When the temperatures drop outside, we need more sleep and our bodies enter a state of mini-hibernation. The most important trigger is the messenger substance melatonin. The darker it is outside, the more of this so-called sleep hormone is produced by the body. However, this does not mean that your winter motto should be “shut your eyes and sleep through it???. With the right tips, you can remain fit and productive during the winter months.
Staying awake tip 1: get outdoors
When dark winter days reduce our energy levels, light can help to recharge the batteries. The sun does not necessarily need to be shining. Even a walk under a cloudy sky will give you valuable exposure to light. Ideally, aim to spend one hour a day in the fresh air walking, Nordic walking, jogging or cycling. During the week half an hour of “light refuelling??? is sufficient. Increase your walking time to work by getting off the train one station earlier, park the car further away – or go for a walk during your lunch break.
Staying awake tip 2: Stay active – by cooking
Are you tempted to turn the heating up and snuggle under the duvet on the couch to watch TV? Admittedly, this sounds like a nice way to spend a winter day. But, unless you actually have a cold, spending the winter in a low gear will only end up making you feel more tired. You will stay fit and healthy if you keep up the momentum – for example by cooking. Set yourself the challenge of trying out some new recipes this winter. Buy some fresh ingredients, taking the opportunity to walk to the shops. Put on your favourite music at home and enjoy preparing the fresh vegetables and other ingredients. Cook yourself fit this winter. We have put together some recipe ideas for you.
- Potato and Vegetable Gratin
- Colourful Beef Wok
- Cauliflower Curry
- Minestrone Cellentani
- Cod Fillet on a Bed of Vegetables
Staying awake tip 3: Strengthen your immunity
The winter is a challenging time for our immune systems. The constant change from the cold outdoors to warm temperatures indoors makes it particularly easy for viruses and bacteria to weaken our immune systems. Improve your defences by strengthening your immune system with a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. Vitamins in particular will give you a powerful boost. Citrus fruits and freshly harvested winter vegetables, such as red cabbage, Savoy cabbage, broccoli and parsnips can help to boost your defences. A balanced and varied diet with a total of three portions of vegetables and salad (around 400 grams) and two portions of fruit (around 250 grams) will also contribute to your general wellbeing. You should also drink plenty during the winter. Despite cold outdoor temperatures, our bodies still sweat and need around 1.5 to 2 litres of liquids every day in the form of beverages (ideally mineral water, unsweetened fruit and herbal teas, or fruit juice spritzers made with 1/3 juice and 2/3 water).
Staying awake tip 4: Lift your mood
In the winter, our bodies produce more of the hormone melatonin, which makes us feel tired and can even make us feel depressed. Carbohydrates can help to beat the winter blues. They encourage the production of serotonin in the body. This happiness hormone is the antidote to melatonin. Examples of hot meals containing delicious and healthy carbohydrates include pasta, potato dishes and flour-based dishes.
Staying awake tip 5: The right amount of sleep
We regenerate ourselves and replenish our energy reserves while we sleep. If you get tired earlier in the evenings during the winter, try going to bed earlier than usual. We need around seven to eight hours of sleep a night. However, everyone is different. If you need nine hours of sleep to feel fully refreshed, this is fine. A regular sleeping and waking routine is the most beneficial, i.e. going to bed and getting up at the same time each day.