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Research result: This color increases the risk of winter blues
When the days are short and then mostly gray and rainy in autumn and winter, some people experience a so-called winter depression. A UK researcher is now reporting that people with a certain eye color are more prone to this condition.
Dark and cold seasons leave traces
The short days, which ensure that it is still dark on the way to work in the morning and on the way home again, as well as the cold weather leave only a few without a trace. Many people develop a seasonal depression (SAD) in the dark season, which is also known as winter depression or as winter or autumn blues. A UK researcher is now reporting that eye color also affects whether you are susceptible to this disease.
Powerless and sad
In addition to the classic symptoms of depression, winter depression also shows "atypical symptoms such as cravings instead of loss of appetite and increased sleep instead of falling asleep and staying asleep," explains the German Depression Aid Foundation on its website.
According to experts, the disease also manifests itself through listlessness, nervousness, tension or sad thoughts.
An estimated 800,000 people in Germany are said to be affected by the seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
For some, the condition can be serious and severe, explains Lance Workman, a professor of psychology at the University of South Wales (UK) in a post by The Conversation magazine.
According to Workman, experts are still undecided as to what is causing the disease, and some believe that it does not exist.
His own research has shown that eye color is a factor that influences whether someone develops SAD or not.
Experts do not agree on the causes
According to his statement, some experts assume that the so-called winter blues are triggered by less sun exposure in the cold months.
This would suggest that SAD should be more common in countries further from the equator (such as Iceland). However, a number of studies have not supported this theory.
Another theory is that SAD occurs when our circadian rhythm is interrupted as the days get shorter.
And other explanations are based on the fact that this is due to an imbalance of serotonin and melatonin in the body.
According to Workman, all of these theories are inconsistent and sometimes contradictory.
Since winter depression is probably due to a combination of many biological and physiological factors, these different explanations for the causes of SAD can be linked.
People with light or blue eyes are less likely to be affected
According to his own statements, Workman and colleagues have found evidence that a person's eye color can have a direct impact on how susceptible someone is to SAD.
For the study, which was published in the journal "Journal of Behavioral Science & Psychology", the researchers selected 175 students from two universities (one in South Wales, the other in Cyprus) with regard to mood, weight, appetite, sleep duration and social activity in the warm and cold season.
They found that subjects with light or blue eyes performed significantly worse in the seasonal pattern assessment questionnaire than those with dark or brown eyes.
These results are consistent with previous research, which found that brown or dark-eyed people were significantly more depressed than people with blue eyes.
According to the scientist, the reason that eye color can make some people more susceptible to depression or mood swings may be due to the amount of light that an individual's eyes can process.
Clear eyes with little color pigment are enough to process images and produce the mood-regulating hormones serotonin and melatonin.
Brown eyes need far more light for this. However, this is rarely present in winter, which is why there is an imbalance of melatonin and serotonin, which is reflected in a bad mood.
But even though people with lighter eyes are less likely to develop winter depression than those with darker eyes, according to Workman they are by no means immune to it.
Active against the winter blues
According to health experts, those affected by winter blues should not simply indulge in them, but should do something about them actively.
According to experts, a lot of exercise is particularly advantageous here. For example, it is known that regular endurance training has an antidepressant effect.
If that's too much for you, you should at least go for a walk more often, and instead of taking the bus or car, take the bike to work and get some fresh air.
Further tips and home remedies for winter depression: Make sure you drink enough fluids. Because in addition to sport and light, water also helps to reduce symptoms such as tiredness and lack of drive.
Food also plays an important role in how fit or tired people feel. Local vegetables such as cabbage and the like can help you stay fit in winter. In general, the menu should not contain too much fat.
Swap showers are also recommended to boost the circulation. (ad)