Season Affects Moods
It’s strange how the weather and season can affect our mood and behavior. Our moods can be effected from the decrease in energy we experience when there is less day light. This can make us need more sleep to make up for it. The behavior change can be something as small as increasing our food and caffeine intake to something big like decreasing our social life. There are some people who feel the need to isolate from interaction with their family and friends.
Most of the negative effects of changing seasons happen during the winter. Winter depression is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. This can be described as having depressive episodes that start in the early winter and begin to end when spring starts. Melatonin is the big culprit here. Melatonin is the hormone that our body naturally produces to control our sleep-wake cycles. When winter comes, daylight hours decrease, this causes an increase in our melatonin levels which can cause us to be tired and depressed.
Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder is the response of a warm and sunny season. This happens because of extended exposure to light. This can cause insomnia because there isn’t enough melatonin, our body doesn’t have a chance to build up our sleep hormone with the light. Light is a cue to stay awake, so when we are in extended time of brightness, we are told to stay awake and alert. Other symptoms of Reverse SAD can be irritability, hyperactivity, and anxiety.
Light therapy is the use of artificial lights to imitate daylight. This can be used to trigger an increase of serotonin and dopamine levels. Exercising for just 30 minutes a day can balance our brain chemistry and increase our energy levels. Eating omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to receive depressive symptoms. A lot of us use our computers and phones at night before bed. The light that shines off of them can disrupt our ability to fall asleep. There are applications that can filter the light to decrease the effects, like F.lux for Mac.
Experiencing seasonal effects is not fun for anyone. You can try any of these treatments to help decrease your symptoms or seek help from your doctor. A healthy lifestyle is the best way for a happy life to enjoy every season.