WHY AM I ALWAYS IN SUCH A BAD MOOD AT THIS TIME OF YEAR?
Winter can take the spring out of the step of even the most jubilant of men. The cold-weather crash is most commonly attributed to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), but a new acronym has started to gain traction. IMS, or “irritable male syndrome” (yes, it’s a medical term), posits that the drop in testosterone (T) experienced in the colder months could play a part in your hot-headedness. So far, most of the research has been conducted on test animals, which experienced a significant drop in T levels out of breeding season. But men, too, are affected by the changing daylight hours.
Rising in the dark, working indoors and driving home long after sunset deprive us of vitamin D – linked to hormone production – and can disrupt our circadian rhythm. “Exposure to the sun has an important effect on regulating our testosterone, as well as managing stress,” says Dr Michael Banna. Keep your mood steady with T-boosting vitamin D, zinc and magnesium supps – and try using a blue-light box that simulates sunrise. Think you need a bigger hit? Then consult our cheat sheet below.