Have you ever thought about how the cold affects your life? I mean, we all know it affects our wardrobes. As soon as the cold rolls in, it’s goodbye cute miniskirts and bare legs, and hello thick tights and gloves. Not fun. Yale University recently confirmed that the cold weather really does play a key role in people getting sick - it impairs the immune system, which pretty much guarantees that you’ll get ill. That’s not the only havoc the dropping temperatures play, either. Check these out.
1. It Causes Migraines
I don’t know about you, but I definitely suffer with more migraines in the winter. The cold is the cause! With the lower temperatures comes a drop in the barometric pressure. This pressure can be so intense, combined with the cold weather, that it leads to a sharp increase in migraines and sinus issues, especially for people who already suffer from these conditions.
2. It Can Trigger Heart Issues
The cold makes it harder for your body to work, particularly the heart and lungs. Your cardiovascular system has to work in unison to keep warm blood circulating, without skipping a beat. Having to do this in the cold weather can cause blood pressure to rise. On occasion, this vigorous effort can cause “ventricular fibrillation”, which is where the heart wriggles around but doesn’t circulate blood. If VF lasts for longer than four minutes, it can cause death. Yikes.
3. It Makes Breathing Tough
Ever felt like it is harder to breathe in the cold? You’re right. Breathing in cold air chills the airway, and the lungs respond to this by spasming and swelling. Even just a minute in cold air can cause swelling, which can cause significant difficulty breathing, especially for people who suffer from asthma. Usually, this will pass and improve once you get in the warm. Be careful in the cold if you’ve got a bad chest, though!
4. It Can Cause Slurred Speech
Seasonal affective disorder isn’t just caused by the dark days. The brain responds to being cold, and it doesn’t like it. A cold brain can lead to depression, impaired judgement, confusion, slurred speech, and a decreased level of consciousness. So what can you do? If staying in the warm isn’t an option, protect your brain with a snuggly hat.
5. It Ruins Your Sex Drive
Not only do you have to compete with the minimal daylight hours, which decrease serotonin production, but also the change in neurotransmitters which is triggered by the cold. Although the affect of this change does vary from person to person, it usually leads to depression, fatigue and a much lower sex drive. If you’re not feeling in the mood, try warming yourselves up for a while.
6. It Keeps You Awake
You’d think that it worked the other way, as shorter days tend to lead to a sleepy feeling. Sleeping in a cold room doesn’t work, though. Cold air messes with melatonin production, and disrupts the sleep cycle. In contrast, a room that is too hot drys the body out, including the mucus mebranes, which makes you more likely to get ill. That’s why it’s so important to aim for a good middle ground!
7. It Burns More Calories
Being cold activates brown fat, which is responsible for keeping you warm, which helps you to burn calories quickly. Which can be good, or bad. It certainly makes that post-Christmas diet a bit more difficult!
The cold doesn’t just affect how you feel, or how much you want to go outside. It can have some big effects on your health and well being! Which is a great excuse to make sure that you’ve got plenty of blankets, a warm bed, a warm coat and some cute gloves/hat/scarves. Win win. How do you fight off the cold? I’d love to know!