When is your memory at its best – winter or summer?
We know that the seasons impact our moods and that winter can be particularly stressful. But did you know these seasons can also influence your memory?
Studies suggest that your memory may be weaker during some parts of the year when the change of the seasons affects us the most.
The effects aren’t universal and they seem to influence people with allergies or highly sensitive people more.
So which seasons influence our memory the most?
Winter and spring are the most stressful, the first for its shorter days and lack of natural light and the latter for its allergy season that comes when nature revives.
The memory loss we experience is not direct but rather influenced by the changes in our hormone levels, the weakened immune system, and other physical symptoms that stress out the body and the brain.
Shorter days = Lack of sunlight
We all know that sunlight helps the body create vitamin D, but that’s not all it does. Sunlight also affects the levels of hormones in our body; specifically, the mood-improving serotonin and sleep-inducing melatonin.
In winter, days are shorter, often not as sunny as we’d like and we typically spend our days indoors because of colder temperatures.
The lower levels of vitamin D and feel-good hormones provoke lack of sleep, general fatigue, crankiness, and sometimes even physical symptoms like muscle pain. People with more severe symptoms or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are also prone to depression.
Solution: Light therapy
Also known as phototherapy, it can mimic daylight and will supplement the lack of natural light you experience during the winter.
The therapy is easy – you sit near a specialized therapy light for about 30 minutes.
Spring = allergy season
In spring pollen is everywhere, triggering allergy flare-ups that can sometimes last for months.
Itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose full of sneezes that go on for weeks are enough to make even the most level-headed person lose their mind.
Spring allergies and their accompanying symptoms can affect your sleep and your energy levels, leaving you with a brain fog that can make you forget even the most basic details of your life.
Solution: Limited exposure and medicine
These won’t make your allergies disappear, but they can mitigate the symptoms and help you feel like a functioning person again.
While limiting exposure only means you have to avoid nature as much as possible, make sure to talk to your doctor before taking any medicine.
Overall, our brainpower seems to be at its best in June around the summer solstice and at its worst in December, when daylight is in short supply.