Does Weather Effect Your Mood?

Whenever I look outside my window and it’s dark and rainy I always find myself wanting to curl up in my bed and have a Netflix marathon. The dreary weather always makes me feel dreary and lazy. I wanted to know if I was just like this when it was rainy by chance, or by some confounding variable, or if there was a real connection between the weather and my mood. First I established the null hypothesis: Weather and mood are not connected in any way. This is the hypothesis that we are looking to reject, we want to see that something is in fact going on.

It seems to be common sense that when it’s sunny and warm you are happy and joyful, and when its dark and gloomy you are sad and tired, it’s just a common association. However, researchers are slow to accept this theory. In one study they took around 1,000 people and had them report their daily well-being, and then lined their testimony up with the weather report. Overall they found that th635850463340700169-96352109_seasonal-affective-disorder-depressionere was very little variance in their subject’s day-to-day mood that was dependent on the weather. What the research did show however was that there is a significant association between tiredness and sunlight. The less sunlight that people were exposed to, the more fatigued they felt. This could be because of the hormone melatonin. Less sunlight causes you brain to produce more melatonin, which makes you feel drowsy. This is just a small thing though and has little to do with a real substantial change in mood. Sunlight can also trigger the production of a hormone called serotonin which helps your body maintain mood balance. A lack of sunlight can lead to a reduction of serotonin which in turn can lead to feelings of sadness and depression. A lot of the articles that I read did however mention seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. It is sometimes known as winter depression because the symptoms are most apparent and usually most severe during the winter months. Doctors have yet to find the exact cause of SAD, but it’s symptoms are often linked to the reduced exposure to sunlight and the overproduction of melatonin that I talked about earlier.

So my conclusion is while in extreme cases like diagnosis of SAD, weather can have a large effect on the mood. For the average person, a rainy day isn’t going to make you any sadder or more tired or happier than a sunny one. So next time you’re feeling tired or lazy try not to blame it on the weather, because there could be something else going on.


8 thoughts on “Does Weather Effect Your Mood?

  1. Wendy Sun

    I feel like I have SAD. I feel more “down the weather” when it rains or when the sun isn’t out. Is this because sunshine makes us happier and when we don’t receive any, we become sad?
    Or maybe it is because of color psychology, similar to how business paint their walls bright yellow to promote creativity and fast thinking. Does seeing sky blue or brighter skies improve our mood psychologically? I think so.

  2. Kate Billings

    I definitely understand why theres a connection between sunlight and peoples tiredness. When I wake up in the winter and it’s dark outside I don’t wanna leave my bed. Also when it’s darker out during the day I feel more tired than when the sun is shinning. There might not be science that proves that weather can have an affect on your mood but I think a sunny beautiful day can put you in a good mood.

  3. Matthew J Overmoyer

    It is interesting that your study found no significant difference in mood based on the weather. At the same time, it makes sense that a sunny day, cloudy day, rainy day, snowy day, etc would not have a clear effect on everyone. Some people like rain and snow, others do not. It also makes sense that the amount of sunlight would directly relate to how tired we feel because of our natural circadian rhythm and how it relates to the day night cycle.

  4. Erin Nicole Kemp

    I’ve heard a lot about serotonin and melatonin and it was nice to have someone break it down in an easy to understand way. The ease with which you were able to explain it means you yourself understand it very well so good job on your research. I definitely get the same feeling when the weather sucks. Rainy days are nap days for me.

  5. Meaghan Elizabeth Simone

    Really interesting topic, and as someone with SAD, I can relate a lot. It’s honestly a really confusing thing – in the winter it’s some easy to get sad, but I always feel more comfortable and happy with rainy and windy days than with sunny ones. Why? For me personally, I have SAD because in my life, many bad experiences and events occurred during that specific time, so now whenever that season comes around it just makes it so easy to get sad or upset. In other words, a third variable to consider would be what kind of events have happened in whatever season, and this can be completely separate from what weather makes you happier!

  6. Annalise Marie Pilitowski

    This post is very interesting to me because I have always been one to sleep more than necessary on rainy days because who wants to actually function during a rainy day. I actually wrote a comment on someone else’s post about rainy days being sleepy days. I do agree that weather can affect a persons mood, but i did find this article that lists 10 reasons why rainy days are good days.

  7. Daniella Cappello

    I think that weather 100% changes my mood. When I wake up to a nice, sunny day my mood is beyond happy. I want nothing more than to smile and be outside. However, on a gloomy rainy day I can never find the energy to leave my bed.

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