Do you feel tired and sluggish all day as soon as the winter season starts? Do you find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning? Well, you’re not alone.
With days getting longer, weather getting colder, and less exposure to sunlight, it’s normal to yearn for more time in bed. You may feel sluggish, weary, and heavy-eyed throughout the day. It’s natural to feel the need to hibernate as soon as the winter months hit.
But why? What is it that makes us so sleepy and tired all day during the winter? Keep reading to know why you lack energy during the darker days of winter.
Reduced Sun Exposure
When it comes to controlling your sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, sunlight is crucial. The photoreceptor cells in your eyes play a significant role in the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
When these unique cells sense a decrease in the sunshine, they send a message to the Suprachiasmaticnucleus (SCN), a part of your brain that monitors your sleep-wake cycle.
Upon receiving the signal of a decrease in sunlight from the photoreceptor cells in your eyes, SCN stimulates the production of melatonin, which relaxes your body and prepares you for sleep.
During winter, the process begins early and ends late due to longer nights. Therefore melatonin is produced in large quantities, which continues to show its effect even during the day making, you feel tired and sleepy all day.
Not Getting Enough Vitamin D
Sunlight is a prime source of vitamin D. Most people can synthesize enough vitamin D for the day with just 10 minutes of sun exposure. However, during winter, acquiring those 10 minutes is more than difficult.
Significant studies have shown a positive correlation between vitamin D deficiency and poor sleep. The bad news is that darker skies and drier weather can make you more susceptible to low levels of this essential nutrient. Low levels of vitamin D increase fatigue which further intensifies your need to be in bed.
It's not only terrible for your sleep habits, but low levels of vitamin D also impact your immune system and your mood. If you’re more prone to allergies and colds during the winter season, you’re likely to stay in bed for long.
Stress is a common problem people face throughout the year, but the holidays have a way of amplifying it. High-stress levels can lead to sleep deprivation and insomnia, which means you’ll feel sleepy during the day. You might try to oversleep on weekends when you can't get enough Z's during the week, but that doesn't help.
This condition is known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It’s a common psychological problem that many people experience during winter.
SAD, often known as the winter blues, affects the serotonin production in your body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that stimulates emotions of happiness and boosts your mood. Therefore, it's understandable that if your serotonin levels are affected by winter, your mental health may suffer too.
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