Why Does Cold Weather Make You Tired?

Ever noticed how you seem to feel more tired during colder weather? It’s not just you. Actually, there are several reasons why cold weather makes you tired.

So exactly how does cold weather make you sleepy?

Cold weather makes you tired by causing your body to use more energy and by lowering sleep quality. Cold weather most frequently occurs in winter months when less sunlight, lower vitamin D and less activity also contribute to feeling more tired than in summer months.

Let’s look at these in depth:

why does cold weather make you tired
why does cold weather make you tired?

Being outside in cold weather burns more energy

Being outside in cold weather requires more energy than being inside or outside when the weather is warm. Your body has to work harder to maintain its temperature, and this means burning more calories than normal. One of the ways your body does this is by shivering, which uses up a lot of energy. Even if you don’t physically shake from cold, your body still has to work harder to keep its core temperature regulated. 

Being cold at night affects our sleep

Colder temperatures can also affect your sleep schedule. Studies show that people tend to get less restful sleep in colder temperatures because their bodies are trying so hard to stay warm throughout the night. This means that even if you’re getting enough hours of sleep each night, those hours may not be as restful as they could be — leaving you with a persistent feeling of fatigue during the day. 

Winter cold weather and tiredness

Cold weather is usual in the winter, and it is accompanied by shorter days, longer nights, less sunlight, and more rain.

Circadian rhythm disruption 

When the days get shorter, it means our circadian rhythm—the internal body clock that helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle —gets thrown off balance. We’re used to getting up when it’s light outside, and getting ready for bed when it starts to get dark. As winter approaches and daylight hours decrease, our body clocks can become confused as to what time of day it is. Our sleep hormone melatonin production can be delayed, resulting in difficulty falling asleep or feeling more tired than usual during the day. This can lead us to feel sleepy more than usual during wintertime. 

Read also: Can the weather make you tired?

Vitamin D deficiency 

In the summertime, sunlight is abundant and we have plenty of opportunities to soak up some vitamin D (which helps with calcium absorption). In the winter months however, less sun means we don’t get enough vitamin D—and lack of vitamin D has been linked to feelings of fatigue. So if your energy levels are dropping during the colder months, it may be worth considering adding vitamin-rich foods into your diet such as salmon, eggs and fortified dairy products. 

See also: Why does gloomy weather make me tired?

Lower activity levels 

With shorter days comes less time for outdoor activities such as walking or running. This can mean lower activity levels overall which in turn can lead us to feeling more sluggish than normal. If you find yourself struggling with energy levels this winter season, try breaking up your day by taking regular breaks outdoors (even if just for a few minutes) or doing an indoor exercise routine like yoga or Pilates! 

Read also: Why does lack of exercise make you tired?

How to beat cold weather tiredness

As winter approaches, many of us start to feel the effects of cold weather tiredness. This feeling can be caused by a number of factors, including lack of sunlight, decreased exercise levels and a drop in temperature that pulls energy away from our body. Fortunately, there are several ways you can help beat cold weather tiredness and get back to feeling energized and productive.


Start with getting more light exposure. One of the main causes of cold weather fatigue is lack of sunlight during the shorter days. It is important to get as much natural light as possible during the day by opening blinds and curtains or going outside for brief periods. When indoors, try using lamps or LED bulbs that mimic daylight and help reduce fatigue.

Vitamin D supplements

It is also important to make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and muscles, but it can be difficult to get enough of it during winter when sunlight is low. Consider adding a vitamin D supplement into your daily routine—just make sure to consult with your doctor first before taking any new supplements.


Exercising regularly is another excellent way to boost energy levels during colder months. Low-intensity activities such as going for walks or doing yoga are especially beneficial for those affected by winter fatigue due to their calming nature and ability to increase blood flow around your body. If possible, it’s a good idea to get out in nature when exercising during winter; not only does this provide an extra source of Vitamin D but also gives you access to fresh air which can help clear your mind and restore mental energy levels.

Read also: Why does walking in the cold make you tired?

Get enough sleep

It’s also important to ensure you’re getting enough sleep at night in order to counteract winter fatigue symptoms. Quality sleep helps reset your energy levels so aim for 8 hours per night if possible – although this may vary depending on individual needs – and make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet and comfortable enough for optimal restfulness. Avoid screens before bedtime too; instead opt for reading a book or taking part in relaxing activities that will help you drift off into a deep slumber without any distractions.

Wrap up warm

It’s also essential to wrap up warmly when going out in cold weather. Not only will dressing appropriately help you stay comfortable, but it will also help prevent your body from becoming too chilly and expending too much energy keeping itself warm. Consider layering your clothing; wear a base layer made from natural fabrics such as cotton or silk, followed by some woolen or insulating layers, then finish up with a coat or jacket for extra protection against the elements. Also, make sure that your feet and hands are kept warm as these extremities tend to lose heat quickly in cold temperatures.

Improve your sleeping environment

To get a good night’s sleep it is important to ensure your body temperature at night remains stable. This can be achieved by making sure your bedroom is not too hot or cold and that you have the right type of bedding such as an adjustable mattress topper, a breathable duvet, or even some extra layers of clothing. If necessary, adjusting the temperature in your home may also help; opt for slightly higher temperatures during winter since this will help keep you warm and relaxed while sleeping.

If you don’t want to turn up the thermostat, try investing in an electric heated mattress pad or blanket to help keep you warm as your body temperature drops at night. A thicker, higher tog, comforter or duvet will also help you to fall asleep during the winter weather.

Stay hydrated

One of the key factors in preventing cold weather fatigue is staying hydrated. Our bodies need a minimum amount of water each day, but during cold weather it’s important to keep that intake up as dehydration can cause us to become easily exhausted. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day – set reminders if you need to!

Eat well

Finally, eating nourishing foods throughout the day will help keep your energy levels sustained until evening time when it’s time for bed again. Focus on consuming complex carbohydrates such as oats, quinoa or sweet potatoes which contain slow releasing sugars that steadily replenish energy stores over longer periods compared to simple carbohydrates like sugar or white bread which cause quick spikes followed by crashes in blood sugar levels leading to further sluggishness or lethargy later on in the day. Additionally adding lean proteins such as fish, eggs or tofu into meals provides long lasting energy through essential amino acids whilst incorporating healthy fats such as nuts, seeds or avocados helps reduce inflammation that can cause further exhaustion too!

Overall cold weather tiredness can be easily managed with some simple lifestyle changes; so make sure you take advantage of natural daylight whilst exercising regularly both indoors & outdoors combined with plenty of quality sleep each night plus nourishing meals throughout the day – all these steps combined should ensure sufficient energy reserves no matter what time of year it is!

Conclusion: Why does cold weather make you tired?

The combination of using more energy to keep your body warm, shorter days and lower activity levels, lack of vitamin D and disruption to our circadian rhythm can all contribute to feeling more tired in the colder months. So next time you start to feel a little sluggish during wintertime, remember that it’s perfectly natural — just make sure you get plenty of rest and add some vitamin-rich foods into your diet to help keep your energy levels up!

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