The human body does not easily tolerate heat. To maintain the optimal temperature for the organs - about +37 °C - it has to work in emergency mode: increase sweating and so cool down the surface of the skin. In the process, important micronutrients are removed from the body, and the risk of dehydration increases. But the heat affects not only the body, but also the brain and psyche. We tell you what we know about it.
😴 Bad moods and increased anxiety
The heat increases anxiety levels and decreases resistance to stress and mood swings. One possible reason for this is lack of sleep. Studies show that people find it harder to sleep in the heat, and sleep itself becomes shallow and intermittent.
In 2017, U.S. scientists analyzed data from 765,000 people over nine years and found that an increase of one degree Celsius in average monthly nighttime temperature yields three additional nights of restless sleep per month. Another study in Denmark found that on nights when temperatures rose above +30 °C, people slept 14 precious minutes less
😖 Productivity and cognitive abilities decrease
In 2006, scientists found that office workers' productivity decreases as soon as the indoor air warms up to +24 °C. And it continues to decline as the temperature rises.
Other studies have shown that schoolchildren and students find it harder to learn in the heat: they memorize information slower than usual, get distracted more often, and pass exams and tests worse.
😡 Aggression levels rise.
Another consequence of the heat is increased irritability and aggression. This increases the number of conflicts.
In 2019, the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research compared crime statistics and weather data in Los Angeles. On days when maximum temperatures reached +29.4 °C, violent crime rates increased by 5.7 percent. Property crimes were not affected by the heat.
The reason is most likely that high temperatures increase cortisol, adrenaline and testosterone levels in the human body. This cocktail is what makes us more irritable and aggressive
🤯 The disorders are exacerbated.
Mental health services in many countries have noted that on hot and humid days, patients with psychiatric disorders are more likely to have exacerbations and worsen their symptoms. Also, suicides and self-inflicted injuries increase on hot days.
Scientists do not yet fully understand what this has to do with it. Although it is known that overheating negatively affects the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, involved in the stabilization of emotions.
For many people, the heat makes them think for the first time about the critical state of the world's environment: global warming is one of its consequences. In most cases, such thoughts have a positive effect and a person begins to behave more ecologically.
But sometimes thoughts about the deplorable state of ecology lead to deterioration of the emotional state: strong anxiety, nervousness, sleep disorders occur. The term "eco-anxiety" is used to describe this condition. It is not considered a disease, but can theoretically lead to depression or anxiety disorder