Why are we so tired when Spring arrives?

When spring arrives, more than half the population may develop the adaptive disorder commonly known as spring asthenia. It manifests itself in symptoms such as tiredness and drowsiness during the day, lack of energy, sleep disorders, irritability or anxiety.

Various environmental factors common in spring induce a series of mechanisms in the body that alter the regulation of circadian rhythms. This alteration is due to a change in the secretion of hormones that relate to endorphins, cortisol, melatonin etc. These hormonal changes cause a change in biological rhythms, which during the process of adapting to new environmental conditions are more demanding on daily energy consumption.

Environmental factors that affect the body include:

  • Changes in season, with rising temperatures and atmospheric pressure creating more hours of light each day.

  • Daylight saving time. When the clocks go forward one hour, there is a change in daily routine.

As an adaptive disorder, it will simply go away by itself in one or two weeks, depending on the person.

Treatment of spring asthenia

There is no single specific treatment for spring asthenia, but it is possible to minimise its effects by accelerating the body’s adaptation processes through a series of measures:

  • Anticipate daylight saving time by gradually adapting your daily routine to the time change before it happens, paying special attention to eating and sleeping and schedules. If you are late getting to this point, you can compensate for it by doing the following:

  • Practice moderate physical exercise to release stress and help sleep onset.

  • Pay special attention to nutrition. Eating a balanced diet that focuses on less caloric foods, with more fruits and vegetables.

  • Adequate hydration is also very important.

  • Sleep routines are crucial, since spring asthenia affects the secretion of melatonin, meaning sleep is not sufficiently restorative for the body’s day-to-day needs. This creates a feeling of not having had a full rest.

  • The body can then require external support from supplements, and for this we of course always recommend natural supplements.

What types of high quality and natural supplements can we take?

There is more than one ideal supplement for this time of year. Each person has different needs that can affect their body in one way or another during these months. However, we can recommend a few nutritional supplements that may help this adaptation process become easier or better.

These include:

  • Melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland from tryptophan, with a chronoregulatory function in the body. This is the hormone that adjusts the sleep phase and resynchronizes the biological clock. This hormone has several functions: it helps to regulate circadian rhythm and sleeping and waking processes, it acts as a neurotransmitter, and also has immunomodulatory and antioxidant properties. In addition, melatonin calms tensions, relaxes muscles, promotes natural sleep and drowsiness, boosts recovery from sleep and decreases night-time awakenings.

  • Griffonia simplicifolia is a plant with seeds naturally rich in L-5-HTP (hydroxytryptophan), direct precursors of serotonin. Serotonin is involved in sleep and stress management. When its production is stimulated, states of depression or anxiety reduce, and quality sleep can be enjoyed again. It therefore becomes a natural response to help restore calm, serenity and high-quality sleep.

  • Rhodiola rosea acts against mental and physical fatigue, restoring mental vitality and natural energy. It is an adaptogenic plant, in other words a complex natural substance that allows the body to adapt to different stress situations, regardless of the causes. As an adaptogenic plant, it provides a functional response that varies from person to person, tending to increase the body’s homeostatic capacities.

  • Ginseng is known as the energy and vitality plant. Its properties regulate balance in the nervous system and it also has aphrodisiac effects on the body. Its roots have the most properties, such as protecting the cardiovascular system and stimulating the immune system, exerting anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects. It acts on blood sugar, increasing the number of insulin receptors.

  • Ginkgo Biloba: Its effectiveness derives from flavonol glycosides and terpene lactones contained in its leaves. Tested for the treatment of various neurological disorders, positive results have been observed in the treatment of dementia (1) and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases (2,3). In fact, Ginkgo extract can inhibit the enzyme that degrades dopamine (2) and improves cognitive abilities such as concentration and memory (1,3).

  • Omega 3 is essential to maintaining good emotional balance. It has been clinically proven that these fatty acids have a mood stabilising function within the body. This is thanks to EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which is one of the two components of Omega 3 with DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). The brain’s mass consists of 60% fatty acids, essential components of brain cell membranes. It is therefore important that there is a good balance between Omega 3 and Omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Bibliography

1. Hashiguchi et al. (2015) Meta-analysis of the efficacy and safety of Ginkgo biloba extract for the treatment of dementia. J Pharm Health Care Sci 1: 14.

2. Tanaka et al. (2013) Ginkgo biloba extract in an animal model of Parkinson’s Disease: A systematic review. Curr Neuropharmacol 11(4): 430–435.

3. Wesnes et al. (2000) The memory enhancing effects of a Ginkgo biloba/Panax ginseng combination in healthy middle-aged volunteers. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 152(4): 353-61.