• Many people experience tiredness during the winter months. They often associate their lack of energy with staying indoors or fatigue from a busy holiday season. In actuality, the reason you feel more tired in the winter is likely due to a lack of sunlight.

    Features of Winter

    Because of the Earth's position in relation to the sun, the sun sets early during the winter months, resulting in fewer hours of daylight.

    Effects of Reduced Daylight

    The shortness of winter days disrupts your circadian rhythms, the processes that control your sleep and waking cycles. Reduced sunlight also slows the production of two brain chemicals called melatonin and serotonin, both of which play a role in sleep regulation.

    Types of Symptoms

    The disruption of your sleep cycles and reduction of melatonin and serotonin cause increased tiredness and oversleeping. They also pose a risk for depression, hopelessness, anxiety, social withdrawal, appetite changes and weight gain, according to the Mayo Clinic.


    People often refer to mild cases of seasonal tiredness and other related symptoms as the "winter blues." More severe cases that interfere with your day-to-day activities have a medical diagnosis known as seasonal affective disorder, explains Cornell University.


    Opening your blinds to allow in more sunlight during the day, taking walks and spending time outdoors, and getting regular exercise will help minimize fatigue that develops during the winter months, according to the Mayo Clinic.


    Macalester College: What is Serotonin and What Does It Do?

    Mayo Clinic: Seasonal Affective Disorder

    Cornell University: Beating the Winter Blues: A practical guide on how to get through winter at Cornell

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