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Feeling Grumpy? Six Ways High Temperatures Affect Your Mental Health

man with road rage possibly affected by high temperatures

 man with road rage possibly affect by high temperatures

No doubt about it. I believe that air conditioning is a necessity of life in Florida.

Even if I didn’t own an air conditioning company, I’d think that.

But there is definitive proof of it, for sure, including six ways that high temperatures affect your mental health.

I’m telling you this not because I want to alarm you but because I want you to understand why you might be feeling down, grumpy, or frustrated right now!

High temperatures can definitely affect your outlook on life.

ONE: Road Rage and Accidents Increase

It’s no surprise that after a long day at work or a day running errands, you will want to get home to a cool, comfortable, safe environment quickly.

After climbing into a car as hot as a smelting furnace because it’s been parked outside, (your car reaches 123 degrees after just an hour of 80-degree heat), you might be a little agitated. Other people might be more than a little agitated.

I’m sure you don’t initiate road rage, but it is more likely to be perpetrated against you during a heat wave.

It’s been proven that when temperatures rise about 90 degrees, drivers honk louder and often accompany their frustration with traffic with impolite gestures.

Not only do they get angrier faster, but fatal traffic accidents increase. One ten-year study indicated that from 2001-2011, deadly injuries from car crashes increased 3.4% on heatwave days. This year, we’ve had more heat wave days than ever before!

The number of road rage incidents and vehicle accidents occur because when it’s hot, our body makes our heart beat faster to pump more blood. More blood allows more heat to be absorbed from the skin and dissipated. (That’s why you get flushed when it’s hot.)

When our heart beats faster, we get the fight or flight behavior that manifests itself in road rage.

TWO: Increase in depression and anxiety

Scientists are beginning to study the link between climate change and mental health.

One study showed that even a one-degree increase in air temperature adds to the probability of experiencing anxiety or depression.

This year, Orlando broke its old heat record by having a day with a temperature of 99 degrees. That doesn’t even factor in the humidity which has given Orlando area heat index days as high as 110 degrees!

It’s no wonder a few of us are feeling a little grumpy!

THREE: Increase in suicides

Sad, but true.

The hotter it gets, the more suicides occur.

An economist from Stanford did a study that suggested that for every increase of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, (1 degree Celsius,) in the average temperature, the suicide rate rises by 1%.

Wow.

That’s a pretty significant finding given that as of 2021, more than 48,000 suicides occur in the United States every year. If the suicide rate increases by 1% in the warming climate and the study is right, another 480 people per year would commit suicide.

FOUR: Increase in interpersonal violence

People get more violent when it’s hot.

Incidents of aggression increase, in part because heat inhibits the production of serotonin. Serotonin is linked to the regulation of our moods. It’s also connected to controlling aggression.

When we’re in a heat wave, there’s a 4-6% of interpersonal violence.

FIVE: Quality of sleep is affected

If it’s too hot and your air conditioner isn’t working correctly, you won’t be able to get good quality sleep.

No one sleeps well if they’re sticking to the sheets, smelling their own sweat, and breathing hard to stay cool!

If you’re sleep deprived, you’re quicker to anger, slow to comprehend, and prone to mood changes. All of those factors can lead to increased violence, road rage, and car accidents.

The best temperature for quality sleep is between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

SIX: Hospitalizations increase

Did you know that during heat waves, hospitalizations increase?

The Harvard School of Public Health studied more than 127 BILLION daily hospitalization records for more than a decade. They found that the longer the heat wave, the more admissions would occur. They also found that while admissions rose on the hottest day of the heat wave, they continued for up to five days.

The risks are greater for the elderly (those over sixty-five), as well as for people who suffer from schizophrenia, dementia, and substance abuse.

Hospital admissions during heat waves are directly related to issues with fluid and electrolyte balance, renal failure, urinary tract infections, and sepsis.

Here’s the good news

You were waiting for the good news, right?

ServiceOne can keep you cool. We have top-quality technicians, state-of-the-art equipment, and budget options and payment plans. We care about our customers and have compassion for you when the heat is affecting your mental state and making you “hot under the collar,” “hot-headed,” or needing to “let off steam!

We can keep you cool and take the “grumpy” out of your life.

Call us.

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