You probably know people who wear layers of clothing year-round, or constantly complains about how cold they are, even in the middle of summer. Or, maybe you’re the one who’s shivering and putting on a sweater while others are in shorts and flip flops. It’s seems strange that two people in the same room could be feeling completely different temperatures, right? So what exactly is it that makes a person feel cold, while everyone else is hot, or vice versa?
Well, the hypothalamus is the part of your brain that produces hormones that regulate your internal body temperature, which is normally 98.6 degrees. Skin receptors help you detect room temperature, and a two-degree change is enough for you to feel a difference. Your hypothalamus can be affected by a number of things. Here are some common reasons for a change in your body temperature:
1. You Could Be Getting Sick
If you get a sudden case of the chills that won’t go away and there’s no change in the surrounding temperature, it might mean that you’ve caught a bug. Chills are actually the body’s way of trying to fight infection. Be sure to take extra care of yourself and get plenty of Vitamin C. If your symptoms escalate, check in with a doctor.
2. It Could Be a Sign of Stress
If you feel yourself sweating through a thin shirt and notice that everyone else is wrapped up in warm clothing, your higher body temperature may be due to stress, which can throw your hypothalamus out of whack. Michael Lynch, Ph.D, a clinical neuropsychologist says, “If you’re stressed, your autonomic nervous sytem kicks in, causing blood to move toward your body’s core organs,” which causes your body temperature to rise. It’s your fight or flight response.
3. You May Be Feeling Emotional
Your emotional state can cause your body temperature to change, regardless of the outside temperature. Your brain sends signals to your body as you deal with certain situations, causing unconscious physiological changes. If you feel isolated or depressed, you are more likely to feel cold. If you’re feeling social and well connected, you could experience that warm, fuzzy feeling that often comes with happiness. This is actually a physical feeling that makes you more receptive to heat.
Here are a few ways to handle a lower or higher body temperature:
1. Wear appropriate clothing – This may sound obvious, but dress for the weather. If it’s hot outside, but you know your office is usually cold, bring a sweater or a jacket for backup.
2. Be aware of the food you’re eating – Soups and carbohydrates help to keep your body warm, while fruits, vegetables and lighter meals are a better option to help keep you cool.
3. Set your thermostat – A temperature between 70 to 75 degrees is usually a good setting for the average person, but find a temperature that allows you to feel comfortable. and keep your home thermostat set there.
4. Visualize somewhere warmer – Another trick to avoiding extreme heat or cold may lie in your head. If you visualize a warmer place when you’re feeling cold, it could release endorphins that assist in maintaining body heat. Plus, who wouldn’t want to be thinking about laying on a beach on a tropical island while they’re snowed in?