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La fatigue en hiver_ le coup de blues _ la déprime hivernale_hydratis_hydratation_minéreaux_potassium

Fatigue in Winter: how to stay in shape?

Are you lacking energy, your morale is not in good shape, a desire to doze off or a greater appetite for sugar? You may be one of the 1 in 5 French people affected by seasonal depression between the end of October and the end of March.

What causes this fatigue and how to deal with it?

The importance of hydration in winter

And, yes, hydration is one of the keys to your well-being throughout the year and even more so during cold periods! When temperatures drop, our body uses a significant amount of fluid and calories to thermoregulate the body and vital organs. In addition, an aggravating factor, the feeling of thirst decreases and we tend to drink less regularly and in smaller quantities! Being aware of this winter-specific issue is key to maintaining adequate energy levels.

It is important to spot the signals and symptoms sent by our body indicating a lack of hydration . Chapped lips as well as drier, brittle skin are a strong signal of this problem and should encourage you to pay more attention to your hydration level. In addition, the cold combined with a low level of humidity in the air (dry weather) will promote the loss of liquids and electrolytes through perspiration and the respiratory tract (Find the article “Hot and cold climate : the impact on our hydration needs ").

Hydratis helps you optimize your hydration during these winter periods: it allows water to be absorbed and assimilated more effectively thanks to the creation of a hypotonic drink and provides you with mineral salts and trace elements . Start the day with one Hydratis tablet in a large glass of water and add one or two tablets to a bottle during the day to drink regularly and effectively.

Sun, vitamin D and seasonal infections

Winter fatigue can be explained in various ways; the body must cope with the cold, deficiencies and illnesses.

In winter, the length of daylight decreases, leading to a significant drop in brightness - from 50,000 lux on a sunny day in summer to 5 times less during a day in winter - and this leads to a disruption of the biological clock or otherwise called “ light deficiency”.

It is the skin which, when exposed to sunlight, creates significant amounts of vitamin D.

Vitamin D plays a role in general health, particularly the proper functioning of the immune system . Vitamin D deficiency can increase susceptibility to viral infections – such as respiratory infections and with a poorer immune response. [Immune Modulatory Effects of Vitamin D on Viral Infections]

On the other hand, seasonal infections - such as colds, flu, gastroenteritis - spread more easily and quickly during this period!

  • lack of sunlight and vitamin D weaken our immune system
  • the drop in temperature and humidity of the air promote the stability of certain viruses
  • Groupings in closed, poorly ventilated spaces encourage contamination.

In this particular year (2020 and 2021), confinement and fear of the coronavirus limited outdoor physical activity and social interactions, which amplified winter fatigue, however, there was a clear reduction in seasonal infections. (flu, gastroenteritis, bronchiolitis, etc.).

Circadian rhythm disruption: a cause of winter fatigue and seasonal depression

For some, this winter fatigue can lead to “ seasonal depression ”, called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). What is its origin ?

Circadian rhythm

Chronobiology is a discipline that studies biological rhythms in the body. The best known biological rhythm is the circadian rhythm - a cycle of approximately 24 hours . Almost all functions of our body are subject to it: blood pressure, sleep, heart rate but also memory... Our internal clock is mainly based on light and darkness.

When it is out of whack, it has an impact on our health, particularly on sleep, mood disorders, etc. and can play an important role in mood. [Chronobiology – Inserm]

Melatonin, fatigue and seasonal depression

Natural light is of course fundamental in synchronizing the circadian rhythm because it plays an important role in melatonin. Melatonin is the sleep-inducing hormone , involved in the regulation of mood, sleep and wakefulness. The reduction in natural light perceived by the eyes leads to the secretion of this hormone, and therefore to falling asleep. The increase in light perceived by our eyes leads to the end of this secretion of melatonin (around 7:30 a.m.) and therefore to awakening.

People suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder are affected, in winter, by the reduction in daylight length. They produce more melatonin during the day, which leads to permanent fatigue and even symptoms of depression. [Science & Life]

With the aim of well-being, it is important to respect your biological rhythm: get enough sleep, eat meals at set times, stop using screens an hour before sleeping (their blue light gives the body the impression that it is still daytime ) etc…

Tips for fighting winter fatigue?

Having a healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet and practicing regular sporting activity helps fight against this phenomenon.

Expose yourself to the light of day

As the winter blues are linked to the lack of daylight, it is necessary to expose yourself to it as soon as possible, at least 30 minutes a day : go out often, especially in good weather, continue to get some fresh air (walking, cycling , jogging…).

If you are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the most suitable treatment is phototherapy . In Scandinavian countries, where there is a lack of exposure to light, phototherapy is a common practice. [Treatment of winter depression in Norway] .

This involves exposing yourself for 30 minutes, preferably in the morning, to light of 10,000 lux intensity. The phototherapy lamp sends light to reproduce the spectrum of natural light and helps stop the production of melatonin and thus regulate the circadian cycle. [Phototherapy in the treatment and prevention of seasonal affective disorder ]

Take care of your diet

The winter blues may make you crave sugary foods and carbs like chocolate, pasta and bread, but don't forget to include fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables in your diet. The foods to favor are those rich in vitamins C, D and minerals .

  • Acerola, lemon, kiwis, oranges, clementines, grapefruits but also sprouts (Brussels, cauliflowers) are rich in vitamin C. [ANSES]
  • Oily fish, such as salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel, are rich in vitamin D. [ANSES]

During the end-of-year holidays, family meals tend to be heavier and fatty; excess food and alcohol then force the body to work harder. Make sure you hydrate regularly; soups and soups, vegetables rich in fiber and potassium, herbal teas and teas will help the liver to evacuate accumulated toxins.

Also consume foods rich in magnesium , known to promote our immune defenses : dark chocolate, nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, etc.) but also garlic, ginseng, ginger. [ Possible roles of magnesium on the immune system]

Food supplements based on vitamins, minerals, royal jelly and propolis can be useful. Finally, it is important to maintain good hydration and not forget to drink even in winter!

Some tips to feel good, even in winter:

  • Drink enough , 6 to 8 glasses of water per day, consume herbal teas, tea, etc. Good hydration helps prevent the appearance of dry skin.
  • Take care of your skin using moisturizing cream and balm.
  • Avoid overheating the home
  • Get enough sleep as it is essential to combat winter fatigue
  • Go outside for at least 30 minutes a day and take advantage of the clearings
  • Use phototherapy to combat light deficiency
  • Hydrate regularly with hot and cold drinks
  • Adapt your diet with seasonal fruits and vegetables