the westminster news
Published by the students of Westminster School
By Hannah Small ’25
The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and the temperature of a chilly day is only 60 degrees. Spring is on the horizon, and everything is lighting up with joy. Does the warm weather really affect your mood? Or is it all a scam? Honestly, that is a choice you make, and I can only help persuade you that warm weather contributes significantly to your mood. When your eyes glance at the spring sun, and your body feels the long sunny days, your melatonin levels are affected.
Melatonin is a hormone that affects not only your sleep cycles but also your mood. Long winter months lead to more melatonin production. For people prone to depression or any mental disorder, all that excess melatonin may cause a spike in anxiety, depression, and more. Once the warm weather rolls around, and days begin to get longer, melatonin levels drop and mental disorders ease up.
But why do we produce more melatonin in the colder months than the warmer months? This answer is found in the body’s response to the short, dark days that we endure during winter months. Due to less sunlight, your body is naturally triggered to stimulate the pineal gland (the major site of the body's melatonin production) that produces melatonin, even during the day.
This creates an excess of melatonin in your body, causing you to feel sleepy and sluggish, even if you had enough sleep the night before. When spring finally comes, the long days filled with more sunlight decrease your body’s melatonin production. There is more time to spend outside in the sun, and moods are going up. The exhaustion from the cold winter months has rolled off, and now we can enjoy the sunny days to come.