Experiencing a spring in your step, jumping for joy, feel lethargic or feel like finding a cave to hibernate?
In the Southern Hemisphere Fall is approaching and Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Most people experience some sort of change in their mood and behaviour when the seasons turn. Change in the available environmental light over the seasons may have a profound effect on your body chemistry. Some individuals notice a decrease in energy levels and require more sleep as the light decreases. Other potential behavioural changes include isolation from family and friends.
Winter depression, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) usually suffer from depressive episodes beginning in late fall or early winter, and start to feel better when spring or summer approach. Harsh winters can affect your levels of melatonin, a hormone that impacts sleep. With daylight hours decreasing, melatonin levels increase, causing fatigue and depression for some. Extended darkness also disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm (24 Hour rhythm). Light provides environmental cues that influence pupil dilation, alertness, heart rate and melatonin levels. In fact, the light that enters the retina of the eye actually sets your circadian rhythm.
The reverse is also true when the weather turns warm and sunny, and your body starts receiving extended exposure to light. Some individuals experience insomnia, or become more anxious, irritable and hyperactive during the spring and summer.
Tips to help beat the blues:
Shakespeare said “Think not of the sky as spotted with clouds, but partly sunny… “