Well, we have now made it through 2 full weeks after the clocks have changed for the wintertime. Although we “gained” an hour of sleep, most people tend to feel quite sluggish for the next few weeks after the time change. The biggest noticeable difference is the lack of sunlight in the evening time – most people are getting to work in the dark and leaving in the dark. If you are someone who experiences a drop in energy levels within the winter months, know that you are not alone! There are numerous reasons why this happens, and many ways you can prevent it from happening.
Light Exposure and Sleep
The major contributor to this sluggish feeling is the lack of light exposure at this time of year. As you may know, your circadian rhythm is controlled by your exposure to light. That being said, as our days have gotten shorter with less light exposure, our body is now producing more melatonin – a.k.a., the sleep hormone.
With this added melatonin in the body, it has been reported that humans need more sleep and more deep sleep in the winter months compared to other seasons. Having a consistent sleep schedule, even on the weekends, is key to maintain a solid circadian rhythm in the winter months. So, with this winter months slowly coming, make sure you are going to bed and waking up at the same time every day of the week!
It is also very important to get at least 30 minutes of light exposure throughout your day! Many studies show that it is more beneficial to get this light exposure within the first few hours of you waking up. Starting your day with an outdoor walk would be a great way to incorporate both the light exposure and some physical activity!
Not only does your body increase the production of melatonin throughout your day, causing you to feel sleepier, it also decreases the amount of serotonin produced – a.k.a., the happy hormone. Serotonin is a hormone that works with melatonin to control when you sleep and wake up. It also plays a major role in your mood; when you have enough serotonin, it makes you feel happy, calm, and content. When there is not enough serotonin, you might feel a bit sad or worried.
As our serotonin levels start to drop in the wintertime, it is very important to find ways to boost the levels back to normal. Luckily, there are many ways you can boost your serotonin on your own – exercise being the easiest and most effective way of doing so!
What can you do?
You can now see that there are clear reasons as to why you may be feeling the way you are. The important thing to note is that you are not alone in this feeling and that there are clear ways to decrease this fatigue feeling you have.
The easiest way to change this feeling is exercise. You may think that I am saying this because of what I do for a living, but the science is there. You will have more energy if you start to exercise regularly, you will sleep deeper if you start to exercise regularly – key word being regularly. The most important part of it all is to stay consistent with your routine. You won’t see the changes unless you are consistent.
The time to start is now. Start before the snow begins to fall and stay on the ground! Create a routine before the holiday plans start rolling in so that it can become your non-negotiable. Create a routine before your kids are home over the holidays so that you are guaranteed an hour or so to yourself!
This is where working with a Kinesiologist at Longevity Nexum can help you. Our team will create your routine for you based on your specific needs. If you are completely new to exercise or if you are wanting to progress your performance, give us a call.
As always, if you have any questions or want to get some more information about who we are and what we do, give us a call!