The Brain and Biological Clocks
No matter how much a person loves winter, we all love an unexpected warmup. After months indoors, it has been invigorating to be outdoors again enjoying the longer days and warmer weather. People are emerging from their cozy homes wearing shorts, toting Frisbees, and firing up the barbeques – we have Spring Fever!
While we may think it’s due to the warm weather, it turns out that mammals have their brains to thank for our improved attitudes. And we aren’t the only ones affected – our four-legged friends are too!
What is Spring Fever?
Deep in the brain’s center is a tiny clump of cells called the suprachiasmatic nucleus. These clusters of neurons – directly connected to the eyes – drive our biological clocks. Changes in daylight trigger the release of melatonin: when it’s dark outside more sleep-inducing melatonin is released, when there’s more daylight, less melatonin is released. This change in hormones is associated with Spring Fever, when we often experience more energy, shifts in our appetites, and feel more restless.
It’s still a bit early to declare spring officially here, but with longer days ahead be sure to embrace your inner Spring Fever. Get outside with your furry friend – you’ll both benefit from the fresh air and exercise!