Why We Get Spring Fever
It’s the season of ducklings, flowering trees and open-toed sandals, and
some people are struck with a mysterious malady: spring fever. There’s now scientific proof that your heart doesn’t just get happy about the little things-it’s also more ready for love–for a variety of reasons.
Purported symptoms of spring fever include daydreaming, falling in love and having the
irrepressible urge to stay outside all day. There is no cure, though some
treat the disease by canceling appointments and lying in the grass
beneath the drifting clouds.
Elvis caught it. So did the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Mark Twain’s character Huckleberry
Finn. “It’s spring fever,” Huck exclaims in “Tom Sawyer, Detective.” “And when you’ve got it, you
want–oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache,
you want it so!”
It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want –
oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart
ache, you want it so!” ~Mark Twain
1 Its Hormonal
Hormone balances may play a role, so, if you suffer from spring fever, take advantage of the
situation while you can. There is a theory that serotonin depends on daylight for its manufacture.
This is the happiness hormone (endorphin), it overcomes the effects of the sleep hormone –
melatonin, and gives us a natural mood adjustment. Therefore as the days become longer, this
endorphin takes better effect.
2. Sunnier Weather
Frisky feelings could also result from getting more sunlight. When the weather gets warmer
and we see more sunlight, the melatonin in our body decreases, which studies show leads to
an increase in energy and vitality. Sociologist Dr. Julie Albright says, “That brings about mood
changes that make it easier to find a relationship
3. You feel sexier
As the weather gets warmer, we shed layers of clothes, we work out more, we’re more conscious of our
bodies . The combination of our waning appetite and our waxing wakefulness often leads to
springtime weight loss, albeit relatively minor. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts
who monitored the eating and exercise habits of six hundred people over a one-year period
determined that the majority of the participants gained two pounds in the winter, both because
they ate more carbohydrates and because they worked out less during that time. But as soon
as spring began, the researchers found, the subjects’ caloric intake declined and their activity
levels spiked. Maybe that explains why so many women love showing some skin come May or
June: they’re not just enjoying the warmer temperatures, they’re also revealing slimmer figures.
4. Out and About
Winter imprisons us in its frigid arms. Once we stay out more in the warmth,
there’s a better chance of meeting someone. Getting out of winter’s captivity also
makes you more festive because you’re free for the first time in a while. It might
make you more willing to take risks.
5. Increased Energy
Longer days increase our exposure to sunlight,which in turn reduces the amount of melatonin
secreted by the pineal gland (a tiny, pea-sized gland located at the base of the cerebrum in
the human brain). “There’s more daylight, so people have more energy,” confirms Dr. Sanford
Auerbach, director of Boston University’s Sleep Disorders Center. You’re more willing to go to
post-work happy hours, plan weekday dates and spend time socializing later into the evening
than you normally would.
Put a Little Spring in Your Step
To reap the benefits of this often magical time of year without falling prey to its harmful consequences,
listen to your body. Give it the vitamin D it’s craving—just thirty minutes of sun exposure per day
between April and October, preferably at midday or in the early afternoon, is sufficient to sustain
adequate levels—and treat yourself to outdoor exercise whenever you can. Most of all, put your wool
sweaters and heavy coats in storage, give your house a thorough spring cleaning, resume your trips to the
farmers’ market, and help me celebrate the end of the winter blues. I’ll see you in the park.