Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Abi Jackson & Danielle Kate Wroe

Doctor explains exactly why we're all exhausted in a heatwave - and how to solve it

With temperatures across the UK soaring, after a long day at work, or even just sunbathing in the garden, you may be feeling way more lethargic than normal.

The sun may bring us immense amounts of joy, but it also makes us way more sleepy, and as many of us struggle to get through the day without napping, we begin to empathise with the need for a midday siesta.

But a doctor has explained that our bodies have to work harder in the heat in order to cool us down, and "fatigue is a normal response to heat, and is typically temporary."

You're likely feeling hot at the minute, and sleepy (Stock Image) (Getty Images)

Dr Zulqarnain Shah, medical director at SSP Health and GP at SSP Health practice Colne Road Surgery said: "When the weather is hot, our bodies have to work harder to cool themselves down.

"The body's natural cooling mechanism involves increasing blood circulation near the skin's surface and promoting sweat production. These physiological changes can lead to fatigue and a feeling of lethargy. It is essential to recognise that this fatigue is a normal response to heat and is typically temporary."

He also shared that dehydration can make you feel more tired too as "hot weather increases the rate of fluid loss through sweating."

He continued: "To avoid this, it's important to stay adequately hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, especially water. Aim to drink even when you're not feeling thirsty, as thirst is not always an accurate indicator of dehydration."

Of course, prolonged exposure to sun and heat can cause heat exhaustion too, so if you're experiencing "heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea, headache, and muscle cramps", it may be time to find some shade, drink some water, and seek medical attention if you don't feel better, or feel worse.

It's important to not stay out in the sun all day, no matter how much you love it (Stock Image) (AFP/Getty Images)

"Heat stroke is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical intervention", Dr Shah warned. "It occurs when the body's temperature regulation fails, and the core temperature rises dangerously high.

"Symptoms may include a high body temperature (above 39.4 degrees C), altered mental state, confusion, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, and even loss of consciousness. If you suspect heat stroke, call emergency services immediately."

Dr Shah also stated you may be more tired as you're not sleeping properly in the heat.

He said: "Hot temperatures can disrupt sleep and lead to poor sleep quality. The body needs to cool down to initiate sleep, and excessive heat can make it difficult to reach the optimal sleep temperature.

It's hot at the minute, but all the sun could be preventing you from sleeping properly (Stock Image) (Getty Images)

"To improve sleep in hot weather, consider using fans or air conditioning, wearing lightweight and breathable sleepwear, keeping your bedroom well-ventilated, and using lighter bedding."

And if you have any pre-existing health conditions, they may flare up during hot weather, which can also cause sleepiness.

"Hot weather can exacerbate symptoms and increase fatigue in individuals with certain chronic health conditions. Conditions such as heart disease, kidney problems, and respiratory issues can be particularly sensitive to heat," notes Shah.

"It's vital to be aware of your specific health condition and consult with your healthcare provider for personalised advice on managing your symptoms during hot weather. They may recommend staying in cooler environments, adjusting medications, or monitoring your fluid intake more closely."

How have you been coping with the heatwave? Let us know in the comments.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.