The turn of the season means new needs. And since your body is constantly evolving, it’s 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.1 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 has a strong likeliness to leave you feeling in a slump, sluggish and not like your best self. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation guidelines advise that healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Babies, young children, and teens need even more sleep to enable their growth and development. People over 65 should also get 7 to 8 hours per night.2
You’ll need more anti-inflammatory foods
And this one comes down to DNA. According to research 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.1 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. Try to incorporate foods like fatty fish and leafy greens, as well as keeping 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 School3 have managed to tie bad weather to workplace productivity. And though you might assume that a dreary day may have you avoiding work altogether, 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.4
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.5Filaggrin 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.
You pack on a few extra pounds
Mammals, including humans, begin to store fat in the winter months. In late summer and early fall, cells become resistant to insulin and there is an overall increase in blood sugar. This causes the liver to increase fat production for heat and energy in the winter months.6 From an evolutionary perspective, this worked thousands of years ago when humans were living in caves without central heating and fireplaces. But in this day and age, this seasonal change is leading to more diagnoses of diabetes in the winter than in other seasons! How to bypass this evolutionary mechanism? Keep exercise top of mind during the fall and winter to keep blood sugar levels balanced!
Your mood takes a little dip
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is low mood due to changes in seasons. A dip in mood usually occurs in the late fall and continues through the winter months. There are many causes of SAD, like decreased sunlight disrupting the circadian rhythm, drop in feel-good serotonin and melatonin.6 Low levels of vitamin D, living farther away from the equator and family history can also be risk factors contributing to SAD.7 An easy and effective way for healthy mood balance is with Jamieson's 5-HTP. As always, it’s important to see a doctor if the low mood continues!
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),8 a deficiency here may leave you more vulnerable to the common cold and flu. Supplementing with vitamin D, or a cold-fighting tablet like Jamieson’s Cold Fighter is a great way to arm your system with the nutrients it needs to stay strong this cold and flu season.
- Dopico, X., Evangelou, M., Ferreira, R. et al.Widespread seasonal gene expression reveals annual differences in human immunity and physiology. Nat Commun6, 7000 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms8000
- Hirshkowitz, M., et al (2015). National Sleep Foundation's sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. Sleep health, 1(1), 40–43.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2014.12.010
- Blue Skies, distractions arise: How weather affects productivity. HBS Working Knowledge. (2012, September 17). Retrieved July 14, 2022, from https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/blue-skies-distractions-arise-how-weather-affects-productivity
- Lee JJ, Gino F, Staats BR. Rainmakers: why bad weather means good productivity. J Appl Psychol. 2014 May;99(3):504-13. doi: 10.1037/a0035559. Epub 2014 Jan 13. Erratum in: J Appl Psychol. 2014 May;99(3):513. PMID: 24417552.https://doi.org/10.1111/bjd.16150
- Engebretsen, K. A., Kezic, S., Riethmüller, C., Franz, J., Jakasa, I., Hedengran, A., Linneberg, A., Johansen, J. D., & Thyssen, J. P. (2018). Changes in filaggrin degradation products and corneocyte surface texture by season. British Journal of Dermatology, 178(5), 1143–1150. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjd.16150
- Tenderich, A. (2018, June 2). Cold Weather & Diabetes: How winter affects diabetics. Healthline. Retrieved July 14, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/diabetesmine/diabetes-and-the-ice-age#1
- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, December 14). Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved July 14, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651
- Aranow C. Vitamin D and the immune system. J Investig Med. 2011 Aug;59(6):881-6. doi: 10.2310/JIM.0b013e31821b8755. PMID: 21527855; PMCID: PMC3166406.