Spring Fatigue

Various spring flowers towards the blue skyThe sun is shining, the days are getting warmer and the daffodils and tulips are coming up. Spring is here! Now we want to start gardening again, get back into exercising or get ready for our spring cleaning. This is also the time of a year when people get very tired and seem not to get enough sleep! – Are YOU suffering from spring fatigue???


In Germany, we call this phenomenon “Fruehjahrsmuedigkeit”:  “Fruehjahr” means “spring” and “Muedigkeit” means “tiredness” or “fatigue”. German newspapers state that around 30 – 50 percent of the population suffers from spring fatigue. You feel exhausted, tired, drained or sluggish in the beginning of spring. You experience a lack of energy and don’t even feel inspired to be active.


Spring fatigue or “Fruehjahrsmuedigkeit” is a recognized condition in Germany. If you are constantly yawning in meetings, having a hard time concentrating or not being able to perform well at work, you have an accepted excuse. “Ah, I guess she is spring fatigued!” Everyone appears to understand.


I have lived in Canada for many years, but I haven’t come across any Canadian who was familiar with “Fruehjahrsmuedigkeit”. No one seems to know what I am talking about. It looks as if spring fatigue doesn’t exist here, despite the fact that the German’s and Canadian’s climate and lifestyle are quite similar. However, I have noticed that people around me experience tiredness and exhaustion in the spring. Is nobody aware of it here?


Spring fatigue is not a disease. It can be described as a general feeling of low energy or exhaustion. It is not due to lack of sleep or illness, but due to a change of season, namely from winter to spring. The symptoms usually arise sometime between mid-March and mid-April and may include weariness, sensitivity to changes in the weather, dizziness, irritability, headaches and sometimes aching joints. Typically, spring fatigue lasts about one to four weeks. The causes of spring fatigue have not been fully researched, but medical doctors explain it as follows:


Like animals we humans adjust to our environment. We regulate our metabolism and hormones according to the temperature and climate in our surroundings. The hormonal balance is challenged in the spring. Serotonin – also known as the “happiness hormone” whose production depends on daylight – becomes exhausted over the long winter. On the other hand, shorter days and longer hours of darkness in winter raise melatonin, also known as the “sleep hormone”.


When the days become longer and the sunshine becomes stronger in the spring, the body has to adjust its hormone levels: serotonin levels increase whereas melatonin levels decrease. The hormonal change takes time and needs energy which leads to fatigue and weariness. In addition, temperatures usually fluctuate greatly in spring time. This is demanding for the blood vessels and the circulatory system, and causes the body to get tired and drained.


Tips to beat Spring Fatigue:


  • Spend time in the sunlight! – The light is like medicine for the spring fatigued person.


  • Exercise moderately! – Be active and go for long walks or bike rides!


  • Take a power nap! – If you are very tired during the day, take a nap of 30 minutes.


  • Eat fresh and light! – Fresh vegetables and fruit will bring you the energy you need!


  • Take alternating showers! – You start taking a warm shower and then you rinse with cold water. Start at feet and legs, next the arms and then the torso.


  • Take Reflexology! – The treatments help the body to better adjust to the changes.