Winter is a wonderful season, but the cold weather can affect our brains in some strange and often unexplained ways. As the days get shorter and the nights longer, we are affected in ways much more complicated than just our body temperature.
Have you ever felt the urge to eat more in winter? Or maybe the cold and dark nights make you feel a little down sometimes? Read on to find out how winter is affecting your psyche.
1. Your brain performs better when it’s cold outside
A study on participants in Tromso, Norway found that our brains can actually perform better in winter. Tromso is one of the most northern cities , where there is virtually no sunlight in winter and no darkness during summer. Despite this, the studied participants were found to have stronger reactions and mental control in winter.
With this in mind, winter could be the perfect time to take up something new. You might find yourself much more motivated to stay on track, and you could pick things up more quickly.
2. It throws off your sleep cycle
The lack of light can have a big impact on your sleep cycle. Both how long you sleep for and the quality of your sleep can suffer due to lack of daylight, which may be throwing off your body’s internal clock and leaving you feeling tired and sluggish.
If you’re feeling tired in winter, try out Vitabiotics Wellwoman range of vitamins for women, and Vitabiotics Wellman vitamins for men. Their supplements are formulated with iron and essential vitamins to help reduce tiredness and fatigue, as well as regulating your immune health!
3. Eating more? Blame winter
It’s true! The cold weather is said to stimulate our survival impulse. It’s suggested that the urge to binge on foods in winter stems from our biological makeup. Long before we were cosying up in our warm homes, our ancestors were scavenging for food and winter was a time of little supplies.
On the other hand, some experts argue that this survival impulse is related to hibernation, and we are simply stocking up on food for the winter! Either way, don’t feel too guilty the next time you finish off a sharing-sized chocolate bar to yourself – after all, it’s part of your genetic makeup!
4. Winter makes us SAD
You may be suffering from a case of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during winter. This form of depression can be more evident during the cold, dark, winter months. This is because our brains are sensitive to low temperatures, just like the body. Your brain responds to this by releasing chemicals which can make you feel down.
SAD is recognised with a persistent low mood; irritability; craving carbohydrates and gaining weight; and generally feeling lethargic. If SAD is bothering you, speak to your doctor or a professional mental health expert.
5. It changes our creativity
Our creativity levels, and types of creativity, can differ depending on the climate and time of year. Researchers found that those in a warm room were better at creative drawing and thinking of gift ideas for others, whereas those in a cold room were better with words and planning abstract gift ideas.
This is due to the cold weather stimulating referential processing within our minds, meaning winter could be the perfect time to read and learn something new!
6. We crave psychological warmth
Ever wanted to snuggle up with a romantic film when it’s cold and dark outside? Turns out romance movies are more desirable when we’re cold! Research published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that cold weather could make us crave warm, romantic films. So wrap up with a good rom-com this winter and chances are you’ll feel a lot warmer!