• The Editor

Heat up. Cool down.

Getting the temperature right could be just what your brain needs to succeed.

I used to work in a large digital marketing agency in east London, housed in an old brewery. The building was so large (and kept so much of its industrial feel) that insulating, heating and cooling the place properly was a bit of a nightmare. On one floor, depending on where you were sitting, it could feel like you were working in the Bahamas, or in the Arctic - whatever the weather was like outside.

I often wondered if the temperature affected my creative ability when I was freezing my ass off.


Performance decreases when we are too chilly, according to this 2004 study by Cornell University.


Their findings showed that we're more distracted when cold. Maybe our brain spends so much time thinking about staying warm, there's not much capacity left for creative thinking.


The opposite view comes from advocates of cryotherapy - placing yourself in near-freezing temperatures. Much has been written about this, and business gurus like Tim Ferriss and Tony Robbins swear by their cryo chambers, to boost their brains as much as their immune systems.


In my own anecdotal research, I know that changing the temperature can have a significant impact on my sense of humour, for example. I've sat in enough baking hot comedy clubs to know the audience isn't falling asleep because the comedian ain’t funny. Those places don't need a 'warm-up' act, so much as a 'cool-down' act.


In the summer, we crave aircon; in winter a warm radiator.


Depending on your inclination, Faster Ideas could be accessed by the simple act of going outside in the cold. Or cranking up the thermostat.


Or maybe just putting on/taking off a woolly jumper. (delete as appropriate)