Winter fatigue is a very common side effect of colder, darker days. Not only is our exposure to vitamin D reduced, but melatonin levels are also increased due to shorter days. Our ancestors would have naturally hibernated, to some degree, at this point in the year, and old habits die hard! In an ideal world, we’d probably be sleeping a lot more right now. But in the hustle and bustle of modern-day life, sneaking in an afternoon nap or even getting to bed early often isn’t an option. So, what can we do to reduce fatigue this winter?
What are the most common causes of seasonal fatigue?
Vitamin D Deficiency
Most of us know that vitamin D is something we get from the sun, but did you know that this so-called vitamin is actually a vitally important hormone? It’s essential for bone and teeth health (it helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body), immune system function (by helping to keep bacteria and viruses at bay) and mood balance.
Although you can get vitamin D from dietary sources, most of it comes from the production in the skin, triggered by UV rays from sunlight. During winter, when there’s less sunshine to be found, you’re wrapped up in 100 layers and you get less time outside, the amount of vitamin D we get plummets. This can result in many symptoms, including fatigue.
Fortunately, our fat cells do store vitamin D for months, so if you were out and about in summer you will hopefully still be getting a daily supply. But it can be helpful to take a vitamin D supplement too.
Vitamin D (specifically D3) and CBD have been shown to complement each other beautifully in studies, making these ideal supplements to use together.
Melatonin is needed to promote healthy sleep, however too much can leave you feeling tired during the day, too. Shorter daylight hours trigger the body and brain into thinking it’s nighttime. These dark days, and cold exposure, send signals to the brain to produce melatonin which can dramatically impact your circadian rhythm.
Vitamin D and CBD can both help regulate melatonin production and the circadian rhythm, so taking these supplements daily can help keep this process in balance.
Not enough exercise
Understandably, you might want to stay huddled up at home during the winter months but this lack of movement can make you feel much more fatigued. Although counterintuitive, getting out to do some form of exercise every day can help boost energy levels, and ensure you stay fit and healthy all year round.
The increase in melatonin we mentioned earlier can also result in a decreased supply of serotonin – the neurotransmitter which helps balance mood, sexual function, bone density and much more. This is thought to be one of the key contributing factors to SAD, which can produce feelings of depression and fatigue. Cannabinoids such as CBD and CBDa (the raw precursor to CBD) directly activate serotonin receptors, meaning consistent use of your CBD oil will provide you with a much-needed serotonin boost.
How to reduce fatigue this winter
Aside from taking vitamin D, CBD and exercising, what else can we do to reduce fatigue this winter?
- Meet up with friends: lack of social contact has been shown to produce low energy in humans and animals. A study conducted during the Covid-19 lockdown revealed that 8 hours without social contact can lead to a reduction in energy similar to going 8 hours without food. It can also make us feel hungry! Hypothesised as being an instinct to reconnect with others.
- Laugh more: Laughter has been shown to have a positive effect on fatigue, increasing energy, reducing stress and helping you stay focused. So, bring more laughter into your life, by watching funny films, heading to a stand-up show or anything else that makes you giggle.
- Eat right: What you eat naturally has a huge impact on energy levels, so make sure you’re getting the nutrition you need during winter. You might be craving carbs and comfort food, but what you need to fill up on are leafy green vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats such as fish, nuts, and seeds.
- Stay hydrated: We’re often less inclined to drink water when we’re feeling cold, so it can require conscious effort to ensure you’re drinking enough every day. Dehydration can lower your mood and energy levels, so drink up to flush out toxins, transport oxygen around your body and fight fatigue.
Green tea has been found to help reduce stress and fatigue too, making the Lady A Daily Fix capsules the ideal CBD product throughout the winter months. Shop yours, here.