What causes fatigue in Winter?

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Admin 01-23-2022

Finding it hard to roll out of bed now summer’s a distant memory? Don’t fret; there’s method behind the madness.

Less daylight

If you’re wondering why you’re feeling sleepier now it’s darker outside, we have one word for you: melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone we all produce that controls our tiredness levels and is directly linked with light and dark. Light means less melatonin and increased alertness; dark means more melatonin and a very sleepy you.

Sunlight is crucial in dictating and regulating your circadian rhythm (or for us laymen, your sleep-wake cycle). Bright mornings tend to leave us feeling, quite literally, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as the photoreceptor cells in our eyes kindly tell our brain that it’s daytime and our body should be awake. However, in winter, our photoreceptors are completely disorientated and mistake darker mornings for night-time, meaning – you guessed it – increased production of melatonin that makes it harder for you to crawl out from in-between the sheets and start your day.

Ways to reduce tiredness in winter

Maximise sunlight

To give your circadian rhythm a fighting chance, you want to make sure you’re getting as much natural light as possible. As soon as you wake up in the morning, throw open those curtains, roll up that blind and get yourself outside for a brisk morning walk. You’ll be surprised at how much a quick walk in the light of day will boost your energy levels and lift your mood.

Working from home and can’t get outside? Make sure you’re positioned in a nice bright spot near a window so you’re getting your fill even when you’re indoors.

Stick to your sleep schedule

We all know you feel wiped out the day after having too little sleep, but a lie in during winter can leave you feeling just as lethargic. Whilst it’s tempting to stay in bed and hibernate when it’s cold outside, make sure you get yourself up and out to avoid feeling so sluggish.

Work on creating a healthy bedtime routine; stick to going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, allowing for the optimal eight hours of sleep if your routine permits.

Choose the right duvet

Let’s talk about togs. The higher the tog rating, the warmer the duvet; so, we’re afraid your lovely little 5-tog summer number just won’t cut the mustard at this time of year if you’re after a sound night’s kip. As a rule of thumb, we’d recommend searching for a duvet with a winter tog rating between 10 and 13.5.

To achieve deep restful sleep your body temperature does need to fall by around 2% from you temperature while awake so don’t overdo the blankets.

Exercise

It can be hard to find the motivation to exercise on a cold winter’s day but a workout could be the missing ingredient as to why you’re struggling to drift off.

Not only will an afternoon workout lift your mood with a rush of endorphins, but it will also stave off any early evening fatigue and help you to fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow. But be warned: don’t exercise too late in the evening. Those same endorphins that pepped you up at lunchtime will keep your brain whizzing at night-time, too.

You need nutrients

Vitamin D is your tasty new best friend. In summer months, our bodies get lots of Vitamin D from natural sunlight so as the days get a little darker, we may feel lethargic as a result of not getting our usual dose. Supplement your diet with Vitamin D-rich foods such as oily fish, eggs and cereals as well as lots of fruit and veggies, or invest in a good quality multi-vitamin supplement – your body will thank you later.

Make sure your mattress is working for you

Finally, and most importantly, ask yourself: is your sleeping environment as comfortable as it can be? If it’s not, your mattress could be the problem. A bad mattress means a bad sleep, so don’t compromise.

Luckily you are in just the right place to check out a new mattress. Take your time and sleep well.

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