WHY AM I AL­WAYS IN SUCH A BAD MOOD AT THIS TIME OF YEAR?

Men's Health (UK) - - Ask MH - ROB, NOT­TING­HAM

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.

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