For years, I believed the whole idea of spring fever to be somewhat of a myth. I never noticed having more energy or feeling better merely due to increased exposure to sunlight. And then I got older.
As it turns out, there is a somewhat questionable science behind it. Besides the obvious increase in daylight and warmer temperatures which naturally send us outdoors (as opposed to being cooped up next to a fireplace), are a couple of other powers at work.
The retina, also known as that thing in your eye attached to the brain via the optic nerve, acknowledges the increased amount of daylight. In turn, it is believed to cause natural hormonal alterations in our bodies, the most important being your system’s natural production of melatonin. Because of the increased sunlight, your body produces less of the sleepy stuff, which typically improves mood, boosts energy, and decreases appetite.
At the same time, your body is producing more serotonin, known for its role in mood improvement. Some studies suggest that the serotonin factor is even more important for those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or more commonly known as “winter depression.” On a side note, it is also likely to be the culprit if you are distracted at work, because you’d rather be outside.
Then again, maybe there is a more simplified explanation that revolves around getting more exercise, as opposed to being planted in a chair under a blanket. Or maybe it is purely psychological … early morning sun, flowers blooming, green grass, etc. The Vitamin D obtained from the sun probably doesn't hurt either.
Regardless of the reason, spring will be a welcome change from the dreary, rainy, mild winter we had. So, on those days that offer the ideal clear skies and 70 degree temps, go enjoy it. We’ll probably be back down to 30 degrees next week. And 90 degrees the week after that.
I tweet insignificant things @ozborn34.
Derek Osborn is the Executive Director of PRIDE of Tuscaloosa by trade and writer by hobby. He lives in Tuscaloosa with his wife Lynn, and daughters Savannah and Anica.