Orange County Register
Spring Season Brings Feelings of Happiness
With the arrival of the spring season, as well as Daylight Saving Time occurring earlier this month, the general population might find that they are feeling happier and more hopeful than they did a few months ago.
Our waking hours are filled with more sunlight, and there is a positive association between more sunlight and people becoming happier and more hopeful, said William D. Marelich, a professor of psychology at Cal State Fullerton.
“Certain neurotransmitters and hormones will lead people to feel more happy and elated,” Marelich said.
Why is this? He explains:
- More sunlight is associated with greater vitamin D production. Studies suggest that a lack of vitamin D negatively affects mood. An increase of vitamin D equals more happiness
- More sunlight is associated with a reduction of melatonin production. High levels of melatonin, a hormone that affects one's sleep and wake cycles, can negatively affect one's mood. This doesn't have so much to do with sunlight hitting our skin as much as how and when we sense light. Our melatonin levels tend to be a little more suppressed when there's more daylight and we can see it. When we get sleepy, it is because of increased melatonin production. When there's light outside, it's hard to go to sleep. When it's night outside, one can argue that it increases melatonin production to tell the body to go to sleep.
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