There are two types of people in the world: those who love winter and those who hate it. I’m from the second type. There is a very long list of pros and cons for winter, but when it comes to the cold and snow, people usually aren’t on the fence about their feelings.
Unless you live in a tropical or desert climate your winter is full of snow, cold temperatures and reduced sunlight. Winter is associated with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a form of depression. Another symptom that is commonly tied with winter is low-energy, or fatigue.
It seems like you simply can’t get enough sleep during the wintertime and you just always feel tired. Here is how to recognize if you suffer from winter tiredness and what you can do to combat it.
Winter tiredness stems from an increased production of melatonin – the sleepy hormone. When it’s dark our body believes it is time to go to sleep and then produces more melatonin. Therefore, sunlight is a good way to combat melatonin production and keep you awake. But with the sun nowhere to be found in the middle of winter, how can we fix this problem? Before we get into tips to overcome winter tiredness, here is what else you need to know.
Winter tiredness is the feeling of sleepiness in the early evening. The sun is long gone, so your body begins to go into sleep mode in response to the lack of light. Additional melatonin is then produced, making you feel sleepy, almost as if you’re ready for bed when it’s only 6 p.m.
It’s important to know the difference between winter tiredness and the winter blues – or SAD. Winter tiredness is a sleepy feeling that goes away after resting or when the sun comes out. The winter blues, on the other hand, is a form of depression that can lead to mood changes, an all-day feeling of fatigue that does not go away after sleeping and a lingering feeling of sadness. If you have any of the latter symptoms, you should speak with your doctor.
If you’re tired of feeling tired, there are things you can do to put that bounce back in your step. Unfortunately, we can’t make the sun shine at all hours of the day, but we can do things that mimic the effects of the sun and make us feel energized once again.
- Try to get as much sunlight as possible when the sun is out and available.
- Check your vitamin D and iron levels.
- Get a good night’s sleep and stick to a sleep schedule.
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight – being overweight can make you feel more tired.
- Reduce stress, which can also contribute to low energy.
- Eat healthy foods – stock-up on fruits and vegetables and try to avoid sugary foods as they can give you an energy crash.