Winter is a wonderful time of the year – cosy nights in front of the fire, hot chocolate, comfort food and frosty days with bright blue skies. We can also feel a bit more tired and less energetic - and there’s a reason for this change. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are tilted away from the sun as part of the Earth’s natural orbit, and this is what makes the daylight hours shorter and darker hours longer. It’s colder too, as a result, making it harder to leave your cosy bed! All of this makes us want to sleep longer.
Sunlight helps our bodies to make vitamin D, which is essential for good health, so we notice a difference when we don't get enough. Less sunlight also causes our brain to produce more of the hormone melatonin, which makes you feel sleepy. These changes in daylight and melatonin levels have an impact on our internal clock, also known as our circadian rhythm. As a result of the darkness our brain tells us that we should be tucked up and sleeping more. Although it’s nice to have extra time in bed, and whilst we sometimes wish we could stay in bed and not have to get up for work or get the kids to school we all have our busy daily lives. So, it’s all about managing that – and here’s some ideas to help:
- Let there be light! Firstly, make sure you are letting in as much light as possible throughout the day. Open your curtains as soon as you wake up and maybe even the window to let some fresh air in. You could even wrap up and try some meditation or yoga in the sun to allow your body to relax and soak it all up. The more sunlight you get, the better you will feel!
- Step up! Exercise is good for you and helps you feel fresh and revitalised. It’s so easy to slip into bad habits and practically hibernate during the cold weather but push yourself and you will feel much better for it. Why not try getting sunlight and exercise all within the same hour? Go for a light early morning jog – even a brisk walk will set you for th