When the days cool down and the nights get longer, our body naturally responds to the changes. Here are 6 surprising things that happen to your body and mind in autumn that you may not have heard before!
Oh, the joys of autumn! As the days get shorter and the trees turn beautiful colours, the fall season is, for many people, a favourite time of year. Time to cosy up at home, sip on pumpkin-flavoured drinks, and look forward to the holidays spent with family and friends.
When the summer comes to an end, this has some surprising effects on our body and mind. The colder weather and longer nights change our sleeping patterns and mood, bringing on hormonal changes and even influencing our sex lives. But don’t fret about the weather and the cooler temperatures; not all the physiological changes are unwelcome. Learn about the surprising things that happen to your body when autumn arrives!
You sleep longer in autumn, but the quality and depth of your slumber may not be as good as during the rest of the year. The reason for this is that we are exposed to less natural light when the days are shorter, which influences our sleep-wake cycle. Harvard researchers found that we sleep the longest in October, around 2.7 hours more per night than in other months. Yet, you may wake up groggy despite having slept for a reasonable amount of time.
Researchers also found that we have a harder time getting up in the morning in autumn. Compared to summer, we press the snooze button more often and get up around 13 minutes later. But of course, we don’t need science to tell us how tempting it can be to just stay in bed when it’s bleak and dark outside.
When we’re feeling chilly in the colder temperatures of autumn, our blood vessels constrict, which can increase blood pressure levels. It’s only a small rise, so it shouldn’t signal any cause for alarm if you are already in good health. But if you have hypertension, you may want to consider making healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle so you can lower your blood pressure naturally. Add leafy greens such as lettuce, arugula, kale, or spinach to your diet and eat plenty of fresh fruits and berries. These foods have been shown to be helpful in getting blood pressure under control.
You may think that the chances of getting dehydrated would decrease after the summer months are over, but interestingly, just the opposite can happen. When the sun is beating down on us in summer, we tend to drink a lot more water throughout the day to keep us hydrated.
In the colder months when we’re not sweating much, we often put hydration on the back-burner. If you’re worried about forgetting to drink enough water throughout the fall season, you can set reminders on your phone or download apps to tell you to drink more!
When autumn arrives, we tend to start eating a lot more than in the summer months. As the weather gets colder, we tend to indulge in comfort foods, especially those that are rich in carbs. The reason for this is that our serotonin levels drop due to the shorter days and less daylight. High-carb foods help us get our serotonin levels back to normal. In autumn, when it’s not so pleasant outside, we’re also not out and about as much exercising, which doesn’t really help matters.
Then again, seasonal weight gain in autumn is no reason for panic. But if you’re concerned about your weight, go easy on the pasta and starchy foods and look into seafood, eggs, nuts, lentils, and beans instead. These foods help you achieve a boost in serotonin, but are much healthier. Also, If you find you have less time for working out in autumn, you can make up for this by stepping up the intensity of each exercise. This will help you burn some kilos and improve your mood!
Research has shown that the cold and rainy months at the end of the year benefit our concentration, memory, and performance. This means that autumn might just be the perfect time to start a new book series or explore a hobby you’ve never tried. Instead of letting the cold bring you down, use autumn as an opportunity to discover new horizons. You will feel creative, and you will get things done!
Contrary to what some may assume, spring and summer are actually not the seasons when we most like to get down and dirty. Research indicates that a natural spike in testosterone levels that occurs in autumn can boost libido for women and men. Well, if this isn’t another good reason to cuddle in bed with your sweetheart a little longer...