Summer heatwaves suck, but there are tricks that’ll help you pull through.
Ever stumble home at the end of a boiling day feeling like you literally have no f—-s left to give about your fellow humans? Blame the heat — high temperatures bring on bad attitudes.
That was proven in av2017 paper published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, which determined hot weather makes people less “prosocial”, or less willing to assist others.
The research, conducted out of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, found uncomfortable heat makes shop assistants significantly less helpful, and people less inclined to do favours for a charity.
Even thinking about exposure to uncomfortable heat made the study’s subjects more fatigued and less positive, cutting the likelihood they’d help others.
So as well as making you uncomfortable, heat might make you less pleasant to be around. That’s bad news for anyone facing down a heatwave, but the good news is there are expert tips on keeping cool.
Cool your home
Kevin Lomas, a Loughborough University professor who has studied overheating in homes, offers a no-nonsense solution: shut your curtains and windows during the day, and open them up at night.
“If you allow sunlight to beam in all day the heat … becomes trapped in furniture raising the temperature inside your home by up to 4c,” he said in a statement during the peak of the English summer.
“It’s the equivalent of having a 1Kw or 2Kw electric fire going.”
Obviously, it’s important to drink plenty of water during the heat — but it’s not the only way to stay hydrated.
“There are some great foods that you can give your children to help boost their water intake on hot days,” said Loughborough psychologist Dr Emma Haycraft.
“Fruits, such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and watermelon all contain lots of water and are a summery, healthy snack.”
She added that ice cubes and ice lollies made from fruit and vegetables can replace cups of water, and that foods such as yoghurt — which is more than 80 per cent water — can also keep fluids high.
How to sleep in the heat
Enduring baking nights is near impossible because your brain has to work so hard to keep your body temperature under control that it keeps inadvertently waking you up.
“If people are struggling to sleep in the heat, some helpful actions can be to make sure you’re sleeping in lightweight cotton instead of nylon, and try to get some air circulation by using a fan or opening a window,” Professor David Hillman from the Sleep Health Foundation told 9Honey Coach.
“Remember your body cools itself best with air movement and moisture – that’s evaporative heat loss – so having air circulating in your bedroom and over your sweat helps.”
Click here for more advice on sleeping through hot nights (and why sleeping naked might not cool you down).
How to exercise in the heat
Heat makes us sluggish, but that’s no excuse for skipping physical activity — you just have to be smart about how you do it.
For starters, if you regularly go for a jog during your lunch break, switch to early mornings or late evenings, and slow down from your usual pace. If you don’t, you’re at risk of heat stroke.
You’ll also need to keep up your intake of water and electrolytes as temperatures soar, but there are also some less-obvious tricks that will beat the heat.
“As well as keeping hydrated, using ice vests or putting ice cubes under your hat or down your sports bra can help to keep your body cool,” advanced sports dietitian Ali Patterson told 9Honey Coach.
“Keeping your core body temperature as cool as possible is important during hot training sessions.”
Take a Pilates class in less than 15 minutes with Coach fitness instructors Dani Pinkus and Sam Downing:
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