Everyone knows the cold grey months of winter are notorious for making a homebody of even the most social butterflies. Let’s face it – staying in and cozying up by the fire almost always sounds better than stacking on layers of itchy sweaters and venturing out into the cold. We all complain about feeling more lethargic in the winter, but for many the winter months only accentuate the exhaustion and lethargy experience year-round despite getting plenty of shut-eye. So what’s up with that?
Depending on who you ask you could get a dozen different explanations for your sleepy nature, but at the end of the day most people are able to perk up if they make a couple of simple lifestyle changes.
1. “I’m too tired to work out…” we’ve all said it before, and while preserving our energy may seem like the logical route for having more of it, studies prove the opposite is true. Regular exercise boosts strength, endurance, and your mood as it improves your cardiovascular system, and delivers increased oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. Adding 20 minutes of light exercise to your schedule 3 times a week may be a great way for you to tackle your sleepiness.
2. Another culprit you may want to investigate in your quest to find energy is your diet. If you’re a sucker for sweets and simple carbs your sugar highs are likely to blame for your energy lows. To reduce drowsiness, make an effort to keep blood sugar steady by enjoying a lean protein along with a whole grain at every meal. Good choices include baked or grilled chicken and brown rice, salmon and sweet potato, or salad with chicken and fruit.
3. If you aren’t getting enough iron in your diet you may experience sluggishness, irritability, weakness, and an inability to focus since less oxygen is traveling to your muscles and cells. Increase your iron intake with lean beef, kidney beans, tofu, eggs, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, and peanut butter, and pair them with a good source of vitamin C. If you think you may have an iron deficiency you should consult a physician.