Room Temperature, Sleep, and Brain Function: How Indoor Temperature Impacts Your Performance
Have you ever thought about the air you breathe in and its differences between indoor and outdoor? Well, obviously, people have more control to maintain good indoor air quality. While the outside seems more pollutant—with all the vehicles, gas, odors in which you don’t know where they come from—in fact, the air quality in your home or any other indoors can be less safe than the air quality outdoors.
The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) says that indoor air pollutant levels are often much higher—up to five times higher than outdoor levels. Sometimes, these indoor levels can even increase 100 times that of outdoor levels of the same pollutants.
With poor air quality, regardless of age, people can get heart and lung problems. However, studies say that children are more in danger of particle pollution than adults because of higher and longer physical activity.
Some ways to improve indoor air quality are proper ventilation and ideal room temperature.
What is the ideal room temperature?
The room temperature in your home shouldn’t be just based on how you feel about it. More importantly, it should be also based on safety. With that, set your temperature according to what situation and to the current season. Better yet, make sure your air conditioner is functioning properly and have it repaired once you notice some problems.
The temperature during sleep has something to do directly with the quality of sleep. Extremely low room temperatures can be a reason for insomnia. Sixty to 67 degrees Fahrenheit is the advised room temperature during sleep.
Experts say that during sleep, our internal body temperature drops, which means external body temperature drops accordingly. It drops even more when you aren’t alone in bed, perhaps with another person or with a pet. Your body temperatures combine and increase the temperature of your bed surface and your room. This is why the ideal temperature when you sleep is supposed to be lower than when you’re awake throughout the day.
In summer, most people opt for is 68 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 in winter to get the cozy, toasty feeling. Although, the US Department of Energy suggests that a 78-degree indoor temperature is better during summer in order to save energy.
Take note that the unhealthy room temperature is below 65 degrees. It promotes high humidity and poor air quality, which can lead to respiratory and heart problems. Especially in prolonged exposure.
How does room temperature impact our brain function?
If you haven’t noticed, many people experience brain fog when it’s abnormally hot and humid. This is because environmental conditions can affect our mental performance. Studies show that a high indoor temperature can diminish work productivity in the office or at home. In a particular study published in 2006, researchers observed how well subjects could perform regular office tasks. They found that there was a consistent decrease in performance when the temperature was hotter than 75.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
With increased room temperature, people tend to sweat excessively and can cause dehydration and heat stress. If an individual reaches one percent of dehydration, they can experience a five percent decrease in cognitive function. More than that can cause brain dehydration and might worsen, which results in short-term memory loss. It can be even worse if prolonged.
This failure of cognitive function applies not only to office employees to adults. It applies to high school students as well. Another study proved this. It showed how an extremely hot day, as hot as 90 degrees Fahrenheit, can also reduce school performance up to 14 percent, resulting in a 10.9 percent lower possibility of passing a subject.
Studies concluded that temperature does have an impact on students’ performance and attention span. Researchers found that students perform better in a room where the indoor temperature is maintained between 70 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit than those in much colder and warmer rooms. Although climate might play a significant role as well.
Discomfort in one’s atmosphere or environment affects memory and learning capabilities. When at an uncomfortable or unhealthy room temperature, the mind becomes too focused on maintaining and protecting the body temperature—whether cooling or heating—failing to concentrate on the lessons or exams.
While the effects of heat stress are mostly temporary, heatstroke can cause cell death and may be permanent. Drinking water and eating foods with high hydration content are all excellent and minimal ways to stay in optimal body and brain function. So as avoiding too much exposure to direct sunlight, using fans and proper air conditioning to keep the room cool and comfortable, especially during summer.