5 Tips to Beat Winter TirednessLisa Kilgour, Nutritionist
December 7, 2017
It happened to me just this morning. My alarm went off and I hit “snooze” (and then I did it again). Getting out of bed on a dark and cold morning can be really difficult.
In the summertime, I’m a morning person. My alarm can go off at 6am and I bounce out of bed ready for the day. I’m super chipper and happy to be awake (and yes, it can be annoying to non-morning people. So why does it change so much in the wintertime? Why does my 7am alarm feel like it’s closer to 4am. Well, it’s all about the sunshine!
Do you have wintertime tiredness too?
Actually, our body does want us to sleep more in the darker winter months. We produce extra melatonin so we can sleep longer during the long nights. The problem is, we don’t usually have time for that.
Plus, being sleep deprived is a very common problem in today’s world. Many of us struggle to get 6 or 7 hours of sleep every night, so adding another hour or two can feel down right impossible. Then we spend the winter in a chronic state of sleepiness and so we increase our spending at our favourite coffee shop to get through the day. Instead of just grapping another cup of java, try these tips to help you have more energy this winter:
1. Get some sunshine –
Spending time outside in the sun in the winter can be a key step to reset your circadian rhythm, our natural light/dark cycle. Get outside during your lunch break and/or go for a hike or snowshoe on the weekend.
One of the best ways to wake up your body in the winter is to get some direct sunlight (outside, not through a window) first thing in the morning. The colour of the light at sunrise tells your body that it’s morning and it’s time to wake up.
2. Avoid bright lights before bed –
It can be hard to go to bed earlier and getting to bed before 10 pm can be really helpful especially in the winter. A little trick to feeling sleepy earlier is to try to cut down on your light exposure a few hours before bed. Dim the lights and dim your screens.
It’s even better to just turn off all of your screens with a backlight 1-hour before bed. If that feels too difficult, try a night-shift app. Some laptops and phones come with one, or you can download the free app “f.lux”. It will slowly shift the blue/white colours on your screen to a more night-friendly red/orange after sunset. It’s very subtle and you’ll barely notice the colour, but can work really well.
3. Get some Vitamin D –
In Canada we are collectively deficient in Vitamin D. This is due to our indoor lifestyle mixed with our weak winter sun. From October – May we can’t absorb any Vitamin D from the sun, so we need to supplement.
1000IU – 3000IU of Vitamin D (depending on your needs) every day in the winter can brighten your mood and increase your energy.
4. Get moving –
I’m very guilty of becoming much more sedentary in the winter months. My go-to favourite ways to exercise are mostly warm weather sports (hiking and SUP). But, exercise is especially important in the winter. It boosts your feel-good endorphins while also helping you sleep deeper.
Morning exercise can be extra helpful if you have trouble waking up…it just might take some willpower to get out of bed on your first few days. Stick with it, and soon your body will crave the early exercise.
5. Watch your stress –
I know, it’s easier said than done. But stress can be harder on your body in the winter months as it can drain your already drained energy.
Reduce stress wherever you can and add some stress-relieving activities like meditation, yoga, or a float-tank, where you can blissfully float in warm water full of magnesium salt…ahhhhh.
Adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, passionflower, and holy basil help me a lot in the winter. I like to start my day with Botanica’s Daily Zen Shot – it kick starts my digestive system while also helping my body deal with stress. And I use passionflower or ashwagandha tinctures whenever I need some extra support.
How do you combat winter tiredness? Do you have a favourite supplement or exercise that helps you through these long winter nights?
We’d love to hear all about it! Share it on social with #BotanicaHealth #MindfulLiving