Nadine Walder , 24 June 2024

Cool flat

Heat, concentration and performance: how are they connected?

You may have experienced this yourself: as soon as the temperatures rise, it becomes increasingly difficult to concentrate on tasks and work efficiently. But why is this the case? What processes take place in our bodies when temperatures soar? And above all, what can we do about it?

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Read on to find out: 

  1. Effects of heat on the body
  2. Heat and its influence on concentration and performance
  3. Connection between heat, sleep and performance 
  4. Tips for making the indoor climate more pleasant in hot weather 
  5. Advantages of a fan in the summer heat 

Effects of heat on the body

Our brain and organs require a constant core body temperature of around 37 °C to function optimally. This temperature must be kept within a narrow range of around 0.5 °C. Our body normally reacts automatically to cold with warming mechanisms and to heat with cooling mechanisms. The ability to deal with heat varies depending on age, physical fitness and general health. External factors, such as the location of our home, also influence how much we are exposed to heat. 

When temperatures rise, our body activates various mechanisms, in particular the dilation of blood vessels. This dilation causes us to start sweating. However, this natural cooling mechanism can quickly lead to dehydration if we do not drink enough. Dehydration disrupts the electrolyte balance and can cause symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue and headaches. Dilation of the blood vessels lowers blood pressure and puts a strain on the cardiovascular system. 

Prolonged exposure to heat can severely impair general well-being and reduce both physical and cognitive performance. Fatigue and reduced performance are typical consequences that restrict us in everyday life and also at work. Children, older people and pregnant women are particularly at risk and should protect themselves adequately from the heat.

Heat and its influence on concentration and performance

Our body's physiological reactions to heat have a direct influence on our cognitive abilities. At high temperatures, our body needs more energy to cool itself down. As a result, we have less energy available for mental tasks. This manifests itself in reduced attention and longer reaction times, among other things. Heat can cause us to think and work more slowly, which increases the risk of making mistakes. Memory problems are another consequence, as short-term memory is also impaired in hot weather. 

study by Harvard Chan School illustrates the link between heat and cognitive performance: students who lived in non-air-conditioned buildings during a heatwave performed worse in performance tests than their fellow students in air-conditioned rooms. Another study from 2020 was also able to show that exposure to 37 °C impairs cognitive performance during moderate-intensity activity. The researchers concluded that up to 45 minutes of work is considered a safe time for moderately intensive work at 37 °C. Such studies show how important a comfortable indoor climate is for maintaining cognitive performance.

Connection between heat, sleep and performance

High temperatures not only have an impact on our well-being during the day, but also at night. Sleep is often disturbed in the summer heat, as the body needs cooler temperatures for a restful sleep. Heat in bedrooms makes it difficult to fall asleep and reduce the quality of sleep. We sleep more restlessly and less restfully at higher temperatures. The consequences of reduced sleep quality are far-reaching: increased tiredness, reduced ability to concentrate and reduced concentration and performance are just some of the negative effects. This creates a vicious circle that has a negative impact on our daily form and further impairs productivity.

Tips for making the indoor climate more pleasant in hot weather

There are various measures you can take to keep your home, bedroom or office comfortable in the heat of summer. Open the windows early in the morning and late in the evening when the outside temperature is lower to let in fresh, cool air. During the day, keep the windows closed and use curtains or blinds to avoid direct sunlight. It is also advisable to switch off unnecessary electrical appliances, as these generate additional heat and further heat up the indoor climate. You can find more helpful tips in our blog post "Keep your home cool in summer: 4 simple tips".

Advantages of a fan in the summer heat

fan can be an effective and affordable solution for lowering the perceived temperature indoors. The improved air circulation increases the evaporation effect on the skin, which lowers the perceived temperature. This can help to maintain concentration and performance, especially in the summer heat. A fan not only provides refreshment, but also relieves the body so that more energy is available for cognitive tasks. A fan in the bedroom can also contribute to a more restful sleep. 

Heat therefore has a significant impact on our bodies and can considerably impair concentration and performance. However, targeted measures to cool off your living and working spaces can help. A fan can help you stay productive and focused even in the summer heat.

Want to find out more about how you can protect yourself from the heat in summer and keep your home cool? You can find more information on our information page about cooling your flat.

More about cooling the flat

If you have questions related to indoor room climate, please get in touch with us. Or subscribe to our newsletter to regularly get informed about current topics regarding indoor climate, experience reports or Stadler Form insights. 

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