by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
Winter is definitely a sleepy season. You easily may manage a full night’s sleep when it’s dark at dinnertime. That does not mean you feel well rested. Here’s why and what to do about it …
Winter is a season of respite. Hibernation. Nature and the earth go dormant, sometimes under a blanket of snow. It is a sleepy time of year, induced by comfort foods, dreary weather, and the ongoing cold you seem to be fighting. Give yourself permission to doze in the sunshine for a few minutes or laze under a blanket of your own. It’s understandable. But, it does not have to be inevitable.
More Stretching. Less Yawning. Take time throughout your day for a vigorous stretch. Tackle your upper and lower body to improve circulation throughout. Hold stretches—whatever kind feel most needed—for about 30 seconds. Melting away muscle tensions is energizing in itself.
Stay hydrated. Even slight dehydration, which happens periodically during the day, can lead to fatigue. Quench your sluggish system with water throughout the day. For the biggest boost from your chug, drink down a full glass at once several times daily, especially when in a slump. Then, sip throughout the day to maintain hydration. Add a squeeze of citrus, like lemon or orange, for extra perk.
Get moving. Exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing when tired. You even may use the excuse that by skipping it, you can go to bed earlier. It won’t happen. More realistically, you’ll collapse on the couch and head to bed later as you sink deeper into the cushions with each passing TV commercial.
Exercise can energize even the sleep deprived. It improves the flow of oxygen and blood throughout your body and brain to give you a lift. A quick workout increases energy and improves the dulled spirit that often accompanies fatigue. At the very least, take a brisk 20-minute walk. The fresh air, combined with the activity, is reviving. When you do sleep, it will be of better quality.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Both have rollercoaster effects on your alertness. Caffeine shoots through the body like lightning, producing a strong, bright reaction. However, its post-storm affect can require damage control, which seems to necessitate more caffeine. Use this “drug” sparingly. It is addictive and you can build a tolerance to it, especially those who cannot afford the crash it leaves in its wake (and who can!).
Alcohol may seem a soothing treat after a long, stressful day. Indeed, it does relax the body and mind. However, enjoyed too close to bedtime, it may cause disrupted sleep. It will lull you into a snooze easily enough, but later may act as a stimulant.
Snack well & often. Eating hearty snacks throughout the day helps avoid dips in blood sugar so you can maintain a decent energy level. Don’t let yourself get too hungry at any point in the day, including before meals which can lead to overeating.
Keep protein- and fiber-packed snacks with you at all times. Crunch on veggies, nuts and seeds, and dried or fresh fruit. Low-fat dairy like yogurt and cheese are also good energy sources. A mid-afternoon orange or grapefruit can awaken the senses and deliver a jolt of energy.
Reduce stress. Simple ways to accomplish this would make for a best-selling publication of biblical size. Stress is personal. Find solutions to it that work for you. Kickboxing class, pumping iron, swimming weightless in the pool, meditating, enjoying a book, talking with a friend—create your list. (Notice all these are actions.) Stress cannot be eliminated, and in small doses it can be healthy. However, chronic stress should be reduced and better managed. It’s amazing how energized we can feel when not carrying the burden of stressors.
Stop Sabotaging the Energy You Have
Being tired is not always from lack of sleep or even poor sleep quality. Lifestyle has an impact on our physical and mental stamina. Examine how you spend your day and take steps to live with more energy.
Healthy snack mix: pixabay.com/en/healthy-mixed-nuts-food-nuts-snack-1030428/
Thinking woman: pixabay.com/en/peace-of-mind-woman-girl-outdoors-349815/