How Spring Boosts Your Mood
For most of us, the transition from winter to spring is more than welcome; longer days, warmer temperatures, bird song and brightness are all mood boosters in their own right. But it’s not just a superficial effect on our mental health, springtime has a physiological impact on us too.
An increase in sunlight also means an increase in serotonin levels in the body. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that’s produced in abundance in the gut but is also found in the central nervous system as well as other systems throughout the body.
More serotonin means better mood and greater feelings of wellbeing and contentment – which might explain why everyone instantly feels happier when daffodils appear – but it also means better sleep too. That’s because serotonin is a precursor to melatonin, the sleep hormone, which signals to your body that it’s time to sleep and helps encourage deep, restorative sleep. When serotonin is released, the pineal gland uses it to synthesize melatonin. So, the greater our levels of serotonin, the greater our levels of melatonin too. And when we regularly get a good night's sleep, the impact on how we feel and the rest of the day is tangible.
To really make the most of the extra hours of sunlight, get out into it as early as possible and for as long as you can. Not only do those with longer exposure to daylight report less depressive symptoms, getting outside swiftly upon waking will encourage your sleep-wake cycle to stay on track and promote feelings of happiness and contentment all day long.