Have you ever noticed you feel more tired and sluggish in the winter months? It’s not all in your head. As the temperature drops, many of us find our energy takes a nosedive, too.
The good news is that you don’t have to live in hibernation all winter long. With the help of key nutrients and supplements, you can get your energy levels back on track and feel like your lively self again – no matter how deep and dark the winter gets.
Why Do We Feel Fatigued in Winter?
This shift towards needing more rest is actually a natural response to the change in seasons. But if your winter fatigue goes beyond feeling a little tired and starts to make daily life a challenge, there could be a deeper issue at the root.
Here are some of the most common reasons we feel a bit more tired in winter:
Fewer Daylight Hours
How energized we feel has a lot to do with our exposure to sunlight. In winter, however, we get far fewer hours of sunlight than in the summer months, so we’ll naturally feel less energized.
Why does this matter? Reduced sunlight has a significant impact on our internal body clock, known as the circadian rhythm. This internal clock regulates essential functions like sleep-wake cycles and hormone production.
When daylight hours become shorter, it can disrupt this delicate balance, leading to fatigue and a feeling of lethargy. Reduced exposure to natural light can also affect the body's ability to produce vitamin D, a nutrient crucial for maintaining energy levels and overall health.
Reduced Physical Activity
Unless you love winter sports, it's not uncommon to become less physically active in winter. Colder temperatures and adverse weather conditions make it harder to get outside for exercise or even muster up the courage to drive to the gym.
Unfortunately, a more sedentary lifestyle can lead to muscle weakness and decreased blood circulation, both of which can make you feel fatigued. The lack of physical activity also has a direct impact on mood, making you feel less motivated to take on the day.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Another significant contributor to winter fatigue is Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly known as SAD. SAD is a type of depression that occurs seasonally, typically during the fall and winter months. The exact cause of SAD is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to reduced exposure to natural light. Along with mood changes, low energy is a hallmark symptom of SAD (as well as difficulty concentrating and changes in sleep and eating patterns).
Winter can lead to nutrient deficiencies, particularly in the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D. But beyond that, many people also struggle to eat a well-rounded diet in winter when fresh, vibrant fruits and veggies are harder to get (and hearty “meat and potatoes” dishes are more appealing). This change in eating habits can lead to a lower intake of important nutrients, which only makes you feel more fatigued.
5 Key Nutrients to Stay Energized in Winter
Don’t let winter fatigue put a damper on your mood, health, or activities this year. Thankfully, there are simple ways to boost your energy and well-being throughout the winter to stay healthy and active. One of those approaches is ensuring that your body is getting the nutrients it needs to maintain energy levels. Let’s explore the 5 key nutrients you need in winter to avoid the winter slump.
#1 - Vitamin D: Find Your Light
Vitamin D, often called the "sunshine vitamin," plays a huge role in our health. From keeping our bones strong to helping the immune system fight off infections to maintaining a positive, balanced mood, we need vitamin D.
In winter, however, we don't see as much sunlight, and that means less vitamin D for our bodies. Shorter days and indoor time can lead to a shortage of vitamin D, making you feel tired and weakening your immune system.
How to Restore Vitamin D Levels: To tackle the winter D deficiency, try to eat foods rich in vitamin D, like fatty fish, fortified dairy products, and eggs.
But for most people, it’s difficult to eat enough of these foods to get the vitamin D you need daily. With Dr. Danielle’s Vitamin D3 + B12 Gummies, filling in the gaps is easy. Made with D3 from Vegan Lichen, and Methylcobalamin (the highest quality form of bioactive B12), you can replenish both vitamin D and vitamin B12 for a powerful natural energy boost.
#2 - B Vitamins: Energy Booster
B vitamins, especially B12, help turn your food into the energy your cells need to keep you going. Keeping your B vitamins in check can help your brain stay sharp during the chilly season.
How to Restore B Vitamin Levels: You can find B vitamins in animal products like meat, fish, dairy, and fortified cereals. If you're on a vegetarian or vegan diet, or experiencing significant fatigue, you’ll likely need a supplement. That’s where our Organic B Complex Liquid Vitamin Drops come in! This vitamin tincture is easy to take – just a dropper full under the tongue or in a glass of water will give you the B vitamins (B3, B6, B7, B9, and B12) you need to thrive each day.
