The sun is shining, the air feels warmer, and days are growing longer. Spring with all its wonders is suddenly upon us. There are those who feel charged with energy and inspiration. And then, there are those of us whose physical, mental and emotional being is left totally drained. For us, it is a time of heavy limbs and fits of yawning.
Springtime lethargy is a biological reaction to the changes in nature. People, like animals, change their metabolism and hormone levels to balance with things outside the body like light, temperature, humidity and air pressure. In winter, when it is cold and dark outside, the body protects itself by making our basic temperature a fraction of a degree lower. This slows down metabolism and sends the body into a kind of hibernation. From December through February the body produces more of the sleep hormone melatonin, making us want to sleep more than ever.
Then spring comes along, bringing more and stronger sunlight, and the body simply has to adjust. Our temperature rises, blood vessels dilate and our blood pressure drops. The increase in sunlight causes the body to release more of the activity hormone serotonin. The body can’t adjust overnight, though; it takes about two or three weeks, a period of time that can seem unbearably oppressive for some of us.
Other factors can contribute to springtime lethargy. We suffer more from virus infections and pollen allergies in the early spring and large day-night temperature swings put added strain on blood vessels and circulation. The condition is especially bad for women, elderly and weak people, and people with poor blood circulation or those who had very little exercise over the winter.
Some of the common symptoms of spring doldrums are; tiredness, dizziness, irritability, headaches, mild sensitivity to changes in the weather and melancholy feelings.
There are some simple things we can do to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms. We can use light to stimulate the production of the activity hormone serotonin. We can spend more time outdoors or get light therapy treatment with special lamps that use filtered light. Sauna baths, water therapy and contrast showers help our blood circulate better and help us adjust to up and down changes in temperature Exercise helps by activating the whole body. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables gives us more vitamins and minerals. Drinking a plenty of fluids also helps.
When springtime lethargy is really bad, it helps to just take a short break and get some fresh air. It also helps to apply cold water on the forearms or a damp cloth to the forehead. We need to give our bodies time to adjust, relax more and take it easy, and we should not take it too seriously because stress only make it worse.
People who like drinking may think a glass of their favorite alcohol will cheer them up, but actually, it will only make things worse. Energy drinks that give us a quick pick-up will, after a few hours, make us feel totally exhausted.
There are some really simple ways to shake off that dull feeling; bright colors, happy music and a good laugh can work like magic.
Basically, spring drowsiness is a lot like jet lag; the body is brought out of its accustomed rhythm and in time we will get over it.