Singing the Winter Blues:
For this assignment I decided that I wanted to interview people in the college about seasonal mood changes (aka the winter blues). According to Mayo Clinic is it hard to diagnose someone with only seasonal depression, as it is a subtype of depression or bipolar disorder. The winter blues can affect 5-13% of the population with symptoms of low energy, irritability and inability to concentrate. I felt that interviewing different college students would give me a chance to understand mood changes during the winter season. I interviewed 3 students, one in the Bachelor of Design in Architecture, Bachelor of Science in Architecture and a grad student outside of the arch major.
- How many hours do you spend in school a day?
- Do you have multiple classes in different buildings or do you tend to stick to one building all day?
-Do you experience any mood shifts during the winter months?
-How do you feel?
(follow up questions)
-- concentration in school
-- amount of sleep
-What strategies do you use to get feel better when you feel down/depressed during the winter?
--Both architecture students didn't have classes outside of rapson and spent the most time in studio (about 9-10 hours)
--The grad student had multiple classes in different buildings and spent about 4 hours in school.
--Both architecture students felt that they were isolated in studio and missed the sun during the dead and darker parts of winter. The grad student felt that she got out enough to get some vitamin D between classes.
Some quotes from the interviews:
"I tend to get a lot of sleep in the winter, but sometimes at the cost of homework."
"I also need more sleep to feel awake during the day, but often do not get enough."
"My average amount of sleep a night is probably about 5.5 hours of sleep, maybe less."
Strategies to feel better:
"Going on walks, working in well lit areas, working around others as to not feel isolated"
"Also, I tend to read/ be as close as possible to the heat/light.. Like a sunny spot or the fireplace."
"My best strategy to get myself cheered up in the winter is probably make hot chocolate or take a nap."
It's interesting that naps and daylight seem to be the most needed thing during the winter. According to WebMD, experts are not exactly sure what causes the winter blues but might be due to lack of sunlight during the dark and frigid winter months. Lack of sunlight upsets the sleep-wake cycle of the body's natural biological clock, which is regulated by light and darkness.
Moving forward with my project I think I would like to look more into ways of getting light or better sleep:
--College students need a better way to keep track of their sleep schedule during the dark winters because many of them are not getting enough sleep due to upset in the sleep-wake cycle.
--Architecture students need a way to be exposed to daylight while in studio because many are stuck in one building for up to 9 hours or more.