Has the temperature gotten to you lately?
As a thriving population in a tropical climate, Filipinos are well accustomed to the adverse effects of heat (especially in the summertime). We know all about heat exhaustion, heatstroke, heat cramps, and other weather-induced ills. But what's not as talked about its effect on our mental health. All of us have, at one point, gotten irritable for no good reason and have likely shrugged it off to the heat. But the rising temperature index—which has hit peaks of 40's and even 50's—around the country is likely causing more than the usual bouts of annoyance.
Let's Start With Sleep
For most of us, sleeping in the summer has become less of a problem thanks to air conditioning. But for those of us who don't have those systems in place, sleeping during a heatwave can be difficult. Surprisingly, relative humidity increases in the early hours of the morning (between 1am to 3am) when people "should" be asleep; but because the humidity is so high at this time, it disrupts sleep quality, which in turn can result in difficulty concentrating and increased emotional reactivity (which explains why people who lack sleep are often irritable or have difficulty controlling impulses).
Currently, clinical evidence also points to the theory that sleep and emotion are closely related. In some studies, evidence have suggested that "sleeping disorders contribute to the formation of new mental health problems and to the maintenance of existing ones". This means that people who have insomnia are usually at greater risk to develop depression or other mental health troubles. Not to mention, poor sleep impairs cognitive function—something that we've all likely experienced from our school days.