We all know the feeling. Spring has arrived, the birds are chirping and the flowers are blooming. In Vienna folks emerge from their concrete abodes, the grass is rolled out along the Ringstrasse and not a park bench in Stadtpark is free. The roses in Volksgarten have shed their burlap winter coats and the cafes on Graben have moved their tables out on the cobblestones.
Inarguably the most beautiful time of year in Vienna. Everything is alive with a whistle its lips and a hop in its step. Except—
Well, you’ve been feeling a bit more tired than usual haven’t you?
In fact, around 2 pm every day now for the past few weeks, you find yourself faced with an important dilemma. If you’re at work, the challenging question is: “Nepresso Expresso ala Clooney with Livanto, Capriccio, Volluto or Cose?” (just definitely no Decaffeninato) and if you’re at home, “A quick run or maybe a nap? Bed, couch, lounge chair or perhaps just a catnap here at the desk for a minute or two?”
Why are you so darn tired lately?
If you spoke more German, you’d know. You’re suffering from Frühjahrmüdigkeit. Don’t worry, it’s not catchy and the condition is only temporary. And if you live in Austria, it is considered extremely common and your laments will fall upon the sympathetic ears of fellow sufferers.
But what is it and where does it come from? Just for you — a scientific explanation to justify why you can tell your loved ones to scram while you enjoy your afternoon siesta on the hammock.
Here it is: Daylight increases with spring and sets the balance of your body’s melatonin and serotonin into disarray. Melatonin is a hormone in your body that helps control sleep cycles and serotonin helps you be haaapppy. In winter, your body produces more melatonin (think of hibernation). And as the two hormones start battling it out in spring, you start to kinda feel like you have a long-term hangover without having had the fun of dancing on the the tables the night before.
But no worries! It won’t last. Take your siestas, drink your espressos and your body will adjust. Or better yet, go for a run. Really, You’ll enjoy it. Eventually. I promise. The chestnut trees and wild garlic are blooming in Prater and the air never smelled sweeter.
And hey! It’s spring! The Gelato shops and Canal beaches are open too. Enjoy it!
George Clooney Nespresso ad (just wait for soccer ad to end) http://www.blick.ch/people-tv/ex-miss-lauriane-trinkt-mit-george-clooney-nespresso-id2500482.html
Austrian Chamber of Pharmacists: Österreichische Apothekerkammer: http://www.apotheker.or.at/Internet/OEAK/NewsPresse_1_0_0a.nsf/webPages/7681BADDE53EB9AAC1256FEE00310DF6!OpenDocument
Articles in English:
Chicago Tribune Article of Wed April 21, 2001: Spring Fever affects many when seasonal malady hits:
Dr. Roher’s Blog “All Things Psychological” Spring Fever, Do You Have it? May 16, 2010:
Wikipedia gives a pretty good take on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_fever
Scientific American: May 22, 2007 article: “Fact or Fiction?: ‘Spring Fever’ Is a Real Phenomenon”
Baltimore Holistic Health Examiner, March 14, 2012, “Spring Tiredness”: http://www.examiner.com/article/spring-tiredness