Optimising your body clock this Winter

Written by: Harry Booth



Time to read 1 min

As the days get cooler and shorter, it’s important to know that this seasonal shift can mess with your body's internal clock in some pretty weird ways. 

How winter impacts your body clock

Humans have this built-in circadian rhythm that controls our sleep-wake cycle, hormone levels, and a bunch of other bodily functions. This internal clock is designed to sync up with the natural cycle of day and night using cues from sunlight exposure.

But in winter, with the shorter days and cooler temperatures, many of us spend more time indoors—and less time exposed to sunlight. 

Artificial lights don't provide the same bright light signals to keep that clock on track. Without enough sunlight, our circadian rhythms can get knocked out of whack, leaving us feeling sluggish, having trouble sleeping, or just generally out of sorts. 

Side effects of circadian disruption

A misaligned rhythm can also weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to cold and flu. 

This disruption may even play a role in that classic winter mood drain known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). While the jury's still out on exactly what causes SAD, researchers think shifting circadian rhythms that throw off things like our melatonin and serotonin levels could be contributing factors. 

"Artificial lights don't provide the same bright light signals to keep that clock on track."

Some helpful tips for the colder months

  • Get outside as much as possible, even on cloudy days. The natural light will help realign your internal clock.
  • If you work inside, position your desk less than 3 meters (6 feet) from the nearest uncovered window.
  • If you don’t have a window nearby, consider investing in a Loop. It mimics the effects of sunlight, so it's as good as working next to a window.
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule to reinforce your body's natural rhythms. Take care of yourself through exercise, healthy eating, and work-life balance. An aligned lifestyle helps support an aligned body clock.

You don’t have to white-knuckle it through — just being aware of how the seasonal changes impact your relationship with light can go a long way!