The shorter days can influence our circadian rhythms or sleep-wake cycles. With less sunlight, your body produces more melatonin, which makes you sleepy. The sun sets earlier and your body wants to go to sleep earlier.
Although we generally want to slow down a little over winter, extreme lethargy could be a sign of Seasonal Affective Disorder, which could be helped with the ideas below. However, if you feel tired, lethargic and unmotivated all year around, we should be looking to have you tested for adrenal fatigue.
To pick up your mood and energy levels over winter, keep these in mind:
I know it’s freezing outside and dark and its so much harder to stick to our exercise routines. However we all know that exercise lifts the mood and leaves you feeling good so you just have to get over yourself and do it – if you usually do stuff outside, wrap up warm, if you usually exercise inside, well, then it shouldn’t make a difference. If you enjoy what you do, it makes it easier so pick an activity you like.
Make an effort to get outside and soak in some sun when you can, the vitamin D will boost your immune system, help brain function, make you feel happier and help lower blood pressure.
We literally are what we eat, so winter is no excuse to let loose on the crap food and bad quality carbs. Soups and stews with nutritious winter veges and quality meats are the way to go.
It may not seem true, but we don’t actually need more sleep in winter – your usual 7 – 9 hours is enough. Make sure your bedroom is conducive to a good nights sleep with the right temperature, warm bedlinen and no artificial light. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
Take some time out for yourself to relax – do whatever it is that helps you unwind – a cup of tea and reading the newspaper or a good book, go for a walk, take a nap, soak in a bath, meditate or do breathing exercises, go to a yoga class.
Stick to these consistently to lift your mood and energy levels and it will be spring before you know it!