Winter blues: The causes

The causes of winter blues are numerous and are related to various factors including the biological clock, the hormonal secretion ...

The biological clock

All living things are regulated by an internal biological clock and dependent on the species. In humans, its effects are spectacular, which is why time-saving measures are taken twice a year (in March and in October). It is also this internal clock that is hurting travelers who travel long distances, and which requires a time of adaptation to jet lag.

The role of the internal clock is to determine the alternation of your sleep-activity and sleep moments. This day / night rhythm depends on it, alternated by day (daytime) and night (night), is called nycthemeral rhythm. It encompasses a 24-hour day, known as the circadian cycle.

These hormones that dictate activities

Without going into details, it is important to know that there are mainly two molecules that punctuate the wake / sleep cycle and consequently the biological clock. Made by the brain, melatonin and serotonin play a prominent role in the blues of winter.

Melatonin is the natural hormone of sleep, while serotonin is the hormone of awakening, the feeling of well-being and more generally the regulation of our emotions.

The other name of serotonin is the hormone of well-being, which is to say how important its action is. These molecules are linked together because serotonin is also used to make melatonin.

Why is your mood related to light?

Just because you see it. Your first action on awakening is to open your eyes. The absence of light therefore leads to a decrease in serotonin production and an increase in the manufacture of melatonin.

The synchronization of these two events, that in case of decrease of brightness, you can be reached of winter blues.

To establish a diagnosis of winter blues, you can contact a general practitioner or a specialist (psychiatrist). He makes sure it's not a bigger problem, like a real seasonal depression. Or another problem: anxiety, anxiety, depression ...

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