Equinoxes and the circadian rhythm

The spring and autumn equinoxes lie halfway between the shortest and longest days of the year. At these points, day and night are mostly even lengths all over the world.

These conditions may suit the human circadian rhythm - the daily cycle that affects the body's sleep, wake, eat, and other biological processes. The benefits of a well-entrained body clock include modifying your metabolism, decreasing cardiovascular disease and better eyesight.

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theguardian.com

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The two spring dates

For people living in the northern hemisphere, spring has two official start dates.

Meteorologists consider 1 March a spring day, according to the seasons formalised in the 1900s. However, the astronomical seasons show spring starting at the vernal equinox, which falls on 20 March.

The good light at the onset of spring is brighter and makes spring feel so central. Daylight is noticeably increasing in length, and the sky is bluer.

Bright light can make us happier. It can be as effective in treating depression as Prozac. Some data reveals that light exposure during the day is related to the quality of sleep, which will affect emotions and systemic health.

Research associates a deficiency in vitamin D with depression. Spring is when we can expect to start making vitamin D from sun exposure.

However, if the UV index is less than two, then you will not make enough vitamin D in a reasonable time. To get the full benefit, you have to expose unprotected skin.

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What is depression?

From a medical standpoint, depression is defined​ as a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of depressed mood or sadness and the often profound loss of interest in things that usually bring you pleasure.

Depression affects how you feel, think, and behave and can interfere with your ability to function and carry on with daily life. There are many different causes of depression, some of which we don't fully understand. 

Seven of the more common types of depression include the following.

What makes fireworks so appealing

The reason we like fireworks so much: they scare us.

  • Like lightning, the bright flashes warn us something is about to happen. This activates the amygdala, a little ball of nerves in the brain that detects fear.
  • After the lights have stimulated the anticipation of a threat, the resounding crack of the firework confirms this perception in our brains. In response, our reward centers release a surge of dopamine (the feel-good neurotransmitter).
Why Star Walking?

Star walking is turning out to be a welcome antidote for pandemic times. By visiting hills and valleys after sunset, outdoor enthusiasts not only gain all the health benefits of being in nature, they find empty trails unfolding under a limitless night sky.

Hiking at night isn’t uncommon. Plenty of people hike after dark to get to campsites or watch the sunrise from a mountaintop. Star walking goes a step further by blending hiking with stargazing.

Rather than heading to an observatory or setting up a telescope in your backyard, star walking takes you on a brief journey to look at the stars from different viewpoints.

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