May 31, 2023

Health Care –

Wipe out the Winter Tiredness

By Ralph Kratzer

Do you remember? In the summer I wrote an article about a disease called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and one form of it – sunshine depression (click here to read again).

Winter tiredness_5Now the summer is over, even in Cyprus, and wintertime has come. Also now  for some people comes the second form of SAD – the winter mood disorder or “winter blues”, but only for an estimated 5% of us. However quite a lot individuals, like me for example, feel an increased tiredness this time of the year.

Do you find it harder to roll out of bed every morning when the temperature drops and the mornings are darker or do you fall asleep in front of your TV or your computer early in the evening? If so, you’re not alone. Many people feel tired and sluggish during winter.

Here are six energy-giving solutions.

What is winter tiredness?

If you find yourself longing for your warm, cosy bed more than usual during winter, blame the lack of sunlight.

Winter tiredness_1As the days become shorter, your sleep and waking cycles become disrupted, leading to fatigue. Less sunlight means that your brain produces more of a hormone called melatonin, which makes you sleepy.

Because the release of this sleep hormone is linked to light and dark, when the sun sets earlier your body also wants to go to bed earlier – hence you may feel sleepy in the early evening.

Try these tactics to boost your vitality during the winter months:

Sunlight is good for winter tiredness

Winter tiredness_9Open your blinds or curtains as soon as you get up to let more sunlight into your home. And get outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible, even a brief lunchtime walk can be beneficial. Make your work and home environment as light and airy as possible.

Fight fatigue with vitamin D

The wane in sunshine over the winter months can mean you don’t get enough vitamin D, and that can make you feel tired.

Winter tiredness_10The main source of vitamin D is sunlight, but during winter it’s especially important to get vitamin D from your diet.

Good food sources of vitamin D are oily fish (for example salmon, mackerel and sardines), eggs and meat. Vitamin D is also added to all margarine, and to some breakfast cereals, soya products, dairy products and low-fat spreads. If you don´t eat enough of these products you may need a supplement, but ask your doctor or chemist before.

Get a good night’s sleep

When winter hits it’s tempting to go into hibernation mode, but that sleepy feeling you getWinter tiredness_8in winter doesn’t mean you should snooze for longer. In fact if you do, chances are you’ll feel even more sluggish during the day.

We don’t technically need any more sleep in winter than in summer. Aim for about eight hours of shuteye a night and try to stick to a reliable sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. And make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep – clear the clutter, have comfortable and warm bedlinen and turn off the TV.

Fight winter tiredness with regular exercise

Exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing on dark winter evenings, but you’ll feel more energetic if you get involved in some kind of physical activity every day, ideally soWinter tiredness_7you reach the recommended goal of 150 minutes of exercise a week. Exercise in the late afternoon may help to reduce early evening fatigue, and also improve your sleep. A strong walk in the near Besparmak mountains or at one of the numerous beaches is a perfect exercise for this time of the year.

If you find it hard to get motivated to exercise in the chillier, darker months, focus on the positives – you’ll not only feel more energetic but stave off winter weight gain.

Learn to relax

Winter tiredness_6Feeling time-squeezed to get everything done in the shorter daylight hours? It may be contributing to your tiredness. Stress has been shown to make you feel fatigued.

So, if you feel under pressure for any reason, calm down. If you can´t manage it on your own to relax there are, for example,  yoga courses offered in North Cyprus.

Eat the right foods

Winter tiredness_3Once the summer ends, there’s a temptation to ditch the salads and fill up on starchy foods such as pasta, potatoes and bread. You’ll have more energy though if you include plenty of fruit and vegetables in your comfort meals.

And classic stews and casseroles are great options if they’re madeWinter tiredness_4with lean meat and plenty of veg.

You may find your sweet tooth going into overdrive in the winter months, but try to avoid foods containing lots of sugar – it gives you a rush of energy but one that wears off quickly.


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