Tips for Battling Spring Fatigue
Written by: Sabina Rebis
Battling spring fatigue? When spring peeks around the corner, the dandelions and sunshine should have us bouncing around Tigger-style, just like Winnie the Pooh’s BFF. Unfortunately many of us actually end up feeling run down and tired before we feel that spring fever. Why?
For one, springing forward clocks an hour ahead during daylight savings time knocks our circadian rhythm out of whack, creating circadian misalignment. This means that the synchrony of the physiological action of the heart is disturbed and our bodies grasp at a sense of new equilibrium. Studies show that the rate of heart attacks increased in the first 3 days after daylight savings time. Epinephrine, a hormone released during times of stress, was also found to float around in the bloodstream longer in the week following the time change.
Allergies are another culprit of springtime fatigue. Blooming tulips and fluttering butterflies are a welcome sight after the dreary overcast snow days, but they can rev up sniffles in allergy sufferers. Drippy noses and dull sinus headaches can take a toll on a full night of sleep.
Bright rays of sunshine stretching into late afternoon as we leave work plaster smiles on our faces. However, bright light stimulates the production of the feel-good, activity hormone serotonin. Body temperature rises and blood vessels dilate, inducing a relaxed, often sleepy state that begs for a mid-afternoon nap.
How to overcome the alternate spring lethargy?
- Eat more fruits and veggies: Increase your vitamin intake with Mother’s Nature medley of goodies and cut out the sedating heavy winter comfort foods.
- Hit the gym. Go for a bike ride. Sign up for a tennis lesson. Exercise offsets spring fatigue.
- Sleep in on weekends: Let your body adjust to a new rhythm gradually. If you find yourself sleeping a little longer on the weekends, that’s natural.
- Shower before bed. A warm shower relaxes the body and makes it easier to float away to Dreamland. Bedtime showers also get rid of any pollen or allergens that may have collected on skin and clothing.
- Eat chocolate: It’s chock full natural chemicals, like anandamines which stimulate the brain in the same way as cannabis does, mellowing out mood. Tyramine and phenylethylamine boost energy levels since they have stimulant properties similar to amphetamine.
Sabina is a physician and health writer based in NYC, the Hamptons, and Westchester. Find her on www.themodelofhealth.com