Do you find it harder to roll out of bed every morning when the temperature drops and the mornings are darker?
If so, you’re not alone. Many people feel tired and sluggish during winter. Here for Island Life readers are some energy-giving solutions.
If you find yourself longing for your bed more than usual during winter, blame the lack of sunlight. As days become shorter, sleep and waking cycles become disrupted, leading to fatigue. Less sunlight means your brain produces more of a hormone called melatonin, which makes you sleepy.
Because the release of this sleep hormone is linked to light and dark, when the sun sets earlier your body also wants to go to bed earlier – hence you may feel sleepy in the early evening.
Try these tactics to boost your vitality during the winter months:
Sunlight is good for winter tiredness. Open your blinds or curtains as soon as you get up to let more sunlight into your home. Get outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible, and make your work and home environment as light and airy as possible.
Fight fatigue with vitamin D. The main source of vitamin D is sunlight so winter months can mean you don’t get enough vitamin D, and that can make you feel tired. Good food sources of vitamin D are oily fish, eggs and meat. Vitamin D is also added to all margarine, and to some breakfast cereals, soya products, dairy products and low-fat spreads.
Get a good night’s sleep. When winter hits it’s tempting to go into hibernation mode, but that sleepy feeling you get in winter doesn’t mean you should snooze for longer. In fact if you do, chances are you’ll feel even more sluggish during the day.
Aim for about eight hours of shuteye a night and try to stick to a reliable sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
Fight winter tiredness with regular exercise. Exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing on dark winter evenings, but you’ll feel more energetic if you get involved in some kind of physical activity every day, ideally so you reach the recommended goal of 150 minutes of exercise a week. Exercise in the late afternoon may help to reduce early evening fatigue, and improve your sleep.
Winter is a great time to experiment with new and different kinds of activity. For instance, if you’re not used to doing exercise, book a session at an open-air skating rink. Skating is a good all-round exercise for beginners and aficionados alike.
If you’re more active, go for a game of badminton at your local sports centre, or a game of five-a-side football or tennis under the floodlights. If you find it hard to get motivated to exercise in the chillier, darker months, focus on the positives – you’ll not only feel more energetic but stave off winter weight gain.
Learn to relax. Feeling time-squeezed to get everything done in the shorter daylight hours? It may be contributing to your tiredness. Stress has been shown to make you feel fatigued.
There’s no quick-fire cure for stress but there are some simple things you can do to alleviate it. So, if you feel under pressure for any reason, calm down with meditation, yoga, exercise and breathing exercises.
Eat the right foods. Once the summer ends, there’s a temptation to ditch the salads and fill up on starchy foods such as pasta, potatoes and bread. You’ll have more energy, though, if you include plenty of fruit and vegetables in your comfort meals.
Winter vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, swede and turnips can be roasted, mashed or made into soup for a warming winter meal for the whole family. And classic stews and casseroles are great options if they’re made with lean meat and plenty of veg.
You may find your sweet tooth going into overdrive in the winter months, but try to avoid foods containing lots of sugar – it gives you a rush of energy but one that wears off quickly.