Do you find it almost impossible to roll out of bed during those dark, bone-chilling mornings? You’re not alone, many of us feel lethargic and fatigued during the colder months.
Here Dr Arianna Di Stadio, neuroscientist and co-founder of Hello Pure, outlines her top tips for building healthier habits to maintain a natural level of energy this autumn and winter.
Let some sunlight in
As the days become shorter and the nights draw in, you may find your sleep cycle is disturbed, which can cause fatigue. The reduction of sunlight on shorter days can also cause your brain to produce more melatonin, which can make you sleepy.
In the autumn/winter months, try to open your blinds as soon as you wake up to let more sunlight in. Getting outdoors in the natural daylight can also reduce seasonal tiredness, and going on a walk in natural sunlight once a day helps decrease melatonin levels and makes you feel more awake.
Revamp your diet
Eating natural ‘energy foods’ is one of the most important things you can do to combat fatigue and look after your overall health. Foods high in protein and healthy fats are great sources of energy and can help you feel energised for longer.
Try to avoid eating high-glycemic foods. Whilst they will give you an immediate energy boost, this will be short-lived, as they can cause a blood sugar spike resulting in that inevitable crash.
Starting your day with a good breakfast made up of a complex carbohydrate can help boost your energy, especially on dark mornings. Foods such as oats can provide a source of slow-releasing carbohydrates, meaning you will feel energised for longer.
By maintaining a balanced diet, you can also ensure you are not at risk of nutrient deficiencies and conditions that may affect your metabolism and cause chronic fatigue.
When you feel like you’re running on empty, exercising may be the last thing on your mind. However, engaging in some form of daily physical activity is critical for maintaining optimal energy levels.
Something as simple as a short 15-minute work can give you a much-needed boost. You will, over time, feel the benefits of regular exercise and find yourself having more energy. Regular exercise will also improve your sleep, as it increases the time spent in deep sleep, which is the most physically restorative sleep phase.
If you have noticed you often feel tired around the same time every day, it may be down to dehydration. Our bodies are mainly comprised of water, meaning dehydration can have a big impact on our metabolism, resulting in that lethargic feeling. As soon as you start to feel the tiredness creep in, try to drink water instead of reaching for another cup of coffee.
Stress can be one of the main culprits of fatigue. Worry can keep us up at night, as well as keeping our body in a state of fight-or-flight which can be exhausting throughout the day. Being under immense amounts of pressure can also lead to a lack of motivation and burnout, which can make us feel even more fatigued and lacklustre.
If you have a busy work schedule, you may be unintentionally neglecting important healthy habits such as your diet, sleep and exercise, which can all accumulate to make you feel like you’re running on empty.
There are a variety of things you can do to help reduce stress, such as talking about how you’re feeling to a friend, family member or healthcare professional; adopting time-management techniques to ensure you are not overworking yourself; and practicing calming breathing exercises to help calm the mind.
Support your energy levels with natural supplements
Natural supplements are a great thing to incorporate into your routine to support your energy levels.
Coenzyme Q10, also referred to as CoQ10, is an effective natural supplement to take for tiredness as it helps generate energy in your cells. Your body naturally produces CoQ10 in the liver, but as we age the production of the enzyme decreases.
When CoQ10 levels are low, we can be left with a fatigued feeling, and the amount of CoQ10 found in food is minimal, meaning the best way to increase your CoQ10 levels is through natural supplementation.
The recommended dosage is 100mg, once a day. Many CoQ10 will also be enhanced with other beneficial ingredients such as Vitamin C & E which also also contribute to the reduction of tiredness and help increase the bioavailality of the Q10 coenzyme in the body.
Seek medical advice
While tiredness is relatively normal, especially during autumn/winter, it is important to seek medical advice if you are struggling to boost your energy levels as it could be a sign of another medical condition.
If your tiredness is preventing you from living your normal life, or if it lasts for a sustained period of time, you should speak to your GP who will be able to explore the reason for your tiredness further and recommend the best treatment.