Why do some people feel miserable when the weather is cloudy, rainy and gray?

Ask Tom Why
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Dear Tom,

I am always miserable when the weather is cloudy, rainy and gray. I am 54 years old and this has been a problem for a long, long time.

Ralph London,
Chicago

Dear Ralph,

You have expressed a feeling that has considerable validity. Researchers looked at weather records and medical data of 274,000 patients in Sweden between 1998 and 2013 and came to the startling conclusion that there was an increased risk of heart attacks during periods of cold weather, especially when the temperature dropped lower than the middle 30s.

This was reported by David Erlinge, the leader of the study. Several possible explanations were presented: People tend to exercise less and eat more unhealthy foods during extended periods of gloomy weather. Another possible explanation: Arteries tend to narrow and blood pressure increases when the weather is gloomy.

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