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Springtime Asthenia: What It Is and Why It Occurs

Springtime Asthenia: What It Is and Why It Occurs

Published: 12 March, 2024 | 12'

The farewell of winter and the arrival of spring with the time change and the rise in temperature, can affect our body. During this period of change, it's common to feel more tired than usual and a lack of energy, but do you know why this happens?

Doctor Jacinto Valverde Navas, head of the Internal Medicine Service at the Beata María Ana de Jesús Hospital, helps us to better understand what is happening in our bodies during this change of season.

What is spring asthenia?

The term spring asthenia refers to the temporary disorder that individuals might suffer from with symptoms such as sadness, loss of appetite or fatigue., the doctor explains, “this occurs because our biological clock needs to adapt to the new climate and this drains our energy”.

Who is affected by spring asthenia?

As mentioned earlier, it's a temporary process that generally affects people between the ages of 20 and 50, though it has a higher presence among women. If the feeling of asthenia persists, it's recommended to consult a specialist, as it could be due to depression or anaemia.

At what time of the year does spring asthenia occur?

Asthenia usually occurs right with the changing of the seasons:

  • The so-called spring asthenia, which is the most common, normally begins with the change of season from winter to spring. This is when the main temperature change from a cold to a warmer climate happens, coinciding with the increase in daylight hours.
  • It can also occur in autumn, with similar symptoms, as a result of changing to winter time and the associated reduction of daylight hours, leaving behind the good weather and leading to the cold.

Common symptoms of spring asthenia

While the main generalised sensation of asthenia is tiredness or fatigue, causing a feeling of weakness on a general level, spring asthenia can present other symptoms. We tell you the main ones.

Physical and mental fatigue


“Asthenia can be mainly identified by general weakness, but it can also cause mental and physical fatigue, as well as excessive tiredness”, according to doctor Valverde.

Sleep alterations

As daylight hours change, the circadian rhythm of sleep is affected, causing alterations in our sleep routine. Thus, during the asthenia processes, we can experience sleep alterations, leading to drowsiness during the day and feeling low on energy from not having a proper rest at night.

Difficulty concentrating

The symptoms of asthenia are interconnected, so if we're not having adequate rest at night, be it that we're not sleeping enough hours or not getting restorative sleep, during the day we will feel more tired and dazed. For this reason, we might experience difficulty concentrating.

Mood changes

Irritability or mood swings are also common in this process, experiencing for example unexplained sadness. “Feeling more tired it is common not to feel like doing anything, so we can be more irritable, possibly causing episodes of anxiety realising that we can't manage everything we need to do or pushing ourselves more than usual”, says the doctor.


Headaches can occur due to the disruption of night-time rest. “Our brain is affected by the change of any routine”, according to doctor Valverde, “the fact of adapting the sleeping schedules and even our eating habits can trigger any kind of headache”.

Loss of appetite

The change of season and the presence of asthenia induce changes in our routines and physiological processes. Appetite can decrease during this stage, and there can be weight loss.

How long does spring asthenia last?

As doctor Valverde explains well, “spring asthenia is not usually considered a clinical condition, but it has a seasonal character, as it occurs specifically when the seasons change”.

“But there's no reason to worry, these symptoms are always mild and never last more than three weeks, he adds, although during this time it is normal for the physical condition of tiredness, discomfort or irritability to affect daily activities and interpersonal relationships.

Causes of springtime lethargy, why does it occur? 

Springtime lethargy originates in the hypothalamus, a gland situated within the brain that regulates, among other things, temperature, thirst, appetite, sleep and wakefulness. This gland is disrupted by a change in the weather, which means it can be directly impacted by the arrival of a new season.

More than a psychopathological disorder, it's a temporary physical and mental disorder, related to the change in daylight saving time resulting in longer daylight hours and a rise in temperature. Furthermore, changes resulting from shifts in humidity and atmospheric pressure are also contributing factors.

It can also be linked to prolonged stress, excessive physical activity, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and also incorrect or deficient nutritional habits.

Environmental changes

With the arrival of good weather, our biological clock must adapt itself to new climatic conditions, this equates to extra energy expenditure on routine activities.

  • This might be due to lower levels of beta-endorphins in the bloodstream, which are responsible for managing the sense of well-being and discomfort.
  • Due to the existence of pollen in the atmosphere. 
  • Due to processes linked to mood states.
  • Or due to certain aspects related to sleep disorders.

Perception of health depends on the individual. We might feel sluggish due to drowsiness because of the time change or conversely, increased daylight might stimulate us, leading to increased activity.

Biological clock and changes in light

Our biological clock is programmed by the external stimuli we perceive, and one of these is undoubtedly light, which acts as the synchronizer of all cycles occurring in our bodies. 

Upon exposure to light, a group of cells located in the retina send information to the part of the brain housing this clock, which is charge of timing the processes occurring in our bodies. This specific part is the suprachiasmatic nucleus, located in the hypothalamus.

