Melatonin & It’s Impact on Energy Levels

Feeling tired lately?

At this time of year one of the most common things I hear from my clients is that they are feeling tired and that they lack energy to do anything. In essence – they pretty much feel like hibernating! Does this sound familiar?

Photo Credit: Huffington Post

I will admit Alberta winters can definitely be challenging. When the cold miserable weather hits most of us would rather stay at home and avoid venturing out into the frigid temperatures and the poor road conditions. But the weather isn’t the only thing that changes at this time of the year making us feel like pulling the covers over our heads! Have you noticed the daylight hours changing? According to the Weather Network the number of daylight hours we get peak in June around 16 hours per day and drop to half that amount come December. That is a big shift and it does have an impact on our energy levels.

Melatonin is a neurohormone that is produced by the pineal gland located in the center of our brain. It plays a key role in regulating our sleep/awake cycle which is also called our circadian rhythm. Our body is naturally programmed to be awake during daylight hours and sleep at night. One of the strongest influences for the production of melatonin is the presence of natural light. As daylight hours disappear, melatonin is produced which starts to make us feel tired in the evening. Production of melatonin peaks in the middle of the night and decreases as morning nears. So, when our daylight hours decrease and the sun sets earlier in the day we start to get tired and our energy starts to quickly disappear.
Is this a concern? Well, it is if you start to see that your physical activity decreases as a result of it. Exercise is something a lot of people only find time to do after work and as the daylight hours decrease and the weather starts to turn cold it is very easy to convince ourselves that we can skip out on our fitness class or date with the treadmill at the gym. This is that natural reaction of choosing the path of least resistance and instead heading home to curl up on the couch.

While a few days of playing hooky from our regular exercise is totally acceptable, too many days can wind up leaving us feeling guilty and discouraged as we realize our pants are fitting a little tighter again. Instead, recognizing the change in daylight hours and the cold weather and don’t let it impact your habits. We encouraging you to embrace the winter! There are many fun seasonal activities to be done with the snow so lets have some fun with it!!

Our friends over at Body By Bennett are all about showing people how to have fun with fitness. Check out their website or follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to find out some fun ways to stay active over the winter months.

December 16, 2014