Anthropologist shares unexpected tip for staying cool during heat waves: ‘We all need to study this’

·2 min read

An anthropologist is drawing plenty of praise after sharing why taking naps can help you cool down during a heat wave.

TikToker @eric_the_green is a medical anthropologist who has traveled the world studying how people deal with heat waves. Eric — as he’s known on the app — has a page full of tips about how people can cool down when air-conditioning isn’t available.

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Many of his tips include outfit choices, such as wearing sandals to let the body release heat and wearing breathable shirts to maximize wind flow.

However, one of his more unexpected videos explained why naps can actually have a major effect on your body temperature.

First, Eric explains why it’s crucial to get lots of rest when your body is battling hot temperatures.

“You can think of withstanding heat as a form of exercise,” he says. “So making sure that you’re properly rested and sleeping throughout the day is going to help you with that exercise.”

He points out that this philosophy aligns with mid-day siestas, which are common in Southern Europe as well as Africa, India, Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Not coincidentally, many of those regions are also some of Earth’s hottest places.

“In the early afternoon, during the hottest part of the day, you’re coming in from the heat, you’re conserving your energy,” Eric explains. “And you’re also sleeping to rebuild that energy for the rest of the day.”

If a siesta isn’t feasible, Eric also recommends taking several small “cat naps,” even if they only last a few minutes. According to the National Sleep Foundation, shorter naps — of about 20 minutes or so — can actually be better for you, as they allow you to rest your body without getting too groggy.

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Eric’s advice comes at a crucial time, as summer heat waves have already begun in several parts of the world. India and Pakistan were recently devastated by scorching temperatures coupled with mass power and water shortages. Meanwhile, Spain is expected to endure a tremendous temperature spike in the coming days.

As global warming continues to heat the planet, these events are becoming increasingly common. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the length, frequency and intensity of heat waves in the U.S. has increased over the last decade. In the 2010s, “heat wave season” lasted nearly 70 days on average, compared to just over 50 in the 2000s.

TikTokers had a largely positive response to Eric’s advice.

“Thank you for sharing these tips,” one user wrote.

“We need to study this,” another added.

“We need to adopt this in Australia,” another wrote.

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