Walking on Sunshine

St. Scholastica's Student Newspaper
The Cable
By: Kate Murphy - Student Journalist -

The only fever that I like is spring fever.

It's the infectious condition that strikes when the days lengthen and the temperatures begin to climb. Symptoms of spring fever can include feverish bouts of house-cleaning, restless behavior in the classrooms, love struck dazes, and honing in on the beautiful melody of chirping birds.
To some scientists, spring fever is more than just a state of mind - it's a conglomeration of symptoms brought on by hormonal changes in the body.

During the dreaded winter months of coldness and darkness, the body secretes high levels of melatonin, a hormone that is in control of your sleep-wake cycles. When spring has sprung, the increasing amount of daylight is registered by the light-sensitive tissue within our eyes. This signals the brain to stop secreting so much sleepy-time hormones. As the hormone levels drop off, greater wakefulness emerges.

Spring has sprung, which springs in a chemical - serotonin. The mood-elevating neurotransmitter may be the culprit for giddiness, apparent energy, and enthusiasm that characterizes spring fever. During the winter months, the brain's serotonin levels drop due to the lack of sunlight.

As most know, this can cause severe depression in some - seasonal affective disorder. Those mornings of grogginess and "whyyyyyy?" - that's due to the low levels of serotonin. When warmer weather decides to creep in, that initiates the start to longer and brighter days. Thus, the light stimulates the production of serotonin. We wake up happier, more energetic, and perhaps a little more pep in our step.

No matter what is occurring within my body, all I know is that I am ready for spring. Long winter months of cold, cold, and more cold is making me yearn for spring. The warmth of the sun on my face - pure bliss. The summery smell of freshly cut grass - heavenly. Going for a walk without shivering - I can't wait.

Please, Mother Nature, do us a favor and bring on the heat. Pronto.

Ta ta for now,

Kate