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what is asthenia?

With the arrival of autumn, do you feel tired and do you think you have no energy? You may have autumnal asthenia. It is a fairly common disorder related to changes, habits and temperatures, typical of this season.

This post tells you what it consists of, why it occurs, and what you can do to prevent it.

What is asthenia?

Autumnal asthenia is a syndrome that manifests itself in autumn and is due to the reduction in the hours of sunshine and the body’s response to these changes. It is common for asthenia to appear in spring, but more and more people feel it in autumn.

Autumnal asthenia usually affects mood, and prevention is essential to avoid its effects. It is a syndrome, not a disease, because it is our body’s response to seasonal changes.

Why do some people suffer from seasonal asthenia?

Autumn, among other things, implies that:

Solar hours are reduced
Lower temperatures little by little
We get into our daily chores
Contact with friends and family decreases due to the weather
Let's have less free time

All these changes produce alterations in biorhythms and sleep cycles, which can affect mood.

Serotonin is the causative hormone. It is called the hormone of happiness because it causes tiredness, sleepiness, or sadness when it is reduced.

However, when serotonin is high, it produces well-being and a good mood.

On the other hand, another hormone that also influences autumnal asthenia is melatonin.

Melatonin regulates sleep. Our body produces it when it starts to get dark so that we have a correct rest. While the level of serotonin in the body increases in the morning.

However, when the daylight hours are reduced, the signals that the brain sends for melatonin production go ahead and occur when we still have some tasks to do. In this way, we begin to notice that we are tired and that we are sleepy.

The most common symptoms of autumnal asthenia

If you think you have autumnal asthenia, the most important thing is knowing how to identify it. For this, you must know the symptoms of autumnal asthenia, which are the following:

Tiredness

Sleep-related disorders such as drowsiness, waking up in the morning or sleeping too much.

To feel down
Lack of appetite 
Lack of focus and interest
Apathy
Irritability or moody mood
Eat more and gain weight
Absence of libido

How long does autumnal asthenia last?

Autumn asthenia, like spring, is temporary, so it usually disappears after 5 or 6 days. The duration will depend on each person and their circumstances; generally, it does not usually last more than 15 days.

If the symptoms persist, do not disappear or are aggravated with fever or breathing problems, it is advisable to consult a specialist to diagnose us, give us adequate treatment and rule out other ailments.
With the arrival of autumn, the drop in temperatures, the changes in schedules, and fewer hours of sunlight, many people suffer a strange sensation that is what is known as autumnal asthenia. Although fortunately, most adapt perfectly to this change of season, the truth is that, more and more, the number of people suffering from this autumnal syndrome increases due to environmental changes, which causes biorhythms, the hours of sleep, and this can negatively affect anyone’s mood.

The symptoms of this disorder can vary from one person to another and are usually tiredness, weakness, drowsiness, difficulty concentrating and apathy. Other signs may also appear, such as irritability, lack of appetite, decreased libido and even a decrease in our body’s defences.

The main cause of this alteration is melatonin, a hormone responsible for regulating sleep. Its production increases with the reduction of sunlight, and this increase cause a decrease in serotonin, known as the happiness hormone. The result of registering higher levels of melatonin and lower levels of serotonin causes sadness, drowsiness, apathy and fatigue in some people, which usually lasts approximately 15 days or, at most, a month.

Suppose a person continues with these symptoms of exhaustion and lasts more than a month. In that case, it is advisable to go to the doctor because it may be a disease that requires treatment, such as anemia, chronic fatigue and even hypothyroidism.

Experts say that anyone can suffer from autumnal asthenia, although women between the ages of 25 and 50 are the most likely to have it, wedntras that children and the elderly are the least likely to present it.

Without a doubt, the key to coping with autumnal asthenia is prevention. Therefore, you must follow a balanced diet that includes vegetables and greens to ensure the intake of vitamins and minerals. It is also essential to sleep well, at least eight hours a day. It is advisable to follow a sleep routine, that is, go to bed and get up simultaneously, maintain healthy lifestyle habits and practice physical exercise of moderate intensity.
These days, when the clock has barely hit eight-thirty in the afternoon, the sunsets, and it becomes absolute darkness in practically all of Spain. Gone are the days that seemed to never end, with light until late at night. Specifically, every day we lose an average of 2 and a half minutes of sun. How does this affect our mood? Does autumnal asthenia sound familiar to you?

Many people feel more down when the day is gray than when they do a sunbath that lasts until after dinner time. There is even what we call autumnal asthenia, which is manifested by increased drowsiness and tiredness, greater apathy or irritability and, in general, a predominant feeling of sadness.

Some doctors call it a seasonal affective disorder, and it is related to serotonin, a chemical (neurotransmitter) in the brain that helps regulate mood, known as the ‘happiness hormone.’

Similarly, the less light we perceive, the more melatonin (the ‘sleep hormone), so we become more sleepy when daylight hours are reduced.

The last ‘ingredient’ that shakes our mood with the arrival of autumn is vitamin D, which is related to bone health, mental health and that of our immune system. More people than we think to suffer from a deficiency of this substance, which is why it is important to take advantage of the few hours of sunlight during the ‘dark’ seasons.

The lack of sun makes us feel bad.

When sunlight is reduced, so do the metabolic functions in many species of animals, which initiate hibernation. This does not happen in humans, but something comparable does.

Our brain suddenly starts to tell us that we are more relaxed, with all that entails: a greater feeling of sleep and calm … But a feeling of melancholy and sadness also happens to dominate us. Similarly, scientific studies show that we eat more during the fall and winter than in the spring and summer.

How to combat autumnal asthenia?

If you feel that you are falling apart with the shortening of the days, you suffer what is called autumnal asthenia, and the best way to combat it is by eating a healthy and balanced diet at normal hours (especially: try not to have dinner late), doing some exercise, sleeping the recommended 8 hours and increasing your exposure to sunlight, even if it begins to be scarce. When you are not working, take time to go outside and avoid being locked up.

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