The sun is out – I repeat. The Sun Is Out. This alone is worth of entire blog post as it’s so rare here in the UK at the moment (and it’s best I stop that little bit of ranting now). However, some of you might not be happy about this news. In fact, you might be downright grumpy – and the reason is (drumroll), you’re not wearing sunglasses.
According to a study carried out in Italy recently, people walking into the sun without anything to shade their eyes reported higher levels of grumpiness, anger and aggression. Why does this occur you ask? Well, theoretically, say the researchers because squinting makes you frown – and frowning lowers your mood. The same theory is said to be why some people who get botox find their depression lifting – because they can’t frown any more they actually start to feel happier.
So, if you’re not feeling happy about today’s bit of UV-related beaming, I suggest you nip off to your local glasses emporium and pick up something shady a bit sharpish and see if your mood improves.
If not though, you might have a case of Summer SAD.
You’ve heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder – a drop in mood that occurs in winter as days get shorter and darker, but a growing number of people are reporting cases of Reverse – or Summer – SAD – where the bright days of summer trigger negative symptoms. These vary between individuals and include a mix of the list below – the key point though is that they arrive as days get lighter or warmer and disappear in winter
Loss of interest in everyday activities
Discomfort in heat
The condition affects about 5-10% of SAD sufferers experience symptoms in Summer.
The cause is unknown, but a common theory is that rising temperatures somehow interfere with the hypothalamus of the brain which controls many mood hormones. Doctors have discovered that Summer SAD sufferers have different body temperatures than the rest of us.
It may also be linked to thyroid function – and anyone who thinks they suffer should get theirs checked.
There’s no current treatment for summer SAD, instead it’s more a case of controlling the effects. Incorporate shade, fans and cool colours in your home and minimise the amount of time you have to spend in direct heat or sun. Keeping hydrated is also important – you’ll feel hotter the less fluid you consume.