The dark winter months are lingering just over the horizon, bringing with them the promise of unforgiving cold, reduced daylight, and a general decrease in daily energy. Though the winter season begins with a wonderful abundance of holiday cheer and jubilee, the festivities can only last for so long before the cold takes its toll.
By the time mid-January rolls around, a considerable portion of the populace are over the dreary weather and can feel its detrimental effects in their physical, mental, and emotional well being. Fatigue has set in, and now a task as simple as getting out of bed feels no less difficult than moving a boulder the size of a small house.
With this gloomy outlook in mind, is there anything you can do to overcome the winter energy slump and reclaim the vitality you once had during warmer times? I’m here to say that, yes, there is actually quite a bit you can do to avoid winter fatigue and keep your daily energy levels at a healthy rate.
Some of the main points that we will be discussing in this article include the following:
- The reason behind your lack of energy in winter
- Easy steps you can take to boost your daily energy
- Taking supplements to improve energy levels
Why We Feel So Tired in Winter
There’s a Lot to Consider When it Comes to Wintertime Fatigue
Short days with minimal sunlight exposure and cold temperatures make a soft, warm bed sound unbelievably inviting, rightfully explaining why so many of us feel compelled to stay wrapped up in blankets all day. This increased feeling of fatigue is quite common among many individuals during wintertime, though that doesn’t make it any less bothersome.
Wintertime fatigue is typically a result of vitamin D deficiency, caused as a result of less sunlight exposure during the darker months. This exposure to light is also vital to the way our internal clocks operate. Shorter days with less sunlight will lead to disturbances with the sleep cycle, negatively impacting our circadian rhythm and disrupting hormone levels .
Other conditions besides lack of vitamin D and decreased exposure to sunlight may be the explanation behind a winter energy slump. Fatigue may be a sign of an underlying chronic health condition, such as hypertension, sleep apnea, kidney disease, and heart disease.
Our behaviors regarding certain aspects of our lives tend to shift in the winter as well, with many people caring notably less about sticking to diets and exercise routines during the colder months.
Many individuals struggle with mood issues like depressed thoughts, sadness, and anxiety during the winter, which can contribute to feelings of fatigue. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) refers to those who undergo this experience each winter, falling into the slump of post-holiday cheer and exhausting nights filled with unrelenting sleep disturbances.
Scientific Reasons Behind the Slump
It’s important to know the true reason behind your increased feelings of fatigue, so make sure you know the common causes behind decreased daily energy in the wintertime. The faster you pinpoint which area of your life you need to improve on, the faster you’ll be able to find an adequate solution to give your energy the boost it deserves. Consider these common physiological factors that can contribute to fatigue:
- Reduced exposure to sunlight – While this might be less of a problem in the south, inhabitants of northern territories need to prepare for shorter days during the winter months. Less sunlight will affect your body’s internal clock and cause an increase in melatonin production, which is the hormone that makes you sleep. As a result, you feel tired more often.
- Vitamin D deficiency – Sunlight is essential to acquiring sufficient levels of vitamin D each day. Many people can obtain sufficient levels of vitamin D within ten minutes of exposure to sunlight, but it can become more difficult on dark winter days. Since vitamin D is a hormone, a deficiency of it will impact energy levels, mood, and other crucial aspects of your health.
- Presence of mood disorders – Winter always seems to intensify negative states of mind, and there are plenty of individuals out there who find themselves experiencing more pronounced symptoms of depression and general anxiety. The onset of one mood disorder may even cause the development of another, such as insomnia brought on by stress leading to depressive states.
So How Do You Boost Daily Energy in the Winter, Anyway?
With those painfully dark, dismal winter days and the constant cold, it’s hard to imagine ever mustering up the energy required to keep you motivated throughout the day. But humans weren’t built to hibernate like bears and life goes on and responsibilities must be fulfilled, despite the frigid, miserable weather.
That doesn’t mean you have to subject yourself to brewing infinite pots of bitter coffee, though – too much caffeine is actually quite dangerous for your health. There are other, much more reasonable methods that pretty much anyone can do that don’t pose a risk to your health.
Let’s dive into a comprehensive list of strategies designed to beat off the snowy haze of winter and boost your daily energy.
