you get at least 8 hours of sleep, which is vital for our health and wellbeing. Having said that, don’t be tempted to oversleep – sleeping too much may make us feel extra tired, sluggish and low on energy.
4. Up Those Endorphin Levels
A good workout releases endorphins, also known as happy hormones, into our bodies. Exercising regularly during winter months will make us feel more energised and positive. Any activity is beneficial – from having fun at the skating ring, skiing to a brisk and refreshing winter walk.
5. Don’t Let Stress Drain You
Stress is one of the key factors which make us feel tired and low on energy . Look at the reasons which are causing you stress and tackle the issues at their root. Find time for yourself and employ mindfulness techniques to help you relax. Read some of our mindfulness relaxation tips here.
6. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese can be one of the reasons why some may feel unusually tired. If you have a concern, speak to your Pharmacist or GP, who will help you with a meal plan and tips on how to maintain a healthy weight. Generally, it's worth being mindful of your eating habits and making sure and eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
7. Is Your Room Too Hot?
It’s nice to come into a room that is warm and toasty. Sometimes, it may be tempting to crank the heating up too high. Sleeping in such a room can make us feel as if we didn’t get enough sleep, and on the other hand if the temperature is too low, you are unlikely to get a healthy rest. Studies suggest that the best temperature for a good night’s sleep is between 20-22C degrees.
Why Do I Feel Tired in Winter?
It is worth noting that winter tiredness is not the same as SAD - seasonal affective disorder also known as winter depression. Low levels of natural light in winter can lead to SAD.
Our body associates darkness with sleep mode. This is why often in winter we may start feeling sleepy even if it’s just gone 5:30pm! As nights get longer, our body produces more melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate our sleep patterns. During daytime, the signs of melatonin are practically undetectable, as it gets released into our bloodstream only when it’s night time. As darkness falls earlier in autumn and winter, our melatonin production increases, making us feel that going to sleep as soon as the sun goes down is a great idea.
Another reason why we may feel fatigued in winter is lower levels or lack of vitamin D – the sunlight vitamin. As there is less light, our bodies start feeling tired even if we really aren’t. Thankfully, there are ways of tackling this without committing a whole new lifestyle. A few minor changes can help you feel better, more productive and happier in winter.