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These 5 Fool-Proof Tricks Will Help You Avoid Fatigue in the Summer Heat

The heat can drain all your energy if you let it. These five simple tips can stop it from happening.

Taylor Leamey Senior Writer
Taylor Leamey writes about all things wellness, specializing in mental health, sleep and nutrition coverage. She has invested hundreds of hours into studying and researching sleep and holds a Certified Sleep Science Coach certification from the Spencer Institute. Not to mention the years she spent studying mental health fundamentals while earning her bachelor's degrees in both Psychology and Sociology. She is also a Certified Stress Management Coach.
Expertise Bachelor of Science, Psychology and Sociology Credentials
  • Certified Sleep Science Coach, Certified Stress Management Coach
Taylor Leamey
4 min read
A man and a woman talking while sitting on a bench in the park.
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It's not just you. Energy levels drop for all of us while we're in the heat of summer. There's more to be concerned about than just a sunburn; the heat has a real impact on your body. Let's dig into why it affects us and examine five easy strategies that'll go a long way toward boosting your energy. 

For more, see how to exercise safely in the heat and check out these fool-proof hacks to sleep cool at night

Why does warm weather make you tired? 

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When it's hot, the body has to work harder to maintain homeostasis (a balance between all your body's systems to keep things functioning properly). So even if you aren't getting physical, just being in the heat is enough to tire you out, because your body is working overtime to keep you cool. Your heart rate rises, and your body burns calories at a higher rate. 

The body's thermoregulatory methods present in two ways. Vasodilation, or the widening of the blood vessels, lets more blood get to the surface of your body, which helps regulate internal temperature. Sweating is the other bodily response to being hot -- your system moves core body fluid to the outside. These processes require energy and effort. 

5 ways to overcome feeling tired in the heat 

These simple strategies can help you fight off fatigue and enjoy the warmer weather. 

1. Stay hydrated 

According to the National Library of Medicine, up to 28% of older adults in the US have suffered from dehydration. Dehydration is more than just being thirsty. The body needs water to function. There's a danger of being dehydrated in the heat, because your body can't cool you off, leading to heatstroke. The more you sweat, the more you deplete your fluid reservoir. 

Dehydration symptoms can be subtle, especially if you're chronically dehydrated and get used to the dry lips, tiredness and headache associated with dehydration. 

Staying hydrated is one of the essential ways to beat fatigue in the heat. You have to replace the water you sweat out. When you know you'll be outside, it's a good idea to increase your water intake to prepare your body for what it'll lose through sweat.

Water is the best liquid source to combat dehydration. However, sports drinks can replace the salt lost in sweat, making them another good option. Avoid drinking alcohol while in the heat, as it's a diuretic that worsens dehydration

Woman applying sunscreen while siting by the pool.
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2. Protect yourself from the sun

Moderating your time in the sun helps you beat fatigue in two ways. First, sitting in the shade or going inside can keep your body from overheating, which saves energy. Secondly, it protects your skin from UV rays. Sun damage to the skin can also contribute to fatigue because your body expends energy to repair the skin. 

You should always wear sunscreen when outside. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using SPF 30 or higher and reapplying every two hours. Even if you apply sunscreen, sitting under umbrellas and wearing loose clothes and hats that block the sun is recommended.

Read more: Best Sunscreen to Protect Your Skin This Summer

3. Add B vitamins to your diet

B vitamins are essential nutrients that aid in bodily functions, like moving oxygen through the body and breaking down amino acids. They're also central to energy because they help in cell metabolism. B vitamins become even more important during the hot months, when your energy levels are drained quicker. 

These B vitamins are central to energy: Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, B6, folate and B12. Adding vitamin-rich foods to your diet is an easy way to naturally boost your energy. Great food sources of B vitamins include leafy greens, brussels sprouts, eggs, avocados and whole grains.

You can also add a multivitamin to supplement your diet and get all your B vitamins. 

4. Pack snacks

Snacks are your secret weapon in the heat. They can help you boost your energy and replace the electrolytes and salt your body is losing in the heat. I know what you're thinking: When it's hot, sometimes the last thing you want is to eat anything. It's best to keep your snack small and nutritious. Fruit and veggies are full of electrolytes, and nuts and trail mixes are great for replacing salt. 

5. Check in with yourself 

One of the most effective ways to combat fatigue during the warmer months is by doing multiple check-ins on your health throughout the day. Heat exhaustion and heatstroke can creep up on you. You can assess your needs and respond accordingly by listening to your body.

If you start feeling dizzy or lightheaded, get somewhere cool immediately and drink some water. Putting an ice cube on your wrists is also an effective way to cool down, since the blood vessels are closer to the surface of the wrist. 

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When does fatigue become something more serious?

In most instances, being in the heat is just uncomfortable and leaves you feeling worn out. However, there are times when you may approach a heat-related illness -- heat exhaustion or heatstroke. The main difference between the two is how your nervous system reacts. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person may become confused or have slurred speech during heatstroke.

Read more: Heatstroke Symptoms: What You Need to Know as Record Heat Waves Approach

Symptoms of heat exhaustion are generally the precursor to heatstroke. They include heavy sweating, cold and clammy skin, muscle cramps, nausea, dizziness or passing out. If you experience any of these symptoms, you must immediately try to cool off so you don't pass into heatstroke territory. 

You should be able to enjoy your spring and summer months without feeling drained. And you can. All it takes is a few intentional practices to prepare your body. 

For more from wellness, check out all the reasons that you're oversleeping and easy productivity hacks to get more done

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.