Besides making us feel too hot or too cold, the temperature has several other unusual impacts on our bodies. If you’ve ever wondered how extreme heat and cold can affect us, read on to learn more about some fascinating things that can happen to our minds and bodies.
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Heat Pulls Water From Our Bloodstream
When the sun peaks and the temperature begins to sizzle, our bodies go to work trying to cool us down. When our internal temperatures start to get too high, our heart rates increase and vessels expand to bring extra blood to the outer layer of the skin to release heat. If that doesn’t work, our body’s sweat glads then go to work. Our sweat glands actually draw water directly from our bloodstream to make sweat. The sweat then comes out of our pores to release heat and evaporate to cool us down.
Image via Flickr by U.S. Army Garrison, Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia 22427
Temperatures Affect Our Mood
If you’ve ever thought people seem angrier when the temperatures go up, it’s not in your head. Researchers have discovered a link between higher temperatures and human aggression. In on study, intergroup conflicts increased by 14 percent when the temperatures went up. Interestingly, researchers also found that when it rained more than expected, people seemed to get more aggressive. Another study found that women reported decreased life satisfaction on days with higher temperatures and more rain.
Low Temperatures Help the Body Sleep
Not only can temperatures affect us when we’re awake, they also play a role in how well we sleep. When we get ready to go to sleep, our brains automatically decrease our body temperatures. We can help our bodies initiate sleep by keeping our bedroom temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower temperatures can help us fall asleep faster and get better sleep.
Humidity Also Plays a Key Role
While temperatures obviously affect us in several ways, humidity levels also play a key role in everything from our comfort to our health. When humidity levels are too high, our bodies have to work even harder to cool us down. However, our bodies don’t like it when humidity levels are too low either. Low humidity can severely impact our skin and respiratory systems, causing chapped lips, dry nasal passages, a sore throat, and dry and itchy skin. While you have no control over humidity levels outside, a ventilator in your home’s HVAC system can help moderate indoor humidity levels.
Extreme Heat Causes Hallucinations
It turns out the idea that desert travelers might hallucinate an oasis isn’t that far-fetched after all. In 2014, tennis professional Frank Dancevic was playing in the Australian Open in Melbourne during record heat. He says during the first set he got dizzy and started seeing Snoopy on the court before passing out. Losing too much body fluid from sweating can cause a temperature drop in blood flow to the brain. This can lead to confusion, dizziness, and loss of consciousness.
From changing our mood to impacting our comfort, temperature and humidity play a big role in how our minds and our bodies function.