High Temperatures and Humidity Make Us Dumber

Do you feel off on those super hot Summer days?

July 12, 2018

© Chakrapong Worathat | Dreamstime.com

The weather has been pretty hot this Summer, right? The last week in June we saw temperatures in the high 90's and heat indexes easily reaching to about 105-degrees! Yuck! Days like those are rough because when you walk out of an air-conditioned building you feel like you're literally hitting a wall. Even the pool isn't a pleasant place when it gets this hot outside. 

On July 4th, I spent quite a few hours out in the sun and heat. I was hydrating well or so I thought, but I began getting a pounding headache, tunnel vision, and I stopped sweating. I even got up on stage when announcing the band and said "happy St. Patrick's Day!" I knew it wasn't March and I was wearing my red, white, and blue. 

A new study out of Harvard University may explain my little on-stage slip-up. Researchers conducted a study of students living in both air-conditioned and nonair-conditioned dorms and found that the students exposed to the heat performed worse cognitively. Essentially this means our thinking could be clouded and we may not be as sharp as we would be in cooler conditions. 

And the heat isn't going away anytime soon. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said 2017 was the third-warmest year ever recorded globally, while 2016 was the warmest, and 2015 was the second-warmest. 

Test scores were over 13-percent lower for students in the dorms without AC! Also, I notice that people just act a fool when the weather gets really hot. They seem to forget how to drive, walk, and ride bikes. So if you've been feeling off intellectually over the last few weeks, you can blame it on good old Mother Nature.