Category Archives: fatigue

My Annual Winter Hibernation

I haven’t been blogging through the holidays, not because I have been so very busy, but that I am always one step from full blown hibernation through December until the middle of January. I don’t have SAD, seasonal affective disorder, which is associated with a low grade depression as less sun light is available. My issue is simply that I don’t want to do anything but sit in front of the fire reading, drinking many cups of tea, and sleeping a lot.

As a normally high energy person, I found this irritating during my clocking in years, since I couldn’t just go curl up whenever I wanted, but I was highly aware of my lower energy, and especially wanting to stay in bed or go to bed very early.  My theory is that this is a common evolutionary response that most people connect with the cold rather than the lack of sunlight, and it may be both, but it seems logical that our ancestors would have huddle together in their caves to preserve warmth and to preserve their energy stores aka fat levels.  They had worked very hard through the spring, summer, fall to put that energy on their bodies, and they knew that they would have to last out several months of very little food; obviously this would not be the case in warm regions, but true for those ancestors in the higher and lower regions of the globe.

A couple days ago I felt the lift of the lifting of the sun, and am now ready to get back to my normal activities.

I am happy to be reading that the no-sugar and low-sugar way of eating is getting more publicity with every day, which it great news. The doubters, along with those who benefit by our population being addicted to the sugars-starches-artificial sweeteners are not going to just step aside because the truth is getting some press. We still have to work at educating ourselves and those we care about if we want to have healthy lives unencumbered by the diseases of obesity.

Caffeine Can Be Counterproductive

Too many people use caffeine as a substitute for lack of sleep. Then soon the addictive nature of caffeine’s use takes over. Also, some people are far more sensitive and susceptible to its effects. My spouse is one such; it’s been a standing joke in our family about having to de-caffeinate him a couple times a year. He works all hours, pushes himself to do too much all too often, which can of course create challenges with sleep and tiredness.I’ve been there, too!

The typical pattern is this: he gets off caffeine, his short temper disappears, he sleeps better, feels much less stressed, ceases to crave junk, etc. Then: some months pass… Grouchy is waking up, Cranky is commenting, and I have the ah-ha moment–he is drinking caffeinated coffee again.

The problem is insidious in our culture, in part because coffee is on offer everywhere, so the I’ll-just-have-one-cup rationalization-aka-denial sets in. Finally, the self-perpetuating behavior resumes. My husband knows he always feels better off the caffeine, but our culture promotes its use in a dozen ways. And, humans are past masters of rationalization! So, my take is, if you can’t have just one cup and stop there, it’s better to leave it alone.

For those of us with sugaraholic tendencies, caffeine, even in plain black coffee, is known to raise blood glucose and insulin, so acts as a trigger for cravings. Tea seems to have much less of an effect, and generally is far better for you. Also, even decaffeinated coffee varies a lot, anything from 3mg to over a 100mgs per cup; so, even decaf can have enough caffeine to create problems especially for sleep. E.g., Starbucks and McDonald’s decaf coffee has among the highest caffeine in their decaf coffee, so it pays to do some research; here’s a place to start:

If we are tired, we crave carbohydrates; that’s the brain’s message to our prehistorically evolved brain on how to quickly get energy. In raw nature, this was a good thing, but in our time it means ready access to more sugar in one meal than a cave-person had in a whole month of summer feasting. The self-perpetuating nature of the sugars, caffeine, alcohol, drugs is simple, but the good news is we can break those habits, and eventually be free of the craving monster.

Yours in freedom from addictive behaviors,

Nan aka Sugarbaby