- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
5 Tips To Keep You Energized Through The Winter
Are You Experiencing Winter Fatigue?
Do you feel like it's a struggle to drag yourself out of bed in the winter? Does it seem like you lack the energy necessary to perform your normal daily tasks? Do you crave the comfort and relaxation of your warm bed all day long?
If you experience any of these thoughts or feelings throughout the winter months, you are not alone.
Our bodies are affected by the short darker days of winter more than many people realize, and conquering the desire to stay in bed all day long can be a struggle.
Fortunately, there are some conscious choices you can make that will help boost your energy levels and get you feeling like your happy summer self again.
Do you feel like you experience winter fatigue?
- Do You Need More Sleep In the Winter?
As the days get shorter, darker, and colder, there is a strong temptation to stay in bed longer and crawl into bed earlier, but do our bodies actually need the extra sleep that they crave so much?
1. Expose Yourself to Natural Light
When it is dark out our bodies produce more of a hormone called melatonin that makes us want to sleep.
Conversely, when we experience bright light our bodies are rejuvenated and produce hormones that wake us up. This is why it is so important to make sure you are getting exposure to the sun even if it means you have to get all bundled up to go outside.
You can also increase sunlight exposure by opening curtains and blinds in your home.
Your mind and body are craving that sunlight, and interestingly enough, research has shown that exposure to the sunlight in the early hours of the day (6:00-8:30 a.m.) actually results in getting a better night's rest at night.
If you live in an area that is far from the equator or known for having an overcast climate, you can actually purchase lights that give off natural light, and this is a good way to supplement sunlight during times when it is more rare.
Exercising is another simple way to cue our bodies to release chemicals that will make us feel more awake.
Many people enjoy the benefits of an early morning workout to help them wake up, but in the winter months, it can be helpful to do a workout in the afternoon in order to help you feel awake, alert, and energized for the rest of the evening.
A regular exercise program will also increase the quality of sleep you have at night making exercise a winner for fighting winter fatigue in more ways than one.
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3. Make Healthy Food Choices
Eating healthy foods gives our bodies the energy and nutrients they need to thrive. Many of us are drawn to cold, fresh, light fruits and vegetables in the summer, but find ourselves leaning towards heavier comfort foods in the winter.
To make things worse, as the holidays come around, many people overindulge in sugary foods. While these sugary treats may be tasty, the abundance of negative symptoms that they can cause make it well worth the effort to limit sugar intake.
Unhealthy food choices can really leave us feeling weighed down in more ways than one. Not only do they lead us to feel more tired, but they play a key role in the winter weight gain that so many people suffer from each year.
Some great winter food choices to keep you feeling energized are:
- whole grains
- dark chocolate
Do you feel like healthy eating is a bigger struggle for you in the winter than the summer?
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4. Reduce Stress
Stress and worry make us feel more fatigued, and during the winter months when our bodies are already more tired than usual the effects of stress become more apparent than ever.
For this reason, it is important to make a conscious effort to find and utilize healthy ways to cope with the stresses that you are faced with every day.
Some ideas for reducing stress are:
- healthy eating
- playing or listening to music
- meditation/guided visualization
- taking breaks from time to time
- avoiding alcohol and drugs
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5. Get a Good Night's Sleep
This probably sounds pretty obvious, but one way to make yourself feel more alert and energized during the day is to make sure that you get plenty of high quality sleep at night.
Many people are not getting the quality of sleep that they need, because their rooms are not really conducive to sleeping. It is important that you make your room into a peaceful environment that will help you get a good night's rest.
Some ways to do this are:
- Limit unnecessary light (also limit the use of electronics within an hour of going to sleep)
- Keep your room at a cool comfortable temperature
- Limit distracting noises
- Keep your room organized and get rid of extra clutter
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