Spring: the season of life and love. We’ve all heard the saying love is in the air during springtime, but it turns out it is more than just a saying; there is actual truth to it! It’s not just the pretty flowers and baby animals that melt our hearts and make us want to fall in love, there is actually science behind our feelings. Let’s find out what really causes our inclination towards love during this time of the year.
After a cold winter, it’s easy to understand how warm weather and sun could put people in a good mood. Along with warmer weather comes different clothing (read: less of it). These kinds of fashion trends most certainly signal that love is in the air. After months of snow and gloomy weather, though, our bodies and minds have possibly been the victims of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Spring comes as a welcome respite from the depressing weather of winter.
There is science behind this theory, as well. If you’ve heard of “love is in the air,” then you’ve probably also heard of “spring fever.” It turns out this fever is a real thing, too. Dr. Norman Rosenthal, who is associated with the National Institute of Mental Health, says spring fever is the body’s natural reaction to the drastic improvement in weather. Going from cloudy days to blue skies; who wouldn’t catch the fever?! In fact, Dr. Rosenthal is the first person to use the term SAD to describe the way we feel during the crummy months of the year. He states that the presence of more sunlight, especially in the morning hours, puts an extra spring in our step. It is this spring that is the first symptom of spring fever.
It is quite possible spring fever is what makes love such a common emotion during springtime. Another doctor, Frank Bronson, who penned the book “Mammalian Reproductive Biology,” also agrees that sunlight is one of the main reasons why love is in the air during spring. Dr. Bronson explains there are “photoperiodic clues” that increase the likelihood of love being in the air. Photoperiod is just a fancy term meaning when the sun is up. Humans are not the only ones who appreciate the extra sunlight, mammals of all sorts enjoy the nicer weather, which is conducive to stronger moods and love.
It’s not just the sunlight that improves everyone’s mood, though. A bi-product of more sunlight and beneficial rain is blooming plants and trees, as well as insects that help these plants succeed. This may seem like a minor thing, but these small improvements around us actually encourage us to reproduce. Hey, another benefit of all of the effects spring has on us is that “spring fever” sounds like a great excuse for a sick day from work.