Extreme Heat and Reduced Cognitive Performance in Non-Air-Conditioned Buildings

A study that tracked 44 students in their late teens and early 20s showed that those who were living in dorms without air conditioning performed lower on cognitive tests. As reported by MedicalXpress, the differences in cognitive function were particularly noticeable when outside temperatures decreased, but remained elevated inside. Researchers said this underscores the need to create buildings that address the health impacts of extreme heat.

Beyond daytime temperatures, one of the first things that come to my mind is how much room temperature at night can affect how you sleep. If ever there were an argument for a cooled-down room in summer’s heat, it would be to keep your bedroom no higher than 70 degrees, preferably between 60 and 68 degrees F, at night. Since sleep directly impacts your cognitive abilities during the day, keeping your room cooler at night not only can induce sleep, but help you sleep longer and better, leaving you more refreshed the next day.

For those who are interested, cryotherapy is a strategy that some employ to boost norepinephrine in the brain, which is involved in focus and attention. It also improves mood and alleviates pain, partly because it lowers inflammation. You can increase norepinephrine twofold just by getting into 40-degree water for 20 seconds, or 57-degree water for a few minutes.

On the flip side, if you’re someone who enjoys the benefits of sauna baths (as opposed to living in a building that is a sauna all the time) remember that the kind of sauna you use can make a big difference. A wet sauna heats the air using water and heat, and so it produces steam and humidity. Dry heat saunas don't produce humidity, but either heat the room, or heat your body from the inside out.

An infrared sauna works by penetrating your tissues with infrared rays using lower temperatures. You get hotter, faster and deeper in your tissue than with a traditional dry sauna, but the room does not get as hot.
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