Having a hard time concentrating lately? Well, it could get worse over the summer.
Researchers say warm weather makes it hard to think straight. The study shows that warm weather impairs our ability to make complex decisions-and even causes us to shy away from making these decisions in the first place.
In cooler weather, you are able to weigh your options and choose the best one, no matter how complex the decision may be. In warm weather, however, you're more likely to take the easiest available route.
Does it seem far-fetched?
Well, consider one simple fact. Our brain are organs. And, just like all other organs, these decision-making centers need energy to function.
Almost everything we do…whether it is a physical behavior or a mental process…uses the same energy source: glucose.
We use glucose as we walk, talk, breathe, and perform other physical functions in our daily lives. We also use glucose when we perform mental functions, such as making decisions, exerting self control, suppressing emotional responses, and even answering math problems.
One of the body's most important tasks is temperature regulation. When the temperature is hot or cold, we must use energy–in the form of glucose–to maintain a healthy internal temperature. We shiver or sweat. We do this to avoid hypothermia and heat stroke.
Shivering and sweating are not equal.
Cooling the body down seems to require more energy than warming it up.
This means that warm temperatures are more likely to deplete our resources. We use up large amounts of glucose. Since glucose is also used for mental processes, these researchers think there is a direct link in excessive warmth and cognitive functioning.
So this summer…you may have to think a little harder… or just put off the decision for another day.