62% of Americans say their mood is affected by the heat, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll

Do you also get a little grumpy when temperatures reach 32 degrees? If the extreme heat is having a negative impact on your mood, you are not alone.

In a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll of 1,754 U.S. adults conducted June 28-July 1, 62% of respondents answered “yes” when asked whether extreme heat affects their mood, while 30% answered “no” and 8% said they were “not sure.”

Most respondents (72%) said extreme heat made them feel “tired,” followed by “frustrated” (40%). Others described their mood during extreme heat as “angry” (24%), “anxious” (20%), “confused” (10%) and “sad” (10%).

Dr. Jose Mayorga, director of the UCI Health Family Health Centers, tells Yahoo Life he’s not surprised by the results because it makes sense from a “medical standpoint and a mental and physical standpoint.”

Mayorga says most people think that seasonal affective disorder (SAD) only occurs in the winter months, when it’s “gray, gloomy and there’s less sunlight,” but that summer also affects mood, as many people find the heat extremely uncomfortable.

There is a physiological reason why heat can undermine your mood. Firstly, we are less likely to be happy when we are tired, and heat can make us lethargic.

The reason people feel tired when it’s hot outside, Mayorga says, is because of the body’s internal workings. As your body temperature rises, your body finds ways to cool itself down through processes like sweating. This uses energy, which can make you feel more lethargic. “When you’re indoors, your body is in a certain state of equilibrium,” he explains. “But when you expose yourself to an extreme, like heat, your body tries to bring itself into a comfortable state, physically and mentally.”

Heat throws us off our body’s natural equilibrium. When we’re tired and physically uncomfortable (like sweating through our clothes on a hot day), we’re more likely to have a lower threshold for things that irritate us, Mayorga says, leaving us feeling frustrated, anxious, and irritable. In short, “your body isn’t regulating fast enough to cool you down.”

We can be more likely to get worked up than if we were stuck inside with the air conditioning on, for example. (It’s worth noting, though, that people who stay indoors to avoid the heat can feel cooped up, which can have consequences for their mental health.)

Mayorga says that some people may be more affected than others. Certain medications can affect a person’s ability to regulate their temperature. This includes things like antihistamines (usually taken for seasonal allergies), as well as certain medications for mental health conditions. “You have to look at the medications you’re taking and see if they can affect your body’s overall temperature regulation,” he says. “If they can, be more cautious about that — make sure you’re staying indoors in a cool area and making sure you’re staying hydrated.”

In general, Mayorga says it’s important to avoid the physical risks of spending time in the heat, such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke. You shouldn’t attribute symptoms like headaches or extreme fatigue to the mental effects of the sun, and you should seek medical attention if you think you’re suffering from a heat-related illness. To prevent this from happening in the first place, remember to stay hydrated and seek shade and other cool spots as often as possible.

Mayorga adds that alcohol should be avoided. “Everyone likes to reach for an iced drink or a cold alcoholic beverage when it’s hot,” he says, “but we don’t want to get dehydrated in the heat. Be aware of what you’re drinking.”

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