The Unsuspecting Ways You’re Changing With the Seasons

The turn of the season means new needs. And since your body is constantly evolving, its safe to say its requirements change with it. New studies show the change in your body’s chemistry as the year moves through its phases. In fact, one fifth of all genes in your blood cells experience a seasonal change in expression. Being in touch with your body’s needs is one of the best ways to ensure you are keeping it healthy all year round.

You’ll think you need more sleep, but you don’t
Though the comfy cozy feelings of the colder months can leave us craving a few extra winks, you’ll be surprised to learn that we require no more sleep in the winter than we do in the summer. Turns out, a lot of this has to do with sunlight. The decrease in daylight hours and time spent outside have a significant impact on your circadian rhythm and make you want to sleep more! But don’t give into temptation. When it comes to oversleeping, the fact remains that throwing the covers over your head longer than the recommended 8 hours have a strong likeliness to leave you feeling in a slump, sluggish and not like your best self.  

You’ll need more anti-inflammatory foods
And this one comes down to DNA. According to one 2015 study by Nature Communications, the winter months stock your blood with pro-inflammatory immune responders that are likely to encourage your body to respond to stressors with inflammation. The trouble comes to those vulnerable to inflammatory diseases like hypertension, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Good nutrition is not a cure for inflammation, but it is certainly a big factor in helping to reduce it and lower the risk of developing it. Incorporating foods like fatty fish and leafy greens, as well as doing our best to keep an eye on those that inflame (see processed meats, refined grains and foods high in salt and trans fats) and remember ~everything in moderation~.

You might be more productive
Researchers from the University of North Carolina and Harvard Business School have managed to tie bad weather to workplace productivity. And though you might assume that a dreary day may have you avoiding work all together, studies show the opposite to be true! The rationale? According to experts, stormy days leave fewer alternatives to working, which can eliminate other mental distractions and help with focus.

Skin cracks more easily
As soon as the season changes, so does your skin. If you’re looking for the culprit, it’s filaggrin degradation. Filaggrin is a protein that plays a structural role in the skin’s epidermis, breaking down into amino acids that maintain hydration and protect against UVB photons. When the cold, dry winter air starts to blow, it can have a negative impact on your skin’s barrier, shrinking your filaggrin stores, leaving you with the dry, scaly texture you face year after year. Our advice to combat dry, cracking skin? Take dipping temps as a cue to dial up the hydration in your skincare regimen. This starts with internal hydration, but also includes a hardworking  face cream. This one is one of our favourites. 

Your immunity might need a boost
There is much research around immune depletion through the colder season. It has been widely speculated that this may be due to reduced vitamin D levels, as we get less exposure to sunlight through the winter months. And since our bodies require vitamin D to create the proteins responsible for killing bacteria and viruses (we’re looking at you, T-cells), a deficiency here may leave you more vulnerable to the common cold and flu. Supplementing with vitamin D, or a cold-fighting tablet like is a great way to arm your system with the nutrients it needs to stay strong this cold and flu season.

Sources

Denissen, J. J., Penke, L., Butalid, L., & Van Aken, M. A. (2008). The Effects of Weather on Daily Mood: A Multilevel Approach. Retrieved from https://www.psychologie.hu-berlin.de/de/prof/perdev/pdf/2008/Denissen_Weather_Mood_2008.pdf

Stockton, N. (2017, June 06). Your DNA Changes With the Seasons, Just Like the Weather. Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/2015/05/dna-changes-seasons-just-like-weather/

Stein, R. (2015, May 12). Seasons May Tweak Genes That Trigger Some Chronic Diseases. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/05/12/406139368/seasons-may-tweak-genes-that-trigger-some-chronic-diseases

Lam, B. (2015, February 27). In Winter You Work Harder Because There's Nothing Else to Do. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/02/winter-better-for-work-terrible-for-everything-else/386174/

Gino, J. J., & Staats, B. R. (2014). Rainmakers: Why Bad Weather Means Good Productivity. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/apl-a0035559.pdf. doi:10.1037/a0035559

Publishing, H. (2011, February). What to do about dry skin in winter. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/what-to-do-about-dry-skin-in-winter

Lam, B. (2015, February 27). In Winter You Work Harder Because There's Nothing Else to Do. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/02/winter-better-for-work-terrible-for-everything-else/386174/