Seasonal changes cause an alteration in the levels of certain hormones, specifically melatonin and beta-endorphin
Melancholy, sadness, lack of concentration, tiredness or loss of appetite are some of the symptoms shown by children with autumnal asthenia. A transitory state that causes an alteration in the child’s biological rhythm is characterized by loss of energy, apathy, and the free fall of the body’s defences due to the change of season.
As explained by Dr. Fernando Baixauli, a pediatrician at the Vithas Valencia 9 de Octubre, Vithas Valencia Consuelo and Vithas Castellón hospitals, “autumn implies fewer hours of light, lower temperatures and a frenetic pace of school and extracurricular activities.” “Seasonal changes,” underlines the professional, cause an alteration in the levels of certain hormones, specifically, melatonin, a hormone related to sleep that has been associated with seasonal affective disorder. This hormone, which is also related to depression, is produced at higher levels in the dark. Thus, when the days are shorter and darker, more melatonin is produced. In addition, there is a decrease in beta-endorphin, and its deficiency causes irritability, nervousness, sadness, tiredness and apathy. “
Dr. Fernando Baixauli, pediatrician at the Vithas Valencia 9 de Octubre, Vithas Valencia Consuelo and Vithas Castellón hospitals.
In general, the symptoms of autumnal asthenia last between a week and a fortnight, more or less as long as it takes for the body to adapt to the new season. According to the specialist, “if the clear symptoms of asthenia last for more than fifteen days or if the child also associates mucus, earache, low-grade fever (37.5-37.8 ºC), weight loss or diarrhea, it will no longer be treated asthenia. If these symptoms are added, – he adds – the child should be taken to the pediatrician since it may be the beginning of an illness such as a cold, gastroenteritis, otitis or even an allergy”.
How to prevent and treat autumnal asthenia in children
The predisposition of some children to suffer from autumnal asthenia is obvious, but their lifestyle is a determining factor in preventing it. “To combat this state of mind, it is important to respect sleep schedules, do physical exercise and lead a healthy life in general. The little ones need an established routine for their physical and psychological development to be adequate “, says Dr. Baixauli, who recommends” doing physical exercise outdoors, since it stimulates the release of dopamine and endorphins that lift the spirits of the little ones.”
On the other hand, a balanced diet and a healthy diet are fundamental pillars to prevent asthenia. Food in these cases plays a fundamental role, being advisable to include proteins of high biological value in the daily diet in addition to vitamins of group B. In this sense, it is advisable to consume products rich in vitamin B3 (niacin) and B12 and essential amino acids such as tryptophan, which improves serotonin levels. “The adequate supply of nutrients and vitamins is essential for the child to have adequate physical and mental health without forgetting good hydration,” concludes the professional.
The doctor assures that children should sleep between 9 and 10 hours until they are 18 years old regarding adequate rest. “In fact,” he adds, “it has been shown that levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone, are greatly reduced after a good rest and, on the contrary, when you sleep less than you should, they increase.” This hormone is also related to being overweight since the lack of rest increases the appetite level increasing our need for glucose.
Although autumn was installed on September 22, it is not until the first cold days of October that we realize all the changes it implies, and we may suffer from the so-called autumnal asthenia.
The trees are stripped, the hours of sunshine are shortened, it rains, we would love to stay under the duvet, but we have to wake up, and the day seems eternal.
If your body is heavy and you are feeling down, don’t worry because autumn asthenia is a temporary disorder you can overcome in weeks.
Symptoms of autumnal asthenia, do you have any?
Asthenia means lacking strength, and in its extreme version, it can become chronic—a little joke.
It is a disease for which there is no clinical proof, and it is impossible to know the specific cause that causes it.
If you are between 20 and 50 years old and notice that your exhaustion lasts more than 6 months and has reduced your energy by half, consult your doctor.
See if you have any of these symptoms:
General tiredness and physical weakness.
Sleep disturbances Lethargy and need to sleep longer.
Little or no desire to socialize. Isolation and decreased libido.
If you have double-checked more than three items, you may have asthenia. But do not spread panic! that this is going to end right now.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
The fault is not the cha-cha but the hormones.
In reality, another man pulls the strings: the great sun star, and he is the one that brings melatonin and serotonin headfirst.
By reducing the hours of sunshine in autumn, the pineal gland secretes more melatonin, the hormone that regulates the feeling of fullness, the sleep cycle, energy or body temperature. And therefore, the levels of serotonin, “the hormone of well-being,” go down.
Hence, our good humour is reduced to its minimum expression, and we have more drowsiness.
What can you do to combat autumnal asthenia?
The good news is that we end up adapting to the new schedule, and this discomfort does not last more than two or three weeks, but it will pass sooner if you do sports, respect your sleep hours, reduce your series marathons and become fond of something new.
An example, did you know that making homemade bread is a good therapy against depression?
And since we are red-handed, we will tell you which are the best fresh and seasonal foods to overcome these days with a good note.