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How to tackle tiredness in the Winter months

Winter is approaching and we can all feel a bit more tired than usual with the darker night’s drawing in and the weather becoming chillier. So how can we combat tiredness and manage tiredness through the long winter months?

You can make changes that will increase your energy level and help you to stop feeling tired all of the time.

Prioritise Your Sleep

Sleep is as important to your health as eating well and exercising. Don’t push it aside to make room for other activities.

Sleeping too little which can mean, less than seven hours per night, is the most common cause of exhaustion. In addition to leaving, you are feeling tired, lack of sleep has also been linked to the following health issues:1

  • Decreased immunity

  • Depression or sadness

  • Diabetes

  • Heart problems

  • Impaired thinking, memory, and mood

  • Weight gain

Good restful sleep is all about a routine. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and set out a bedtime routine, whether that routine is having a bath, reading or meditating, try to stick to the routine each night.

Fuel With Protein

Sugar and carbohydrates may feel like they give you energy, but the effects are only short lived. Starting the day with a sugary snack will give you instant energy but you may find that you crash and burn later in the morning, which can leave you in a slump.

Try to add some protein into every meal, and grab snacks that balance carbs with protein. Protein wards off severe fluctuations in blood sugar, leaving you more alert.

Limit Caffeine and Alcohol

Caffeine, in the form of coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, or even chocolate, can affect your sleep by keeping you awake longer, shortening your restorative stages of sleep, which can result in tiredness the next day.

Try to watch your caffeine consumption to no more than four or five cups of coffee per day. And try to restrict any caffeine consumption so you leave about five hours between your last caffeine drink, before going to bed.

Alcohol can also interfere with sleep, disrupting the duration of your sleep as well as your ability to fall and stay asleep. Researchers found that even consuming alcohol six hours before bedtime can increase wakefulness during the second half of sleep. Drinking too much alcohol can also lead to a hangover, and a rough, sleepy start to your day.

Move More

Exercise raises your metabolism, stimulates your mood, and helps you sleep better at night. We should aim for at least 30 minutes exercise a day if we can. This can be a walk, a run, anything that keeps you active.

You don’t need to spend hours at the gym, or even do the recommended 30 minutes at one time. Try a 20-minute walk around the block in the morning and do a quick 10-minute stair workout in the afternoon. A study of sleep-deprived adults found that walking up and down the stairs for 10 minutes increases energy levels and made them feel more alert.

Drink More Water

Dehydration can lead to increased sleepiness, fatigue, and irritability and many people don’t drink enough water throughout the day.

Try one of these ideas to up your daily water intake:

  • Wake up and drink a glass of water before brewing your coffee or tea.

  • Always keep a refillable water bottle handy

  • Drink a full glass of water before each meal.

  • Alternate other beverages (like tea or coffee) with one glass of water.

  • Reach for a glass of water before reaching for an afternoon snack as dehydration can sometimes be confused with hunger.

  • Sip water before and during exercise and drink a full glass after your workout.

Find Time for Fun

Fun and laughter are great energizers, so do your best to shake up your routine and indulge in a fun activity each day, even if only for a short time. Even something small like trying a new hairstyle or switching your route to work can leave you feeling more alert.

A few ideas to add to your day include:

  • Watch a funny movie.

  • Call a friend who makes you laugh

  • Listen to energising music

  • Sign up for a class that interests you.

  • Learn a new hobby to stimulate your mind

  • Give a new sport or workout a try and mix up your exercise regime

Manage Negative Emotions

Stress, negativity, and depression are huge energy-hoovers. If you are feeling depressed, you might consider talking to a mental health professional to identify the source of your negative emotions and work through those.

For everyday stress, think about the following.

  • Volunteer: Helping others is a great way to improve your mood and energy and lower stress levels.

  • Be grateful: Take a minute or two before bed each night to feel grateful for your life and day.

  • Forgive: Forgiving and releasing negative thoughts leaves your mind free to focus on more stimulating topics.

  • Meditate: Even spending several minutes of counting your breaths while sitting quietly can help calm your mind and leave you feeling more aware and alert.

Ultimately if we are tired then our body could be telling us that we need more sleep but hopefully these little tips can help you manage tiredness in conjunction with grabbing more sleep. Happy Bedtime x

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