According to research, taking a holiday in a sunny climate can seriously damage your intelligence.
Professor Siegfried Lehrl of the University of Erlangen in Germany, a specialist in mental performance, believes that sunbathing and relaxation can cause the frontal lobe of your brain to shrivel.
Infact, indications show that the diminishing of your IQ level could actually begin as soon as you book your holiday. A study by psychologist Glenn Wilson in 2005 revealed that being bombarded by emails can reduce your IQ level by 10 points, so if you book your holiday online and exchange numerous emails with your travel company, your intelligence may begin to wane before you even set off.
Professor Wilson refers to this situation as ‘infomania’ when someone is distracted by the expectance of receiving emails, predicting what they may say and working out how they are going to act on them, all of which distract from whatever this person is actually meant to be concentrating on.
Worrying in the run up to your departure doesn’t help either, the stress of finding passports, not losing tickets, packing, ash clouds and air strikes can cause increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can cause short term memory loss and a lack of concentration.
So we finally arrive on our relaxing holiday, all be it a few brain cells down, and head to the nearest bar, but be careful, that’s another 10 to 20 points off your IQ depending on how much alcohol you drink. Even just an ice cold glass of water could affect your intelligence as researchers at Bristol University discovered that energy and blood are diverted from the brain to the stomach in a bid to counteract the sudden cold temperature.
Inactivity also reduces oxygen levels to the brain and add to this the dehydration from the heat or excess alcohol and your brain cell volume could decrease by up to 15%. A two week holiday in the sun could see your IQ drop enough to turn you from a normally intelligent person to one of just average intelligence according to Professor Wilson, and it can even cause changes in personality.
However, all is not lost and the damage of a holiday in the sun is not irreversible. Further research indicates that it only takes around four days of being back home again for our brain to revert to normal, but perhaps this clears up the mystery as to why we always feel that we are still in ‘holiday mode’ for our first few days back at work.