Ever find yourself in a foul mood but you can’t figure out why?
Sometimes when you’re down in the dumps it’s simply a case of “the Monday’s.” Or maybe you can trace it back to something as simple as being stuck in traffic, or a comment a friend made.
But when you can’t pinpoint what’s making you more moody than usual it’s time to dig a bit deeper. Because, it turns out, some surprising things could be behind your glum feelings.
Following are three things you’ll be stunned to find out could be making you sad.
1. Eating a slice of cake:
Sure, when you pop a forkful of cake into your mouth it makes you feel happy. And just thinking about that chocolate chip cookie you’re going to devour at snack time probably puts a smile on your face.
But experts say that boost is just temporary. Because over time those good feelings are likely to come crashing back down.
Research has linked diets high in refined sugar to depression.1 For example, a study in Spain found folks who are very fond of commercial baked goods—such as pastries—have a 38 percent higher chance of developing depression.2
Other studies have linked sugary drinks and processed sugars to a higher risk of depression.3,4
And a recent study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, has connected sugary foods and drinks to common mental disorders and depression.5
Processed sugars contribute to chronic inflammation in your body. Researchers believe that the inflammation could be what triggers the mood problems.6 Other experts point to the addictive quality of sugar.
The bottom line is that doughnut might make you all smiles now. But eat too many of them and that smile will soon be replaced with a frown.
Solution: Slash the processed sugars from your diet. Opt for fresh fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth instead. Scientists say natural sugars aren’t as likely to trigger the same mood problems. Save the sugary treats for special occasions.
2. Forgetting your water bottle:
Even slight dehydration is enough to cause moodiness according to scientists at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition revealed not drinking enough could make us feel down in the dumps and have trouble concentrating.7
In a controlled experiment researchers triggered mild dehydration in a group of volunteers. After exercising, the researchers had the volunteers fill out a questionnaire designed to measure their mood.
The results were revealing.
The slightly dehydrated women had low mood scores. They reported they found it tough to concentrate and get work done. And on the days they were dehydrated they had headaches and felt fatigued and confused.
Men in another experiment had similar reactions. So no matter whether you’re a guy or a gal not drinking enough liquids could turn your sunny day cloudy.
Solution: Don’t forget to stay hydrated. And on hot days, or when you’re exercising, make sure you increase the amount of water you’re drinking. Like your water cold? Consider investing in a stainless steel, vacuum-sealed water bottle. It will keep your drinks icy all day long.
3. Sleeping in:
You know how important getting enough good quality sleep is to your health. Which means getting even MORE sleep must be even better for you, right?
Wrong. According to experts, making sleeping in a regular habit could backfire on you.
Clocking in at over nine hours of sleep nightly can cause your risk for diabetes, heart disease, dementia and depression to skyrocket. And experts say “long sleepers” are far more likely to suffer from psychiatric problems.8
In a two year study out of the Netherlands folks who slept longer than recommended were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.9 In another study on older adults, seniors who sleep over 10 hours had worse overall mental health than their peers who were normal sleepers.10
Both too little and too much sleep can interfere with your internal clock, called your circadian rhythm. And monkeying with your circadian rhythm can trigger mood problems
Solution: Don’t make sleeping in a regular habit. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep instead. Getting enough quality sleep is critical for good health. Just don’t overdo it.
If your mood suddenly heads south and you can’t figure out why one of these three things could be the culprit. Fix the problem and your mood at the same time.
1. “A cross-national relationship between sugar consumption and major depression?,” Depression and Anxiety, Volume 16, Issue 3, 2002, Pages 118–120
2. “Fast-food and commercial baked goods consumption and the risk of depression,” Volume 15, Issue 3, March 2012, pp. 424-432
3. “Sweetened Beverages, Coffee, and Tea and Depression Risk among Older US Adults,” PLOS One, Published: April 17, 2014
4. “High glycemic index diet as a risk factor for depression: analyses from the Women’s Health Initiative,” Am J Clin Nutr, First published June 24, 2015
5. “Sugar intake from sweet food and beverages, common mental disorder and depression: prospective findings from the Whitehall II study,” Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 6287 (2017)
6. “Depression and inflammation: Examining the link,” Current Psychiatry. 2013 June;12(6):24-32
7. “Mild Dehydration Affects Mood in Healthy Young Women,” J Nutr. 2012 Feb;142(2):382-8
8. “The Risks of Sleeping “Too Much”. Survey of a National Representative Sample of 24671 Adults (INPES Health Barometer),” PLoS One. 2014; 9(9): e106950
9. “Sleep duration, but not insomnia, predicts the 2-year course of depressive and anxiety disorders,” J Clin Psychiatry. 2014 Feb;75(2):119-26
10. “Sleep Duration and Health-Related Quality of Life among Older Adults: A Population-Based Cohort in Spain,” Sleep (2009) 32 (8): 1059-1068
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