There's something about waking up to sunshine, birds chirping, and warm air that puts many of us in a better mood. But why do we notice such a shift in our feelings and emotions when the seasons change? It turns out that there actually are scientific reasons you're happier in the summer; the warm weather and your sunny mood are no coincidence. It's rather common to feel more satisfied during the hotter, brighter months, and when this season gives way to the longer, darker days of winter (depending on where you live, of course), we'll once again experience a shift.
So what is it about summer that puts us so at peace? Why are we so much happier this time of year? Here's what we know:
1. Our Sleeping Habits Change Due To Light Exposure
The number of hours of daytime and nighttime have been found to have an effect on how and when we sleep. One study compared Norway (a country with large seasonal variation) to Ghana (a country with little seasonal variation).
2. Our Eating Habits Change In The Summer, Too
There are a couple of possible explanations for this one. One of the more simple reasons is that with the holidays of the winter seasons, certain types of foods are more abundant and frequent. But it goes deeper than that: It could actually come down to biology — our bodies' primitive instinct is to stockpile and store up for the winter months ahead. One study found that both our eating habits and our body weight change by season, with people consuming on average 86 more calories each day in the fall, compared to spring. Fall also brought more fatty foods than spring. None of this is to say that the foods we eat in the winter are "worse" than the foods we eat in the summer, by the way; they're just different, and they affect us in different ways.
3. Sunshine Can Be Great For Our Bodies
It goes without saying that there are very real, very scary risks associated with sun exposure, and that protecting yourself from harmful UV rays is tantamount. But sunlight is also quite vital to our health and happiness, and when you use it correctly, the benefits are significant. For instance, when you get sunlight, your body produces vitamin D from cholesterol, which helps your body absorb calcium. This is important for our bone health.