Annie’s STEM Lab: The Benefits of Cold Weather

by Annie Savinon

As we say hello to the winter weather here in Buffalo, there are many mixed emotions we feel with the extreme temperatures that are headed our way! For my article this month, I wanted to share some science-backed facts that shed light on the BENEFITS of cold weather! As you are bundling up and dusting off that shovel this month, keep these facts in mind to help stay positive during our chilly season ahead of us! 

Did you know? 

The cold weather is known to boost your brain, helping one to think more clearly! In a study, it showed that human performance was improved when working in cooler temperatures versus warmer temperatures! Check out more information in this study from the National Library of Medicine

The cold temperatures are also shown to have a direct relation between the decreased chance of getting gestational diabetes. Repeated cold exposure has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. Gestational diabetes is a condition that can affect pregnant women, and women are encouraged to get tested for gestational diabetes while pregnant, due to a part of the placenta hormone that can cause high blood sugar. In a study, pregnant women gestational diabetes was found to be in 4.6% of women exposed to cold temperatures, versus the 7.7% of pregnant women with gestational diabetes who were exposed to warmer temperatures. How interesting! Check out more information in this study from the Canadian Medical Association Journal

The cold can enhance your quality and duration of sleep! If you ask my husband and I, as current first-time parents to a newborn, there are few things better than a good night’s sleep! When one begins to fall asleep, your internal body temperature begins to drop, as a part of its natural circadian rhythm. Being in cooler temperatures this process can of course happen much quicker, if you are in a colder environment, versus a warmer environment. The faster one can get to sleep, the longer their sleep can be, ultimately resulting in a better night’s sleep. Also, it has been said that when sleeping in a cooler room, specifically at 66 degrees Fahrenheit, can aid in your ability to metabolize fat by 10 percent! 

It is important to remember, although there are benefits to being outdoors in the cold, it should be noted to make sure one is wearing the proper winter attire (clothing, shoes) to best be outside in order to best receive these amazing benefits! I hope you and your families enjoy a chilly and safe winter season!  

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