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VERIFY: Does the weather really affect your mood?

Many of us here at KARE 11 have started feeling the rainy day blues and It's got us wondering, does the weather really impact your mood?

MINNEAPOLIS-- The rainy day blues is that feeling you get when the gloom outside starts getting you down.

Many of us here at KARE 11 have started feeling the rainy day blues after this long stretch of gray and gloomy days, and it got us wondering, does the weather really impact our mood?

Hennepin Healthcare Psychologist Talee Vang is helping us verify if the weather can actually affect how we feel.

“It’s not so much the rain, but the darkness that can affect your mood,” Dr. Vang explains.

Darkness, like the gloomy days we’ve been having lately, can alter the chemical balance in your brain, Vang says.

"When it's mostly dark outside what happens is our body starts to produce less serotonin," Vang says.

Serotonin is a chemical in our bodies that helps us regulate our mood.

So yes, Vang says you can get more depressed, sad or anxious when it rains.

"Our bodies also produce more melatonin so that makes us feel more lethargic, sleepy and tired," Vang says.

So if you've been feeling low energy lately that's why.

Plus no sun means less vitamin D which can also make you more depressed and tired.

Vang says the longer you go without it the worse it can get.

"We're having several days of cloud cover and that's going to impact your mood," Vang says.

This feeling of fatigue and tiredness is commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is fittingly abbreviated as SAD.

Studies show women are more likely to feel the effects of SAD than men.

“We’re not exactly sure why, but if you look at the numbers from various studies they all suggest that,” Vang says.

Other studies show the further north you live the worse it can be.

“Because of the way the world is tilted and how we’re exposed to the sun, people from Minnesota and more north of the latitude will experience a lot more symptoms of SAD,” Vang says.

So it's verified, the weather can affect your mood and how tired you feel.

But what can we do about it?

Dr. Vang says you can always bring it up with your doctor, who might recommend getting a Vitamin D supplement, light therapy, or something as simple as changing your habits.

She says now is a good time to get things checked out because a lot of people feel these symptoms even worse in the winter, which as we know is right around the corner.

If there’s something you’d like us to Verify, send your questions to Verify@kare11.com


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