Health & Wellness

Total Wash Out

Why the dog days of summer zap your energy and what you can do.
Woman drinking water in summer sunlight

Is it just us or do you feel especially drained during the summer months? In Japanese, there’s actually a word for this phenomenon: natsubate, which translates to “summer fatigue.” It’s less than ideal timing, of course; with sunlight hours being at their longest, now is the perfect time of year to be seizing the day and knocking out those to-do lists. Here, we dive into what’s behind this warm-weather trend and how to offset it.

  • The sun. According to the National Sleep Foundation, when exposed to direct heat from the sun, your body works overtime to regulate its internal temperature. Also, as UV rays hit your skin, they kick-start a number of chemical reactions—evidence of which includes sunburns, skin discoloration, and wrinkles—and these extra processes can deplete your body’s energy levels. Try to avoid or limit outdoor activities between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is at its strongest, and seek shade when spending extended periods of time outside.
  • Sweat. When the Lowcountry’s balmy summer sets in, it doesn’t take a hot yoga class or long jog to break out in a sweat—simply running errands can leave you glistening. If fluids lost aren’t replenished by ample water, dehydration can set in, causing fatigue, among other symptoms like thirst, dry mouth, and headache. Keep a water bottle handy while you’re on the go, and use bathroom breaks as a gauge for how well you’re staying hydrated (light yellow urine is a sign of proper hydration while bright or dark yellow warn of dehydration).
  • Lack of routine. The kids are out of school and summer vacations are in full swing, shaking up schedules for the whole family. But to ward off daytime exhaustion, it’s key to stick to your standard sleep schedule, says the CDC. If you hit the sheets later than usual, resist the urge to hit snooze the next morning; instead, try to work in a 20-minute nap later in the day.

By Molly Ramsey

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