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Why Do We Feel So Lethargic During Winters?

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Last Updated: December 28, 2022, 15:07 IST

Since circadian processes are affected by temperature, winters lead to lower temperatures, and this has an influence on patterns and duration of sleep.

Since circadian processes are affected by temperature, winters lead to lower temperatures, and this has an influence on patterns and duration of sleep.

Most people want to sleep more than their usual hours due to the lethargy during winter.

Winter gives us much-needed cold weather after surviving long heat and humidity. But extreme cold weather and low temperatures force us into our blankets and make us lazy enough for us to lie in bed for longer hours. North India is faced with severe cold and people love to spend time in their blankets. Most people want to sleep more than their usual hours due to the lethargy. But this raises a question: why do people feel like they need more sleep during winter?

According to The Indian Express, Dr Visveswaran Balasubramanian, Consultant, Interventional Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine at Yashoda Hospital, Hyderabad, explained that our sleeping habits are based on our circadian rhythm. He explained that circadian processes are our “internal timekeeping cells.”

These cells are responsible to synchronise our bodies with the environment with the help of “zeitgebers” or “time clues” such as ambient temperature, and light and coordinate other such circadian responses to optimize with the environment.

Since circadian processes are affected by temperature, winters lead to lower temperatures, and this has an influence on patterns and duration of sleep. Moreover, according to psychiatry experts, daylight reduces during winter and nights get longer. This affects our melatonin levels, and the suppression of this chemical makes our bodies more lethargic. The unclear distinction between daytime and night-time leads to an increased desire for sleep.

Experts also suggest that research has shown that our brain becomes more active during summers and lessens its activity during winters. This also has an effect on our sleep.

While the desire to sleep increases in winter and we want to stay on the couch all day, Sleep Education’s official website suggests that the body’s natural rhythm can be disturbed if we stay in bed longer than required. Staying in bed all day can misalign your circadian rhythms leading to sleep disorders.

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