Maybe it’s this weekend’s Floatopia that has everyone feeling giddy, or maybe everyone just found a dollar in their coat pockets. It seems to me like we’ve all been in a better mood since we got back from Spring Break.
We UCSB students aren’t the only ones who get happier when the sun is out. People afflicted with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D., feel depressed during the autumn and winter months. When the sun comes out around April, these folks get a little boost of emotional energy and quit feeling so, well, sad. People with S.A.D. feel down in the winter because of the lack of sunlight and shorter days. Symptoms include reduced sex drive, a smaller appetite and being tired more than usual.
If I had to guess, I’d say that this affects something like 84 percent of Gauchos. Yes, it’s a little known fact that Argentinean cowboys actually cry themselves to sleep during the winter. Kidding. Obviously I’m talking about the Gauchos on this campus.
So maybe S.A.D. is the reason why we’re all bouncier this quarter, or maybe it’s because the season is messing with our hormones. The L.A. Times recently published an article that says increased levels of serotonin and decreased levels of melatonin may be the cause of the smiles on our faces. We secrete more serotonin — which is an upper — in the spring and summer, which may cause fits of giggles, a sudden urge to laugh and other general signs of happiness. Melatonin is the hormone in charge of sleeping and being awake. More sunlight tells the brain to quit spitting out so much melatonin, which means we’re more alert while we’re awake.
Though you might not have guessed it, sexual activity actually is not increased in the spring. Testosterone peaks in the fall, which means more baby-makin’ goes on in September than May. However, Dr. Michael Smolensky brings up a really important bit of information that I want you all to pay attention to very closely: “Given enough alcohol and nudity, sex is a normal response that can occur at any time of the year.”