During the bleak winter months, it can be hard to build up the energy and motivation to get out of bed in the dark mornings, especially if the weather is bad. You might also notice that during the winter months you feel tired for no real reason throughout the day and feel sluggish and irritable.
You’re not imagining it, as the winter can make a lot of people feel worn out and weary, even before lunchtime and many of us are simply feeling run down and just want to get back on track to feeling ourselves again.
Wanting to boost your energy levels is a good sign that you want things to change and even making just a few small adjustments to your daily routines can significantly increase your energy levels and how you feel, along with many other aspects of your health. With that in mind, here are 5 easy ways that you can boost your energy levels this winter.
Get More Sleep
Not getting enough sleep can massively affect your energy levels and can leave you feeling tired, grumpy and lethargic and, during the winter, the shorter daylight hours can impact this significantly. A lot of people cut into valuable sleep hours and time that should be spent in bed by pushing back their sleep schedule in order to do more work, meet deadlines or simply relaxing and winding down after a long day.
Whilst the optimal hour of sleep varies from person to person, experts recommend that adults get around 7-8 hours of sleep per night in order to support overall health and wellbeing, as well as boost energy levels.
If you struggle sleeping during the winter months, then it would be worth investing time in your sleep routine and schedule to find something that works for you. Avoiding eating after certain times, getting a hot bath or shower, not using screens and listening to relaxing music can all be used to create a sleep schedule which, once started, signals to your body that it’s time to wind down in preparation for sleep.
Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
Over the Christmas period, many of us drink a lot more than we usually would as our social schedules become packed out. A common misconception with alcohol is that it helps you get to sleep and, whilst you do feel more tired and sleepy after consuming alcohol, it can interfere with your quality of sleep and actually causes more restless and disturbed sleep.
Heavy alcohol consumption reduces the amount of REM (rapid eye movement) you get, which leaves you feeling drowsy and have poor concentration levels the next day. If you cut down on the amount of alcohol you drink, you’ll find that your sleep quality improves, thus giving you more energy for the next day. If you need extra energy to get through the festive season, then drinking less will help with this.
Let In Some Natural Light
Natural sunlight can be scarce during the winter months, and it is often a reason as simple as this as to why you might be feeling more tired and lethargic. As the days become shorter, your circadian rhythm is affected and this means that your brain produces more of a hormone called melatonin, which makes you feel sleepy.
During the summer months, we get the majority of our vitamin D levels through natural sunlight, with just 10 minutes in direct sunshine being enough to give us our recommended daily intake. Naturally, in the winter months, this will decline and can also make you feel tired and lethargic.
In the winter months, try and get out in the middle of the day so that you are getting some natural light and open your curtains and blinds when you wake up to enable more sunlight to get into your home. If you feel as though you are not getting enough sunlight, or you might be low on vitamin D, consider adding vitamin d tablets and supplements to your daily routine.
You might not feel like it during the winter months, especially when it’s dark and the weather is bad, but regular exercise can vastly improve your energy levels during the winter months. Regular exercise is important for your overall health and wellness, and it can reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases and illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes, as well as extra weight.
It might seem counter-intuitive but increasing your physical activity levels can help to fight fatigue and increase your energy levels. If you feel as though you suffer from work-related fatigue, then exercise can help to clear your mind, reduce overall levels of fatigue, improve sleep quality and energy levels and reduce any emotional exhaustion.
Eat A Balanced Diet
Being an unhealthy weight can be one of the biggest impactors on your energy levels and can leave you feeling sluggish and tired. It’s important to ensure that you are eating a well balanced and healthy diet that is packed full of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as other natural foods, to ensure that you are fuelling your body correctly.
Once summer ends, many of us tend to ditch healthier, fresh foods such as salads and fruits and instead fill up on warming and comforting foods once the weather takes a turn. Pasta, potatoes, bread and other starchy foods become more appealing, but these foods, when eaten in abundance, can cause us to feel bloated and sluggish.
You will have much more energy if you provide your body with a wide variety of the nutrients and vitamins that it needs to run properly and that means including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in your meals. Try to eat plenty of seasonal winter vegetables and fruits in warming stews, casseroles and bakes and be sure to consume your recommended 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day.