T. S. Eliot wrote that “April is the cruelest month,” but January brings the Northern Hemisphere its cruelest temperatures of the year. We’ve asked ex-Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings to come in from the cold and put a chill on some of the most persistent cold-weather myths he could think of. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you freeze (yes, we stole that from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s dialogue in Batman and Robin.)
Icy Myth #2: Don’t Fall Asleep in the Cold—You Could Die!
Hypothermia kills over six hundred Americans per year, mostly as a result of exposure during cold-weather recreation. One common symptom of late-stage hypothermia is drowsiness, and so we get the common trope in survival narratives—both real and fictional—of the mountain climber or Arctic trekker who just wants to lie down in the snow and rest. No, he is told by his brave companions! If you lie down, you will never wake up!