Do you feel lethargic as soon as winter hits? Are you constantly thinking about your bed and finding it hard to concentrate on simple, everyday tasks? Well, you’re not alone, seasonal tiredness and Seasonal Affective Disorder is now recognised as a common disorder, affecting up to 10% of some parts of the US. Winter tiredness is mainly caused by the reduced sunlight hours and the consequent reduction in melatonin, the ‘sleep hormone’. This promotes sleep disruption and upsets the normal balance of metabolism and your internal body clock. If you feel particularly fatigued or sluggish during the winter months these tips can help restore some order to your daily rhythm. If this can’t help you, private clinics such as Blossoms Healthcare and the NHS carry out wellbeing check-ups to assess your health conditions.
1. Maximise Sunlight Exposure
For some, an early start and late finish to the day means completely missing the sun in the morning and evenings. If this is the case for you, avoid staying indoors with artificial light during the office hours and try to make the extra effort to go for a walk on your lunch break. Even on dreary, overcast days the UV rays from the sun still get to you.
2. Maximise Vitamin D Intake
Vitamin D is synthesised in the skin with the help of UV rays from the sun, therefore, if your sunlight hours are really at a minimum, you may be lacking vital vitamin D. Make sure your aim to get as much dietary vitamin D as you can by eating lots of oily fish, eggs and meat. Supplements are also advised to ensure your levels are kept to a maximum.
3. Stick to a sleep schedule
When you set a sleep routine and make sure you get up as well as go to bed at similar times, your body begins to adjust to these sleep movements. It will take some time, but soon you will naturally begin to wind down as it nears bed time and wake easier in the mornings. This will make the early morning wake up a much better experience and you won’t feel like you’re being torn away from your favourite spot in the bed.
4. Maintain an active lifestyle
Sitting at a desk 8 hours a day is unavoidable in some jobs, but be sure to break up the length of time you’re sat at your desk. Make sure you get up and go out for a lunch break. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Use the toilets on the floor below or even just keep a water bottle at the end of the room. Little breaks will not only help with concentration and productivity, but it will also keep the mind and body active and prevent it from drifting off into the land of nod.
5. Avoid high sugary foods and drinks
For some a can of Red Bull is as vital to their day as breakfast. But these sugar-filled drinks might give you an initial boost, but it will bring you down as rapidly as it brought you up. Natural sugars in fruit and vegetables taken in the form of light snacks between meals will keep your energy levels high as well as keep your hunger at bay.