How to Keep Focused During the Dark Days of Winter

How to Deal When the Lack of Light Makes You Tired

Photo by Thomas Lipke on Unsplash

As the winter solstice approaches, those of us in the Northern hemisphere grapple with the lack of light. This can pose a big problem for remote workers who are dealing with both the lack of light and winter isolation. If the short days are making it hard to focus, try the tips below.

Buy a Wakeup Light

I don’t use one of these, but I have friends that swear by them. Basically you pick your wake up time, and the clock fakes a sunrise in your room. I want one of these, but I have yet to figure out how to keep the sunrise from waking my night owl spouse. Until then, I’ll stick with my work around below.

Use the Blue Screen to Your Advantage

This tip has no science to back it up—it’s just what I do. We’ve all heard that the blue light from our devices can mess with our circadian rhythms and keep us up at night. Well, I decided that maybe I could use this to disrupt my morning sleep instead. I start each day reading books on my iPhone to help me wake up in the morning. Does the blue light helps me wake up, or is it just the reading that does it? Who knows? At least I get some reading in before the day starts.

Consider Full Spectrum Lightbulbs

You may be noticing a pattern here. There are many ways to combat the sluggishness that comes from short daylight hours, and many of them involve adding more light into your life. Do your research, as not all lights are created equal. According to Dr Marlyn Wei, you want a light box that has an output of 10,000lux, which is more than you can get from adding a full spectrum lightbulb to your regular lamp. The weaker the light the longer you have to use it to see any improvements.

Play Energetic Music

Sometimes you can combat sluggishness by getting your blood pumping. Turn on some fast tunes and don’t be afraid to sing along. Working remotely means never having to apologize for singing out of tune. Air guitars are optional but highly encouraged.

Remember that the Light Comes Back

The good news is that we’re almost at the shortest day of the year. After next week the light will begin to return. Hopefully one of these tips can help you until it does.

Author: Teresa

I am an analyst for Kaplan and a business writer. When I'm not analyzing numbers or trying to find the perfect phrase, I manage my obsessions for chai tea, knitting, and running in the woods.

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