This implies various internal processes that are sensitive to environmental changes. For this reason, an increase in the number of hours of exposure to natural light, which is generally recommended for maintaining good mental and physical health, can temporarily destabilise these processes until they adjust to changes. 

Advice for combating lethargy

According to Dr. Valverde, “this springtime lethargy disorder that we consider transient, doesn't require specific treatment but a process of adaptation of the body to the new environmental conditions”.

Prevention of Springtime Lethargy

"Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the basis for keeping our body and its immune system in top shape, serving as the primary way to prevent external factors from impacting our energy levels during seasons of change", explains the doctor, "supplementing the diet with dietary supplements can be beneficial in providing an extra boost of vitality and helping to minimise the impact of the seasonal change".

Following certain guidelines will help us in combating the challenges of season changes and symptoms of springtime lethargy:

  • Maintain a balanced and diverse diet, based on fresh foods rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle with the practice of moderate physical activity.
  • Have a proper sleep routine and sleep the required number of hours each day.
  • Live a relaxed lifestyle and avoid stress.
  • Use dietary supplements, always under supervision from a healthcare professional.

Adapting to season change

With the aim of reducing the potential symptoms that occur due to both the seasonal and daily routine changes, we could start a couple of weeks prior to the seasonal change date by adopting measures like:

  • Regularise sleeping and eating times.
  • Gradually adjust the time over this period until gradually reaching the official time.
  • Begin easy exercises.

There's no specific treatment to ease the symptoms of springtime lethargy. However, it is possible to minimise its effects by speeding up the process of the body's adaptation through the implementation of certain measures.

Sleep well and adjust sleep routine

Anticipating and gradually adopting the daily routine to the time change is one of the measures we can take to try to reduce some of the symptoms related to lethargy.

One of the fundamental measures to anticipate and adapt to the changing seasons is maintaining a proper sleep routine: springtime lethargy affects secretion of melatonin (hormone inducing sleep, which our body naturally produces) and can cause sleep disorders, leading to insufficient and non-restorative rest. 

Maintaining a proper or regular sleep schedule, meaning going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, as far as possible. "We should try to maintain the number of sleep hours each day", recommends the doctor, "as well as creating a suitable sleeping environment and adopting some habits that will help induce sleep like eating dinner at least an hour before bedtime, reserving the bedroom solely for sleeping and closing the blinds if there's daylight".

Healthy eating

“Proper nutrition will allow our body to obtain the necessary nutrients from foods for the normal operation of the nervous and immune systems thus fighting off asthenia”, Dr. Valverde informs us. To do this, we should follow a varied and balanced diet.

Consume foods containing adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals

Our diet should adjust to the needs that the new environmental conditions produce in the body, “I recommend consuming less high-calorie food and increasing the presence of fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables in our daily diet”, he adds.

Maintain an order in meals

During the day, a certain order and routine in meals should be maintained. Additionally, it's recommended that the breakfast provides enough energy with the intake of cereals, preferably whole grains due to their fibre and nutrient content, along with fruit and dairy. On the other hand, evening meals should be lighter and taken at least two hours before bedtime to prevent digestion from interfering with sleep.

Drink enough water

drinking water

Hydration also plays an important role. For this reason, at least two litres of water should be consumed each day or complemented with infusions or juices made from natural fruit.

Also, particularly in warm periods like spring and summer, our body perspires more and needs more fluids.

  • Avoid consuming alcohol and limit caffeine intake

Both alcohol and caffeine can alter sleep patterns, so avoiding or moderating their consumption will help us maintain a correct rest routine during the process of change and adaptation to the new season.

Physical exercise

Practising regular physical exercise helps to confront symptoms of asthenia such as apathy, fatigue, or altered sleep cycle. In addition, moderate exercise releases dopamine and serotonin, hormones related to happiness and the feeling of fulfilment.

In this way, physical activity will help us speed up the adaptation process, facilitating stress relief and improved sleep, which will be more restorative.

Choose moderate aerobic activities

Carrying out at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week is enough to stay active and start noticing the benefits of doing exercise, such as better mood and rest, improved mobility and joint flexibility, improved cardiorespiratory endurance, among others.

Some examples of moderate physical activity are brisk walking, dancing, swimming, and even doing household chores.

Carry out exercise and activities in the open air

Good weather and more sunlight will be the perfect excuse to spend more time outside, so trying to do exercise outdoors will allow us to take full advantage of its benefits. It can increase vitality, improve well-being and self-esteem, common symptoms during springtime asthenia.

During the winter, sunlight is much more reduced than in spring and summer, so during these seasons we should try to expose ourselves to sunlight every day to take full advantage of its benefits. One of its main benefits is that sunlight facilitates the production of vitamin D in our skin and this, in turn, helps the absorption of calcium, a nutrient key to the wellbeing of our bones.

Of course, this exposure to sunlight is recommended in the morning hours. If we are going to be exposed for a much longer time, especially in the afternoon, it is essential to apply cream with a sun protection factor (SPF), which protects the skin and prevents premature ageing.

