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Study: Cooler temperatures could lead to better sleep and brain health

Study: Cooler temps could help brain health
Study: Cooler temps could help brain health 02:24

NEW YORK -- As summer comes to a close, you may see a boost in your brain health. 

Medical experts say colder temperatures could lead to higher quality sleep, which helps your brain function better. 

If you ask New Yorkers, the summer is so last season. They're ready for the fall. 

"I like fall, I like Halloween," said one person. 

"I feel more relaxed in the wintertime and the fall, I feel more relaxed, not anxious. Summertime is for anxious, you gotta go here, you gotta go there," West Harlem resident Shameka Mitchell said.

"I'm excited about the fall, because you know it's hoodie season," another person added. 

According to a study published in the journal "Frontiers in Neuroscience," humans may need more sleep during the colder months, but cold temperatures also lead to better sleep. 

Subjects reported 30 minutes longer REM sleep, which increases brain activity. 

"What is most important for humans to be able enjoy, appreciate and make the most out of life is our brain health," said Dr. Austin Perlmutter.

Through extensive research, Dr. Perlmutter has seen the many ways climate impacts our brains. 

"As it relates to sleep, to temperature, I think it is a good thing for things to cool off a little bit more," he said. "Generally, people report worse quality sleep when the temperature is higher."

While most live in climate controlled homes, he says prolonged exposure to higher temperatures may increase inflammation in the brain. 

"Higher rates of aggressive behavior and assault. We know that people who are exposed to higher temperature have a higher risk for admission for mental health issues," he explained. 

He says better sleep quality correlates to lower cognitive issues. In order to get a good night sleep, he recommends setting your thermostat to the highs 60s. 

If you don't have control over it, consider a fan. If that doesn't work, try evaporative cooling. 

"Taking a hot bath, taking a hot shower, and when you get out of that hot bath or shower, you're actually going to increase your body's cooling, because you're sending all of that blood to your skin," he said. 

So as the leaves start to fall, you may want to start to fall into a new sleep routine. Experts say the average adult should get between seven and nine hours of sleep a day. 

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