Battle over the thermostat


Battle of the sexes. Battle over the thermostat.

Fighting over the thermostat settings is an all-too-common scenario in many homes and offices.

For the most part, men prefer the lower setting and women want it higher. Jane wants a space heater and yet John is losing layer after layer of clothing.

Why the battle? Why do some women always seem cold?

Well, there’s actual scientific reasons behind it all.

First. Women have colder extremities than men. When you feel cold, the first place you typically feel cold is in your hands and feet.

When your brain starts to sense that the body feels cold, your body will start to conserve heat. This often leads to a process called vasoconstriction where the blood vessels in your hands and feet will contract to keep your body’s core warm, and lower blood flow makes the hands and feet feel colder.

The reason why this happens more in women is partly down to hormones.

In women, the female hormone oestrogen regulates the peripheral blood vessels. High levels of this hormone make them more sensitive to temperature. As a result, a woman’s temperature will vary during her menstrual cycle as oestrogen levels rise and fall.

It’s suggested this mechanism allows a pregnant woman to ensure her baby is protected from cold, but the causes are still unclear.

There’s also the fact that women have 10 per cent more body fat than men.

The more fat you’ve got, the more you’re protecting your inner organs. The more fat you’ve got, the harder it is for heat to reach the skin. So fatter people tend to have lower skin temperatures.

Next. Women have higher core body temperatures than men.

This one may seem a little confusing. But there’s the thing… body temperature varies from person to person. But usually women tend to have a higher body temperature than men. A higher body temperature, however, doesn’t mean that women are warmer. It’s actually quite the opposite. When your body is used to being warm, colder air feels even cooler to the body.

REPEAT: When your body is used to being warm, colder air feels even cooler to the body. (See… we southerners aren’t really wimps when it comes to cold air. We are just used to the heat.)

Finally. Muscle density.

Thinner women, men and the elderly are more likely to struggle with feeling cold. The less muscle mass a body has, the more the brain will signal to the body that it’s time to start conserving heat.

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