Summer Is Uniquely Hard on Our Brains

No matter who you are, you've probably had the conversation about your favorite season. Whether you love jacket weather, fun in the sun, or holing up next to a roaring fire, someone always has a strong opinion on what time of year is the best (and why yours is wrong). If you've got a hate-on for hot weather, though, you're far from alone. It's definitely easiest to love the summer when you get to spend it doing nothing at all.

New research published this month backs up an age-old complaint: Sometimes your brain really does melt down when temperatures soar and stay high. Some unlucky Boston-area college students took tests first thing in the morning after sleeping in either an air-conditioned dorm room or one without. The former averaged a comfortable 71 degrees Fahrenheit, while the latter neared a stifling 80.

The students in the rooms without AC scored about 13 points lower; they also gave about 10 percent fewer correct answers per minute. Heat really does affect your performance. (So do cold surroundings, to be fair: A few years ago, scientists showed that air conditioning in most office buildings is calibrated for men's body heat production, leaving women freezing in workplaces worldwide — and perhaps less productive.)

If you're not in a position to manage your office's thermostat, there are still ways to keep yourself comfortable. Staying hydrated and wearing loose, breathable clothing are unisex tips. But if you find yourself flagging during the summer months, don't feel you have to go too hard on yourself — after all, the summer is going extra hard on you.