The last thing you feel like doing on a gloomy winter morning is jumping out of bed and vigorously diving into an exercise routine and, honestly, you don’t have to. Start off the day by doing some simple stretches in bed to get your muscles moving, blood flowing, and brain cleared of residual dream fog, preparing you to take on the day.
In order to boost feelings of energy, you need to integrate physical activity into your daily habits.
Exercise sessions do not have to be very long or intensive, but they should be a part of your routine if you want to make the most of your daily energy. Try to dedicate a specific time during the day for formal and strength-building exercises, which will help improve many factors of your health along with your energy levels.
Steer clear of exercising in the late evening or anywhere close to bedtime, as it may interfere with your ability to fall asleep and negatively impact energy.
Improve Sleep Quality
There’s nothing a good night’s sleep can’t fix, and if we’re being honest, that sentiment has some validity to it. While I’m not saying sleep is going to cure a nasty case of untreated pneumonia like it’s magic, I do need to give credit where credit is due.
A restful night of slumber can have a drastic impact on several other areas of your life, energy being a significant one. Try to develop healthy habits during bedtime to ensure a quality night’s sleep. Set a sleeping schedule where you go to bed at the same time every night, stay off the technology for a little while before you fall asleep, and try not to oversleep too much in the morning. These may seem like small steps, but together they will help your body’s natural biorhythms and lead to blissful nights of sound sleep.
Light keeps our circadian rhythm in check, and the significantly shorter days of winter can largely contribute to the slump. Exposure to prolonged darkness will cause your melatonin levels to rise during the day, which is something you want to avoid if you wish to stave off fatigue.
Try your best to get an adequate amount of direct exposure to sunlight in the winter. Taking a brief afternoon walk or sipping your morning coffee on the porch are both effective ways of obtaining more sunlight during the cold season. Every little bit helps, even cracking open the blinds.
Taking Supplements to Improve Your Energy
Adding Dietary Supplements to Your Daily Habits Could Benefit Your Energy Levels
The fundamentals of cultivating basic wellness consist of eating a balanced, nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and getting a healthy amount of sleep each night. These are steps you want to be implementing into your normal routine year-round if you want to sustain good health, and not reserved exclusively for combating the wintertime blues.
Chances are, you know your fair amount of stuff. Say you have been making proactive changes to your life though, like eating better and working out regularly, but you still seem to lack energy. Do you give up? Absolutely not!
When times are tough and the winter is unrelenting in its cruelty, supplements are generally a safe alternative to turn to.
Packed with natural ingredients and vitamins, dietary supplements are great additions to incorporate into any wellness routine, though it is vital you do the necessary research before jumping on the supplement train. With so many options available that all work to accomplish different things for your body, you want to make sure you know what’s inside that tiny capsule before you put it in your mouth.
While there’s no supplement curated for tackling decreased energy in the winter specifically, there are quite a few that can serve as a much needed pick-me-up during a long day. Some are even designed to be taken before working out to boost your endurance and results!
Prolonged or unmoderated caffeine usage can actually result in making you feel like you have no energy at all, which is the opposite of what we’re trying to accomplish here, so it may behoove anyone suffering from decreased energy to explore alternative options, like theacrine. As a chemical that works in a way similar to caffeine, theacrine might actually end up being your preferred method of obtaining energy once you give it a try.
Theacrine can offer a boost to your daily energy, but it does have an afterglow similar to that of a caffeine crash. All in all, though, theacrine is a much healthier alternative to excessive caffeine consumption and has many benefits including improved concentration, higher libido, reduced fatigue, and a better mood overall.
I know this one sounds rather counterintuitive, but insomnia and other sleep disorders are some of the main culprits behind reduced energy levels throughout the day. Taking melatonin supplements can help regulate your natural melatonin levels at bedtime, making you feel tired and helping you fall asleep.
Other Supplements that Can Boost Energy
- Vitamin B12
- Coenzyme Q10
Energy supplements are not all the same, so be sure you choose a supplement that suits your specific health needs. Some supplements can temporarily boost energy levels to aid your productivity, while others can improve the efficiency of exercise sessions, but designated purpose aside, energy supplements have the potential to help you overcome that gloomy winter mood.
Remember, the supplements that work for others may not produce the same results for you, and that is perfectly normal. Everyone has different health needs and it is impossible to hold yourself to unrealistic standards, which is why it is crucial you communicate with your doctor about the supplements that might be right for you.