With cooler weather rolling in throughout fall, many people feel the effects of the seasonal changes. While most people notice the obvious signs like colder temperatures and less sunlight, some not-so-obvious effects can linger – and actually become detrimental to your overall health.
For example, when the seasons change, the body’s internal clock may become imbalanced. During the changes of light and temperature, the body has to adjust, and this adjustment isn’t easy on everybody. It can cause many symptoms, one of which is fatigue. So what are some ways to fight seasonal fatigue this fall? Read on to find out.
Why do I get tired when the seasons change?
The body’s sleep-and-wake cycle is vital to bodily health. It helps you produce hormones and ushers signals throughout the body and to the brain that help generate feelings of alertness. When this cycle is disrupted because of shorter days and changing temperatures, it can lead to tiredness and fatigue. Although this is a completely normal process that many people go through, it’s often difficult to cope with.
What are autumn fatigue symptoms?
Autumn fatigue isn’t technically a disorder on its own; however, it can be a symptom of another seasonal disorder known as SAD (seasonal affective disorder). SAD is defined as a type of depression that comes on when seasons change. Although it is typically more prevalent in winter, SAD can be brought on by any seasonal change. The symptoms of SAD may include:
- Feeling depressed or down often
- A loss of interest in activities because of mental exhaustion and sadness
- Issues with sleep
- Appetite or weight changes
- Feeling sluggish
Not all cases of autumn fatigue can be described as SAD, as some can develop simply due to a decrease in sunlight. Vitamin D, the vitamin that you get mainly from the sun, is vital to many processes in the body. One of those processes is mental alertness, and deficiencies in vitamin D have been linked to fatigue.
How do you fight fall fatigue?
The fact that many people suffer from fall fatigue doesn’t make it any less uncomfortable. The good news is that there are things you can do during the change of seasons to help avoid and manage extra feelings of fatigue and sluggishness while your body adjusts to the changing seasons.
1. Get as much sunlight as you can
As mentioned above, sunlight is usually the best way to get vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a vital role in the body’s energy levels for many reasons. Firstly, it helps the mitochondria – the part of the cell responsible for generating energy. Vitamin D helps the mitochondria use oxygen to supply energy to other parts of the muscles.
There is much less sunlight during the fall, so one of the best things you can do to help reduce fatigue is get outside as much as possible when the sun is shining. If that is not enough, taking a vitamin D supplement can also help to improve levels of the nutrient.
2. Exercise regularly
Getting out for exercise may seem impossible while you’re battling fall fatigue, but it can actually reverse those feelings of tiredness. Exercise can improve fatigue because it boosts certain endorphins that can lead to feelings of increased energy. It also aids in transferring oxygen throughout the blood, which helps to prevent a lack of oxygen to certain cells that could be making you more tired. Experts suggest that aerobic exercise may have the most beneficial effect when it comes to boosting energy levels this fall.
3. Manage your stress
Stress can wreak havoc on the entire body. When you’re stressed, glucose stores that are needed to help maintain energy throughout the day become depleted, thus causing you to feel tired or fatigued. To better manage your stress levels, try adding some stress-relieving exercises into your day, such as meditation or yoga. Use whatever works for you to help lower your stress levels and you should see your fatigue improve as well.
4. Eat a healthy diet
Food plays a crucial role in energy levels. After all, the food you eat is what supplies your body with the nutrients it needs to maintain energy levels and healthy bodily processes. To ensure you’re giving yourself a fighting chance against fall fatigue, eat a diet rich in wholefoods that provide your body with the appropriate nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants that protect you from harmful illnesses. The right foods will help you fight fatigue, so including lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, and lean meats in your diet can go a long way toward overcoming seasonal fatigue.
5. Seek out therapy if you need to
If you are experiencing fall fatigue and nothing seems to be helping, you may actually be suffering from SAD. If that is the case, seeking out a licensed therapist can assist you in coping further with your symptoms.
Autumn fatigue is a real concern for many people. You cannot change the seasons, but you can make yourself aware of seasonal fatigue before it becomes too difficult to manage, and you can practice healthy lifestyle habits to stave off this the seasonal sleepiness.
Featured image by Jakob Owens on Unsplash