The days are getting shorter. The weather is colder. You are feeling tired. You want to eat everything you see. You are getting very, very sleepy.
Is this normal?
Well, throwing vitamin D pills at everyone I see this time of year probably would NOT be considered normal.
However, slowing down a bit is. Less light during the day naturally makes us feel a bit less energetic. This is natural but isn’t conducive to a modern lifestyle that doesn’t wax and wane with the seasons. Most of us aren’t midwestern farmers who can relax now that the crops are brought in and the fields are tucked in under a soft blanket of snow.
For us non-farmer and seasonal workers, life must go on as usual. However, you don’t have to succumb to the less-than-optimal things that come with seasonal changes. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing, but there are many things we can do to combat it.
Related: DO YOU HAVE GOOD SLEEP HYGIENE?
How to Weather Seasonal Changes
Vitamin D = Get Some!
Vitamin D comes from the sun. Unless you are a lucky redhead who produces your own Vitamin D (look it up, it’s a thing), you will need extra help during the gray days of winter. The first thing you can do is get outside as much as possible. Especially on those rare sunny days. Bundle up and do it. The fresh air and sunshine will do you wonders.
Also, open the curtains, face the window, move your desk. Whatever you have to do!
Secondly, take a Vitamin D supplement. It is vital for serotonin production which is needed to maintain the sleep-wake cycle and adequate levels of melatonin. Vitamin D = Good Sleep and Good Mood.
An Adjusted Body Adjusts Well to the Seasons
Get regular chiropractic adjustments. This will help you feel your best and fight off germs and illnesses going around this time of year.
Cool Bedroom = Cool Head
Furnaces kick on this time of year and we love a cozy home. However, for optimal sleep your bedroom should be cooler. Ideally your head (which contains your brain) should be slightly cooler than your core body temperature. This allows your circadian timer – which controls your sleep cycle – to work properly. So, don’t sleep with your covers over your head.
Even though the daylight is disappearing, resist the urge to oversleep. We are not bears afterall, and do not need to hibernate. Stick to your normal sleeping routine with an occasional power nap thrown in.
The Restorative Power of Power Napping
If you find yourself out of sorts with the shorter days and the time change, take a power nap. A mid-afternoon power nap can help manage fatigue and may actually help you sleep better at night. A power nap should be no more than 20 minutes.
Exercise All Year Round
The end of the year, when the weather starts to change, people are busy with budgets, holiday planning, social events, and the like. New Year’s Resolutions cause a jump in gym memberships and dieting regimes but don’t wait until January.
Keep up your exercising all year and don’t slow down once the weather gets cold. To take advantage of that good Vitamin D, try to find something outdoors to do. Downhill or cross country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, walking, hiking, and more. If that isn’t an option, continue indoor exercising.
Continue to Eat Healthy
Yes, it is hard during the holidays with so many treats and events centered around food. However, the healthier you eat the better you will feel and sleep. Try to avoid eating a big meal with heavy food at night or before bed. This will help.
Certain smells can uplift your mood almost immediately. Citrus scents like lemon, tangerine, and orange are great for lifting moods and energy. A small diffuser and some organic essentials oils can really help.
Use Light Therapy
There are many types of light therapy to help with the changing seasons and lack of sunlight in the winter. You can find specialized light bulbs, battery-powered visors, light therapy boxes,and even dawn simulator lamps that mimic the sunrise. We find that a simple LED full spectrum lamp for 30 minutes a day does wonders.
What do you love to do in the winter?
How do you enjoy winter? What is your favorite thing to do outdoors in the snow? Do you have a favorite aromatherapy scent you use? What about healthy snack? We’d love to hear your ideas.