Why are women colder than men?

Why are women colder than men?

It’s common to experience the chills when you’re in a cold environment or if you’re feeling under the weather. But have you ever wondered why women tend to reach for a sweater more often than men?

The answer is women have a lower metabolic rate. Our body’s metabolism produces energy, including heat. While everyone has the same internal body temperature of 98.6 degrees, men tend to feel warmer because they have more muscle mass and generate more heat.

“Since women have less muscle mass and a lower metabolism compared to men, it makes sense they might feel colder in a room,” explains Dr. Edmund Fernandez, a family physician at Aurora Family Medicine in Slinger, Wis.

Previous studies have shown women prefer a room temperature of 77 degrees while men are more comfortable at 72 degrees.

For optimal comfort, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends keeping the thermostat around 64.4 degrees in homes if everyone is generally healthy and dressed warmly. For homes with older or younger people, or those who are managing an illness, WHO suggests keeping the thermostat at least at 68 degrees.

At bedtime, finding that temperature sweet spot of not too hot or not too cold is key to a good night’s sleep. A recent poll from the National Sleep Foundation found the best bedroom temperature for sleep is around 65 degrees.

Regardless of which side of the thermostat battle you’re on, maintaining a proper room temperature isn’t solely about comfort – it’s also essential for your health.

“In the winter, you want to keep your home warm enough to avoid hypothermia while in the summer you’ll want to keep your house cool to prevent heat stroke,” says Dr. Fernandez.

If you’re feeling cold all the time, however, it could be the sign of a medical issue. You might want to see your doctor if:

  • You experience chills often or it doesn’t go away
  • You have a prolonged fever
  • Your nails turn blue
  • Your skin becomes brittle.

“Be sure to note any other symptoms you’re experiencing along with the chills to help your physician determine the cause and the best course of treatment,” says Dr. Fernandez.

Now is the perfect time to make an appointment with a primary care physician. Whether you live in Illinois or Wisconsin, it’s easy to find a doctor near you. 

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About the Author

Vicki Martinka Petersen
Vicki Martinka Petersen

Vicki Martinka Petersen, health enews contributor, is a digital copywriter on the content team at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. A former newspaper reporter, she’s worked in health care communications for the last decade. In her spare time, Vicki enjoys tackling her to be read pile, trying new recipes, meditating, and planning fun activities to do in the Chicago area with her husband and son.