I think that we can all agree that we feel better when the sun is shining. I mean, who really welcomes those gray February days?
Well a new study has found that there is a correlation between ADHD and sunny regions. The sunniest regions of the world have the lowest rates of ADHD diagnosis – about half that of the ones who get the least sunlight.
Even after scientists adjusted their data to account for things like race, male to female ratio, and socioeconomic factors that might account for an ADHD diagnosis, the correlation was still there.
One theory that they are exploring is the fact that many people with ADHD have body clocks that are out of tune, causing them to have trouble falling asleep at night and waking in the morning. Since this body rhythm is controlled by light, it may offer an explanation as to why those of us in the least sunny regions are more likely to have ADHD.
In addition to our night owl lifestyle, we tend to spend our evenings with smart phones, computers, and televisions, all of which emit blue light, which disrupts melatonin release, which helps us to sleep.
People in sunny areas get a blast of sunlight early in the morning which helps them wake up and stay on a proper body clock.
Those of us in less sunny areas don’t always get a nice sunny morning each day, and with our body clocks already interrupted, you can see how we start the day at a disadvantage.
Of course, at this point all of this is theory. And don’t forget – the study is saying that the amount of cases of ADHD that are diagnosed is lower in sunny areas, not that it doesn’t exist at all. It’s also no guarantee that moving to a sunny clime would lessen your symptoms. (Nice idea, though.)
I guess the most useful thing that we can get from this study for now is to limit our contact with technology in the hours before bed so that we can get a better night’s sleep and start tomorrow off in a better way.