Experts have long tried to better understand how weather influences mood, health, and a person’s overall well-being. While some of these studies have been well documented, shedding light on its impact on the human body, others are still not yet fully understood as scientists continue to explore this phenomenon.

Mental health

Several factors contribute to a person’s mental health as it relates to weather. For example, it’s widely known that sun exposure can increase one’s levels of serotonin, a chemical that regulates mood that’s often called a “feel-good” hormone. So when there is a drop in the barometric pressure and it’s a dark and dreary day, it can make someone feel depressed, lethargic, or both.

Seasonal affective disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that affects people at certain times of the year. There are two classifications for SAD: fall and winter, and spring and summer. Fall and winter SAD is most prevalent due to daylight saving time and the reduced hours of daylight.

Overall, SAD usually starts in early adulthood between the ages of eighteen and thirty and affects about 5 percent of American adults, with women being four times more likely than men to experience this condition. A milder symptom, defined as winter blues, impacts about 10 to 20 percent of the US population.

What Causes SAD?

Though scientists are still studying the causes, they believe there are several reasons why someone may experience SAD.

Brain chemical imbalance

Levels of serotonin can decrease during the winter months due to the reduced hours of daylight.

Too much melatonin

Lack of sunlight may increase melatonin levels, which can disrupt sleep patterns.

Vitamin D deficiency

Because sunlight produces serotonin and helps to boost vitamin D levels, decreased sunshine during the winter months can reduce both.

Negative thoughts

Scientists are not sure if this is a cause or effect of SAD, but they believe that thinking about winter can initiate anxiety, stress, and negativity.

Change in the biological clock

A person’s biological clock can shift during the change of seasons, which can disrupt sleep patterns, hormone levels, and mood.

Symptoms of fall and winter SAD can include:

  • Fatigue and low energy
  • Depression, anxiety, and irritability
  • Insomnia or sleepiness and oversleeping
  • Changes in appetite or weight gain
  • Cravings for sweet and high-carbohydrate foods
  • Heaviness in the arms and legs
  • Difficulty concentrating

Symptoms of spring and summer SAD can include:

  • Insomnia
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Feelings of agitation or anxiety

It’s normal to have some down days when you may feel unmotivated, tired, and irritable, but if the aforementioned symptoms persist for several days in a row, it may be time to consult your doctor.

Weather and physical well-being

The weather can wreak havoc on people who already experience certain health challenges. Biometeorologists have conducted studies on how humans are affected by weather, how it contributes to diseases, and how it creates changes inside the body. Here are just some of the conditions that weather can worsen.


A sudden drop in the barometric pressure can cause preexisting conditions such as joint pain, migraine, and sinus pressure to be exacerbated, as well as discomfort for people prone to eczema, muscle pain, or fatigue.

Blood pressure

Blood pressure is one of the important functions impacted by weather conditions. Rapid fluctuations in temperature can make it more difficult for blood to pass through the veins and arteries, potentially increasing the risk of blood clots or heart attack.

Blood sugar and diabetes

A person with diabetes may find it difficult to control their sugars if there is a drop in the barometric pressure or if the weather is cold. This is due to the blood viscosity increasing, which impacts the body’s ability to manage insulin levels.

Asthma and allergies

As seasons change, people who suffer from asthma and allergies can be significantly affected by warmer weather and pollen in the air.

Weather can have a profound effect on a person, both mentally and physically. It’s important to understand the signs and symptoms of weather-related health problems so you can get proper medical help.