Spring Fever

Ahhh… the weather is warming up and the days are getting longer, the first buds are popping in the garden and songbirds have returned to greet the morning.  However, with the vernal equinox may come spring fever.

Spring fever is what we call the physical and psychological symptoms that come with the arrival of spring. Mostly it refers to a boost in energy, vitality and even sexual appetite, which may be particularly strong in those suffering from seasonal affective disorder. Those with SAD may also experience lows during the wintertime.

Spring fever may also refer to an unexpected loss of energy with the onset of spring.

Symptoms disappear no later than the end of April. By the time May arrives, your body’s balance has been reestablished.

The symptoms are a signal that your body is adjusting to the new conditions, particularly more ultraviolet (UV) rays and warmer temperatures. Seniors may have the greatest issues with adapting to the changes, with more women are affected than men.

The increased sunlight during spring may your body's natural hormonal balance between  serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin production increases with the increase in UV rays. Serotonin is sometimes known as the 'happiness hormone.' With the arrival of spring, it can take some time for serotonin balance out with melatonin, which causes drowsiness. The body produces more melatonin in the darker months of winter. The body’s struggle to balance serotonin and melatonin can be exhausting.

Scientists have discovered some factors that can cause fatigue. The air temperature in springtime fluctuates and can cause small variations in blood pressure that can affect mood. Also, blood vessels adjust to the warmer season by expanding. Blood pressure drops and fatigue can set in.

There may also be a little extra fat that was stored in your body during the winter months. With shorter days and longer nights there was likely less activity in a more sedentary time.  Now that the sun is out again, you can burn off those winter pounds with additional exercise. Keep in mind that while it is being burned, there may be hormone changes that can affect mood. Even the extra daylight has been shown to alter the hormones in the body.

The time change in March makes springtime even more difficult for many people. Changing the body’s rhythm for that hour can knock them off their game for days or weeks.

Approximately 1.6 billion people worldwide, or about a quarter of the human population, move their clocks forward one hour in the spring in observance of daylight saving time (DST).  When this happens, their bodies' daily, internal rhythms don't adjust with the clock. This regularly scheduled time change produces a significant seasonal disruption, raising the possibility that DST may have many unintended effects on various aspects of human physiology. As in other animals, the human circadian clock utilizes daylight to stay in sync with its environment as the seasons change.  A circadian rhythm is an internally produced, approximately 24-hour cycle of biochemical, physiological, or behavioral processes. Circadian rhythms have been seen in plants, animals, fungi and even bacteria. The name "circadian" comes from the Latin “circa”, meaning "around", and “diem” or “dies”, meaning "day".

Our circadian rhythms are so precise that our human behavior adjusts to the east-west progression of dawn within a given time zone. When our ancestors did was wake up, it was at dawn, whenever dawn happened to be.

From a biological standpoint, it really doesn't make any sense to have daylight-saving time.  Our bodies aren't just going to go along with an arbitrary time change. They’re confused, bewildered, and not ready to arise by the clock alone. Spring always takes some time to adjust ourselves in many ways.

Spring fever time, time for renewal of our normal rhthyms.

Whether you are energetic or fatigued, it’s best to go enjoy the great outdoors and and allow your body to correct its hormone balances.

There is no problem with that. After all, experts say, by May at the latest everyone has overcome the seasonal lethargy.

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