This weekend, in the passage from Saturday to Sunday, at 3 o’clock in the morning it will be 2 o’clock . This has a good side (one more hour to sleep) and another not so good: we enter fully into the winter schedule.
This change of time began to be made in the 70s in an attempt to save energy and that remains in theory the reason why it remains, although it is more a symbolic measure than effective , something that has been used as an argument to stop changing the time and keep us always in the schedule we call summer.
No matter what happens in the future, we are on the verge of a new schedule change, so it is time for you to learn how the winter schedule influences your health .
1. Lack of light affects bones, skin and heart
Although the situation is not comparable to that of countries located further north, during these months hours of sunlight are significantly reduced, and that takes its toll on our body . In addition, we tend to spend more hours indoors, which increases that impact.
On the one hand, the lack of light taken to the extreme can cause vitamin D deficiency , necessary to maintain healthy bones , skin and muscles . In severe cases it can cause rickets, serious injuries to the bones and teeth, and trigger the cutaneous form of tuberculosis.
It has also been shown that the lack of natural light means an increase in the risk of suffering heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases . This is possibly due to the fact that sunlight increases the levels of nitric acid that pass from the skin to the blood, where it acts as a vasodilator, thus reducing blood pressure .
These effects are more common in places where, in winter, sunlight is weak and scarce, but it is worth insuring that even in the darkest months you get at least a little sunlight directly during the day .
2. Being indoors affects the immune system
As we say, it is healthy to spend enough time outdoors even in winter, although the weather conditions accompany less and there are fewer hours of light. Wrap up well and find time to take a walk.
This will not only benefit your skin, your bones or your heart. It is also good for the immune system . In winter, with the cold and the few hours of light, we tend to spend more time indoors, also in our moments of leisure and our defenses suffer .
This means that contagious diseases are transmitted much more easily from one to another : flu, colds , throat infections, stomach viruses … Pathogens take advantage of cinemas, shopping centers, bars and restaurants, museums or any other environment in which we meet to move from one guest to another as a tourist.
In addition, this is also an opportunity for allergies , since we spend less time exposed to pollen but more to dust mites as well as the epithelium of our pets.
3. Darkness and mental health
But perhaps the most common effect is that which refers to our state of mind and our mental health: when there are fewer hours of light, our spirits suffer , we are more tired and apathetic, we eat more, we sleep more and in general we feel more depressed .
It is caused by the so-called emotional affective disorder , a mild type of depression related to the scarcity of light. According to one study , the cause could be that the lack of light causes the death of neurons that generate norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, hormones related to emotional, cognitive and pleasure processes.
That is why at this time it is common to feel more sad, tired and apathetic , although again the symptoms are usually more severe in countries where the scarcity of light is accentuated in winter to spend days and weeks almost in darkness.
These effects do not usually last for a long time, and in the worst case they disappear when the days start to lengthen again and there is light again. In any case, remember the same advice: look for times, even if they are short, to expose yourself directly to sunlight also during the winter.
4. Winter makes it hard to keep fit
We tend to think that summer is the time when we care less, but if we are not constant and we have willpower, winter can also be a time of food excess and little exercise .
On the one hand, because with the cold and the rains, they want more stews and spoon dishes . All the traditional gastronomy unfolds its charms before us, that many times we have to finish the Sunday lunch by unbuttoning the button of the pants. Try in those cases not to fall into disgrace , and try to be proactive: better homemade dishes than precooked , and alternate a heavier meal with a lighter one, always trying to maintain lightness at dinners.
As for going out to train, look for some strategy that will help you not to leave, either to train indoors, choose the daylight hours with more light or train in groups or with entertaining challenges that help you motivate you. May the cold not leave you lethargic .