Ah, it’s springtime. Birds are chirping, flowers are in bloom, couples are in love, and your life appears to be going wonderfully. But what caused this sudden boost in positivity?
Remember that just one month ago, the weather was rainy and cloudy and you felt fatigued and depressed. And now you feel renewed, but from what, you’re not quite sure. Well, serotonin and melatonin hormones can explain your startling flux.
Surprisingly, other various social factors, such as an increase in suicide and a decrease in birthrates, occur during spring, and are also related to hormonal changes.
In pagan tradition, the increase of daylight during spring equinox marks biological changes or simply put, hormones gone haywire, in human beings. The following is a list of changes related to those raging hormones you experience during spring. Be aware that some facts may be surprising.
–Low levels of melatonin can cause our moods to change.
Blame your spring flings on daylight changes. The extended length of daylight during spring interrupts our sleep cycles, which are controlled by our melatonin hormone. This hormone, a pineal gland that controls our desire to sleep, decreases during spring.
As college students, our sleep is a precious commodity, so melatonin, to us, becomes a much-needed friend, and serotonin, a hormone that also controls our mood and sleep, is increased.
The sudden surge of serotonin in your body is a reaction to longer hours of daylight. This hormonal increase can make you feel alert and active. Your hormonal flux in spring is influenced by low levels of melatonin, which cause you to feel lethargic or sleepy during your first class.
The next time a professor tells you to wake up during class, blame your loud snoring on your shifting levels of hormones. And, if your girlfriend or boyfriend asks you to explain that grin on your face, blame your wide smile on seasonal changes.
–Birth rates decrease during springtime.
Does this mean that people have sex less frequently? Well, if we exclude the week of spring break, according to neoteny.org, people do not have less sex during spring. Instead, people engage in sex more during winter. More babies are conceived during winter and born during the summer. So, spring break vacationers, beware that sexual behavior is not entirely influenced by hormones, but by extreme weather conditions, like hot or cold temperatures.
–If you have SAD, treat it with light therapy.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression activated by a decrease in daylight hours, specifically during winter, can be treated with a little fun in the sun during spring break. People with SAD usually have low energy and concentration levels, develop changes in mood, sleep, and eating habits, and socialize less. Strangely, these symptoms are reminiscent to the rollercoaster of emotions I experienced during my teenage years.
Still, SAD can be treated by spending more time outside in a park during daylight hours or also through light therapy, in which a special light box is placed on a desk that the person sits in front of for an allotted amount of time. During spring, some people with SAD are relieved of their symptoms because daylight is lengthened.
So, call your friends, get of your house and go to the beach. It’s only a 30-minute drive from CSUN.
Springtime brings with it some highs and lows. If some of this information lowered your optimism for the upcoming week, just keep repeating “spring break” to yourself over and over again. Watch out for those raging hormones, spring starts March 20th.