Everyone gets cranky from time to time, but when you’re a perpetual raincloud over your friends, family or co-workers, it may be time to reevaluate your mood. Learn what you can do to change your disposition and enjoy the sunny side of life.
Ever feel like you hate everything and everyone? Or you reach your boiling point so quickly that chemists should study you? You’re not alone – more and more women are finding themselves extra cranky. Luckily, science has some explanations and solutions to offer. Learn the most common causes of crankiness and how to fight off your bad mood.
1. Your Hormones
If you’ve noticed that your bad moods occur around the same time every month, the culprit could be your hormones. As women move through their monthly cycle, their ovaries produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone. One week before your period, your progesterone levels are at their peak and then they suddenly drop, which triggers crankiness.
PMS, short for premenstrual syndrome, is thought to be caused by these fluctuating hormone levels. Another change in hormone levels occurs during menopause, where your progesterone drops down to zero. This fluctuation can also lead to irritability.
Solution: If you experience crankiness around these times, you have to build up your defenses. Studies have found that omega-3s can help prevent the symptoms of PMS and menopause. Take 600 mg of DHA omega-3s daily.
Consuming caffeine, even in moderation, can cause anxiety. Caffeine stimulates the brain, which makes it addictive. When people become addicted to caffeine, they may experience symptoms of withdrawal including headaches, fatigue and moodiness.
Solution: You should only consume 200 mg or 2 (8 oz) cups of caffeinated beverages a day.
3. Not Eating Enough
Your brain needs glucose for energy. If your blood sugar levels are too low, you might feel sluggish, irritable and experience difficulty concentrating.
Solution: To prevent low blood sugar, eat healthy snacks every 3 hours.
4. Your Bedroom
The correlation between sleep and your mood is no secret. But you could still be tired and cranky regardless of how early you hit the hay. Studies have shown that even dim light, for example the glow from your TV, reading lamp or even your alarm clock, in the bedroom may increases cases of depression. This light decreases the production of the hormone melatonin. Without steady levels of melatonin, your normal sleep patterns can become disturbed. Think about this the next time you wake up on the wrong side of bed.
Solution: Do a lights-out check before bed. Turn off all the lights and try setting a sleep timer on the TV if that helps you fall asleep. Turn your alarm clock away from you.
5. Your Diet
The comfort food you grab when you’re in a bad mood could actually be the cause of your bad mood in the first place. Diets rich in trans and saturated fats have been linked to increased depression. Additionally, new studies indicate that these diets can negatively affect cognition. Junk food and fast food negatively affect the connections between your brain cells called synapses.
Solution: Look for foods packed with vitamins and minerals that will sustain you throughout the day instead of the fatty, sugary processed foods that may taste good, but leave you with no energy.
6. Your Thyroid
Your thyroid is a gland that makes the hormones that help to regulate your metabolism. In a condition called hypothyroidism, you experience a deficiency of thyroid hormone that leaves you fatigued, sluggish and depressed. The condition has other symptoms including weight gain, increased sensitivity to cold, pale dry skin, constipation, and brittle nails and hair.
Solution: If these symptoms apply to you, see your doctor and get your thyroid levels checked. Hypothyroidism is treatable.