#3 - Melatonin: Restful Nights for Active Days
Melatonin, the "sleep hormone," helps regulate your sleep by telling your body when it’s time to wind down and rest. In winter, however, it can take some time for your body clock to sync up to changes in daylight or routine. This can mess with your melatonin production, making it hard to fall asleep or wake up on time and leaving you feeling groggy the next day.
How to Restore Melatonin Levels: To improve your sleep naturally, munch on melatonin-friendly foods like cherries, grapes, and walnuts, and sleep-inducing herbs. Or, mix up a glass of SleepBliss each night, about half an hour before bed. SleepBliss contains melatonin and other rest-enhancing ingredients (like L-theanine, chamomile, and valerian) to help you fall asleep on time and enjoy restorative sleep every night.
#4 - Zinc: Immunity Booster
Pesky colds can sap your energy. Unfortunately, winter’s cold, wet, and windy weather can leave you feeling under the weather. That’s why now is the perfect time to increase your zinc intake. Zinc is a superhero mineral for your immune system. It helps your body fend off colds and other infections so you can spend your energy enjoying the festive season (and not recovering from another cold).
How to Restore Zinc Levels: To give your immunity a boost, include zinc-rich foods in your winter diet. Foods like legumes, nuts and seeds, oysters, poultry, and lean meats are excellent sources.
But if you feel like you're not getting enough through diet, zinc supplements can be a helpful addition, especially during the winter months when you need that extra immunity support. Dr. Danielle’s Cold Sore Assist is the go-to formula for the immune boost you need. This formula contains zinc, along with vitamin C, echinacea, elderberry, and other immunity-enhancing ingredients to keep you in tip-top shape no matter the season.
#5 - Probiotics: Healthy Gut, Healthy You
The food you eat becomes your energy. So, it’s crucial to have a well-functioning gut to digest and transform your food into resources for your body. Did you know that your gut health also affects your mood, focus, and even your immune system? When your gut is in good shape, you’ll be able to move through the day with energy and ease.
But, if your gut microbiome is out of balance, your energy production will drop. You’ll feel sluggish and lethargic, and your immune system will struggle to keep up. The remedy? A healthy diet full of gut-boosting probiotics.
How to Restore a Healthy Microbiome: To keep your gut happy and healthy, eat foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi daily as these foods are packed with probiotics.
It’s a good idea to also supplement with a powerful probiotic, too. Consider taking Dr. Danielle Spore-Based Probiotic daily to replenish your gut with helpful bacteria. If you are already struggling with gut troubles (like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, leaky gut, SIBO, or other issues), opt instead for Gut Assist Probiotic. You’ll replenish your microbiome while also getting digestive support.
Self-Care Habits for a Winter of Wellness
Winter might throw some energy challenges your way, but there are practical self-care and lifestyle habits that can help you stay vibrant and active during the chilly season. Here are some tips to consider for your well-rounded winter wellness routine:
#1 - Keep moving!
Don't let the cold weather keep you huddled indoors. While you may not feel energized yet, staying active is key to keeping your energy levels up. If outdoor activities aren't your thing, consider joining a local gym, try some indoor fitness classes, or even go online for a daily home workout.
#2 - Prioritize Sleep
Do you feel like you need extra sleep lately? That’s normal! Studies show we need an average of 1.75-2.5 extra hours per night in winter – and getting enough quality sleep is essential for maintaining your energy in winter. Aim for a consistent sleep schedule, and create a cozy sleep environment that promotes relaxation. Struggling to sleep despite being tired? Try these sleep tips!
#3 - Manage Stress
From busy holiday schedules to the end-of-year rush, stress can really ramp up in winter (and take a toll on your energy). Do you have a tried-and-true way of managing your stress? If not, consider adding simple habits like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga into your daily routine. These practices can help you maintain a sense of calm and reduce the negative impact of stress on your energy levels.
Get Ready to Feel Your Best this Winter
It's perfectly normal to feel a little less peppy during winter, but with the right nutrients and a few self-care strategies, you can keep your spirits high and your energy levels up, no matter how dark and dreary it gets!