Natural ingredients for asthenia

Adequate nutrition that is varied and rich in nutrients is the basis for providing our bodies with the necessary amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins, and water. Additionally, we can supplement it with dietary supplements during periods of springtime asthenia.

Dr. Valverde indicates that “there are natural ingredients such as Royal Jelly, pollen and propolis, along with other supplements that include vitamins, minerals or amino acids in the form of dietary supplements”. He also adds that “the combined action of these active ingredients is believed to be beneficial in these cases with the aim of overcoming physical and mental fatigue”.

Other ingredients that can provide an extra boost in extraordinary situations include maca and guarana, and these can easily be added to our diet.

  • Royal Jelly

Royal Jelly has been used traditionally since ancient Greece as it promoted physical and intellectual capacities, as well as being a symbol of longevity and fertility.

The Royal Jelly helps to combat fatigue and tiredness, due to its unique combination of proteins, sugars, lipids, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. The amino acids present reach 29, and out of these, 10 are essential for the human body. Additionally, it is the food of the queen bee and is characterised by its ratio of unsaturated fatty acids that participate in energy metabolism, highlighting the 10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid (10-HDA).

The usually ingested doses reach up to 2 gr per day, in adults. The individual intake will depend on the effects of spring asthenia on our bodies. It is important to note that according to the Spanish Food Authority (AESAN) there are no maximum intake limits with royal jelly.

  • Open Pollen

The pollen contains a wide variety of actives in its composition such as proteins, amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids and fatty acids, as well as phenolic compounds, enzymes and coenzymes, along with vitamins and other bioelements. Thanks to this high nutritional value, it is useful to promote appetite. For this reason, it has commonly been used during periods of asthenia. 

The European Food Authority (EFSA on hold) recognises the usefulness of pollen for stimulating appetite and in states of asthenia (3135), as well as helping to stimulate the immune response and maintain resistance to allergies (3136, 4695).

Specifically, the open bee pollen possesses a very good assimilation by the body. In adults, the daily dose can reach up to 2 gr, and likewise, there are no maximum daily intake limits by the AESAN. 

  • Purified Propolis

The propolis is a substance produced by bees, and like royal jelly, it also contains various nutrients and actives with up to twelve types of flavonoids, among which galangin, pinocembrin and catechin stand out, two phenolic acids, cinnamic and caffeic and resveratrol. 

In its “raw” composition, propolis has other inactive substances such as wax. Therefore, to take full advantage of these flavonoids, propolis goes through different processes to separate these inactive substances that make up up to 90% of its composition and thus achieve a purified propolis

This being the case, in dietary supplements that contain propolis, they should contain a minimum flavonoid content of 10%.

In addition to flavonoids, propolis contains important vitamins, such as B1, B2 B6, C and E and minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, copper, zinc, manganese and iron, which can be useful during processes of asthenia, helping our body's metabolic processes.

Vitamins and minerals to combat spring asthenia

Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients required by the body in very small quantities, but that are still essential and of vital importance for its proper functioning. In fact, they must be ingested daily as they are not produced by our body, but used and/or stored. They directly participate in the functioning of the nervous and immune systems, which is why they are of interest when symptoms of asthenia appear. They are present in fruits, vegetables, cereals and legumes.

The B vitamin complex and vitamin C are the most recommended during the period of asthenia, as they promote energy metabolism, normal functioning of the nervous system and help to reduce tiredness and fatigue. Among the minerals we can mention magnesium not only for its participation in energy metabolism, but also because it promotes muscle function.

What to do if the symptoms of asthenia persist?

Astenia biological clock

The symptoms of spring asthenia usually appear with the change of climate, normally coinciding with the change of season from winter to summer, with a duration of two to three weeks. But, if these symptoms persist for a longer time, it is advisable to consult a doctor.

When to consult a doctor?

“In the case that any of the symptoms are intense and prevents you from carrying out your daily tasks, it is not advisable to self-diagnose, as your GP will be the most suitable person to determine what is happening to you and to be able to indicate the guidelines to follow”, the doctor indicates.

Persistent symptoms for more than two weeks

It is recommended to consult a GP or specialist if other symptoms are added different from those of spring asthenia, such as extreme fatigue and tiredness, fever, cough or nasal congestion, to obtain a precise diagnosis and rule out other possible health problems of greater significance (anaemia, decompensations in chronic patients, viral causes, allergies, etc.).

It should be borne in mind that asthenia is not a psychological disorder, as is commonly believed, but if the feeling of tiredness or sadness persists for several weeks, a specialist must assess whether it is not another problem that needs to be treated (stress, anxiety, depression, etc.).


Content created with the collaboration of Dr Jacinto Valverde Navas. This article is informational and does not replace the consultation of a specialist.

Doctor Jacinto ValverdeAbout the Specialist

Doctor Jacinto Valverde Navas

With over 30 years of experience, Dr Jacinto Valverde Navas is the head of the Internal Medicine service at the Beata María Ana de Jesús Hospital in Madrid, where he exercises clinical care, complete and scientific of the patient from an integral perspective.

Health Specialists