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Do you get cranky when it's hot out?

Posted by on Jul. 10, 2012 at 7:21 AM
  • 9 Replies

Why we get cranky when it's hot out

Hot days certainly take a toll on our bodies, but they can also test our tempers, experts say.

Many people feel a little hotheaded when the mercury rises, said Nancy Molitor, an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral science at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

In fact, hot and especially humid weather is known to be associated with increases in aggression and violence, as well as a lower general mood, Molitor said.

That's because trouble sleeping, dehydration and restrictions on our daily actives — such as being cooped up inside all day to avoid the sweltering heat — may all contribute to a worsening mood in warm weather, Molitor said. And a lack of control over the situation may further irritate some people, she said.

If the summer heat has you feeling snappish, Molitor advised avoiding making any important life decisions, because you might make a choice you later regret.

And whether you're at the office or on the road, recognize that people you deal with may also be a bit testy.

"Everyone's fuse is going to be a little bit shorter," Molitor said.

Summer SAD

While it's common to feel a little depressed or grouchy in the summer heat, a small percentage (about 1 or 2 percent) of people experience a summer version of seasonal affect disorder (SAD).

On top of feeling uncomfortable and depressed, people with this condition feel enormously anxious in the summertime, and can even become suicidal, Molitor said. For them, the heat and sunshine are "almost impossible to endure," she said.

Molitor said she suspects that prolonged periods of heat and humidity, as many regions have experienced this summer, may lead to an increase in cases of summer SAD seen by doctors.

Coping with the heat

Molitor urged that people practice common sense in the heat: stay hydrated, and listen to your body. If you're healthy and want to exercise, try to get in your workout in the morning or evening, rather than the middle of the day.

If you take mediations that are diuretics, such as blood pressure medications, you will need to drink even more that usual to stay hydrated, Molitor said.

In addition, focus on aspects of your life you can control, Molitor said, and realize that eventually, it will cool down.

"The average person can withstand this, if they listen to their body," Molitor said.

Pass it on:  Hot weather tests our tempers, leading to increases in aggression and violence, studies have shown.

by on Jul. 10, 2012 at 7:21 AM
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Replies (1-9):
by Sarah on Jul. 10, 2012 at 7:33 AM
I don't get cranky I like the warmer weather I know soon enough it will be winter and I will be freezing
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by on Jul. 10, 2012 at 7:36 AM

Definitely. I hate heat. I'm really cranky but nowhere feeling

by on Jul. 10, 2012 at 12:30 PM

I don't get awful but I can tell the het gets to me.  I'm more short tempered.  I prefer it chilly.

by on Jul. 10, 2012 at 3:29 PM

I love the heat, I get cranky in crowds!  LOL

by on Jul. 10, 2012 at 9:34 PM

 I dont care for either hot or cold weather.  But neither one last forever, so...

by on Jul. 10, 2012 at 10:03 PM

 If I get overheated, I get irritable. Yard work in 100*, or work clothes in prolonged heat....stuff like that. But for the most part, I'm much happier in the summer.

by on Jul. 11, 2012 at 1:38 AM

I live in South Florida, so I am quite the opposite, I get depressed and cranky when it is cold out!  LOL

by on Jul. 12, 2012 at 7:52 AM

I get extremely cranky and lethargic when it is over 75 degrees.

by on Jul. 18, 2012 at 1:57 PM
Yea I can get pretty snappy when I'm hot. My own son has told me mama u can go take a dip in my pool so your not grumpy lol
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