(WKBN) – We are pushing through the middle of summer and already experienced some hot and humid weather. We are sure to have more hot and humid days before the summer ends.
This is the time of the year that you may find yourself tired and lethargic after a long afternoon in the heat and humidity.
Do you ever wonder why you are so tired from the heat and humidity?
What happens when our body feels the heat?
Our body goes into a cascade of changes when we expose it to heat and humidity. It is normal, and the body uses these changes to cool us down in order to keep our inner temperature regulated.
One result of our body trying to cool down is producing sweat. The sweat will evaporate on our skin helping to cool the surface of the skin.
One action for our body to cool is sweating, another action is dilating blood vessels. The human body does this to open up more blood flow toward the surface of the skin. The entire process is known as vasodilation.
The human body will sense the temperature going up on the outside and go into action. Receptors, known as thermoreceptors, can sense that your body needs to cool down and starts one of the cooling processes.
The increased blood flow near the surface of the skin happens to cool more blood faster when your body starts heating up. The warm blood will release heat as it moves closer to the surface of the skin. This is one reason why people who become hot have a red color to their skin.
The combination of sweat creates a cooling process near your skin and increases blood flow toward the surface of the skin allowing your body to try to cool when it is hot outside.
Why do I feel tired when it is hot?
The work your body does to help you cool will cause your heart rate to increase. The increased load of work on the heart and body over a period of time will make you feel fatigued. Your body becomes stressed as it tries to keep your internal temperature regulated when it is hot. This stress may lead to a feeling of being tired or sluggish.
Your body also may become dehydrated as the sweat it produces evaporates into the atmosphere creating the cooling near the skin’s surface. You are losing more fluids than you are taking in. The humidity in the atmosphere will play a role in how much sweat evaporates off your skin.
Sunburn can also raise your body temperature. This is an added problem as the body is already trying to cool down from the outside temperature.
The cooling process can also lead to low blood pressure from dehydration and vasodilation. If it becomes low enough, you may feel fatigued.
All of these processes that your body does naturally will increase stress and fatigue to your body in hot and humid weather.