If you get depressed when the sun comes out, you’re not alone. Despite the bad rap winter gets, a new study finds that summer is when people are most likely to get a little down in the dumps, thanks to higher levels of circulating stress hormones.
Researchers from Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poland have discovered seasonal patterns in the cortisol levels of medical students. Cortisol, the hormone released into the blood stream during stressful times, helps regulate the body’s levels of sugar, salt and fluids, thus, reducing inflammation and is essential for maintaining overall health.
“The research team studied a group of female medical students on two separate days in the winter and for two days again in the summer. The researchers took saliva samples every two hours during each testing period — a full 24-hour cycle — to measure levels of cortisol and markers of inflammation. The volunteers completed a lifestyle questionnaire during each testing session about their sleep schedule, type of diet they followed and physical activity levels.”
The research team found cortisol levels to be higher on the summer testing dates.
Nancy Molitor, an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral science at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. has another take. She tells Live Science that hot weather creates other reasons for making us cranky, mainly lack of sleep, dehydration and restrictions on our daily actives (like being inside all day when it’s hot outside) — all of which are contributors to bad moods, especially when we feel like we can’t control them.
“Everyone’s fuse is going to be a little bit shorter,” Molitor said.