February 26, 2024

Heat and mental health: Doctors urge to look after your sleep amid rising temperatures

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — On another 100-degree day in Houston, many families were out at the Levy Park splash pad as temperatures soared Tuesday morning.

The video above is ABC13 Houston’s 24/7 Streaming Channel.

And while one of the main impacts of extreme heat is physical impact, it is important to consider how the heat can also affect a person’s mental health.

SEE ALSO: The long-term health effects of hot and humid conditions

In a recent interview with ABC News, family physician, Dr. Beth Oller, explained how extreme heat affects our ability to function and self-regulate throughout the day, affecting our cognitive and emotional state. Minor side effects may include increased irritability and frustration, shorter attention span, delayed memory and recall, and taking more time than usual to complete tasks.

But others can be more serious, and one big warning sign that heat is affecting your mental health is if you have trouble sleeping.

“Insomnia is really one of the most significant public health problems we have as a society right now,” said Dr. Joshua Morganstein, chairman of the American Psychiatric Association’s committee on the Psychiatric Dimensions of Disaster. “When people are hot during the day – if, for example, you have a lower socio-economic status – you can’t afford air conditioning or find your way to a place where you might be able to cool off. Or your day comes warm back. into a hot night – this will certainly affect people’s ability to sleep. And poor sleep is associated with all kinds of accidents.”

RELATED: How extreme heat disproportionately impacts low-income families and communities of color in Houston

But for many Houstonians, it’s just about getting through the day and trying to stay cool, which is what Kelly Ransdell reminds her kids as they schedule their lives and encourage a positive attitude.

“It’s hard, but it also teaches them resilience, and they don’t always get what they want,” Ransdell said. “But I’m with them, and we’re trying together to enjoy popsicles and make the most of it. It sure did a lot for us to rearrange your schedule. telling them to stay.”

While southeast Texas waits for that first cold fall, Houstonians will still try to make the most of the unrelenting warmth together.

SEE ALSO: 2 climatological reasons for extremely hot mornings in Houston

Climate change is linked to Houston experiencing several days of triple-digit weather, experts say

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