We have a part of the brainstem called the diencephalon. Within the diencephalon, we have a structure called the epithalamus. Lastly, within the epithalamus, there is the pineal gland. The pineal gland is responsible for our production of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates circadian rhythms and our sleep cycles. It is nicknamed the "hormone of darkness" because it is inhibited by the light and is thus only produced in the dark. Melatonin levels fluctuate with the seasons in Canada due to the varying amounts of natural sunlight. The fluctuation of melatonin levels may cause seasonal affective disorder (aka SAD). Symptoms of this disorder include trouble and/or nausea upon waking, constant sleepiness, lethargy, irritability, and a negative mood. The increased sunshine that is associated with the onset of spring can actually be responsible for making people happier on a biological level because their levels of melatonin are decreased.
This topic has me thinking: if someone has trouble getting up in the morning, maybe if they were to leave their blinds or curtains open such that they wake up to bright morning sunlight, then their melatonin-producing receptors would be immediately inhibited, which may help they feel less sleepy and have an easier time getting out of bed. Maybe...?
During one of my very first posts on this blog, I raved and raved about Dr. Jason Lee and the talk he gave the first-year CCNM students' Unity Summit. Well, a similar version of this talk has now been posted on YouTube. Finally, I am able to share with you (and re-live it myself) the awesomeness of his talk. Please check the video out; it will help you to better understand naturopathic medicine and it will likely leave you feeling pretty inspired :)