The Ladies Are Hot... Not
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The Ladies Are Hot... NotI have to wonder, are there physiological differences to explain why the women in our office have space heaters under their desks, and we don't?

There's no doubt in my mind men and women experience temperatures differently. But what does science say? Our initial understanding of body temperature regulation stems from a study in the 19th century which revealed the normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Recent studies show it's actually a bit lower at 98.2 degrees. But they do confirm the 19th century study that found women's core temperatures tend to be higher, while noting women's hands were colder.

Proof of the axiom - cold hands, warm heart.

What these studies don't discuss is men and women perceive hot and cold differently. We all perceive cold through temperature changes in our skin, which has four times as many cold sensors as hot. And our extremities are particularly sensitive.

When your hands and feet feel cold, you are cold.

Several factors explain why women tend to feel colder than men. For one, when women feel cold, they constrict blood vessels near the skin surface to retain core body heat, but it makes them feel colder. Women who have colder hands to begin with can also be better at shunting blood from the extremities into the core. That means they feel cold quicker than men.

Other factors influence how people perceive temperature. Both men and women with a high body mass index are more sensitive to cold because their skin is insulated from their body heat by a layer of fat.

Age, fitness, hunger, and even psychological factors such as loneliness can also make people more aware of the cold.

Maintaining normal body temperature is so vital our bodies spend more than 75 percent of its energy doing that. Drop it by just two degrees and we can get hypothermia.

Guess we can't blame our female colleagues for cranking up their space heaters.


For more information…

Why do women always feel colder than men?
The Times of London reports on the new research that suggests that we all feel the cold differently, as well as some of the possible reasons why at as well as tips on how to keep warm.

Warm Heart, Cold Hands
A very nice article about why women appear to likely to feel cold than men.

The Claim: Men and Women Differ in Their Tolerance to Cold
An article from the New York Times examining the evidence for the differences between men and women in their tolerance for cold.

Comparison of Thermoregulatory Responses Between Men and Women Immersed in Cold Water
Tikuisis, P., I. Jacobs, D. Moroz, A.L. Vallerand, and L. Martineau. Journal of Applied Physiology, October 2000.

Men Perspire, Women Glow: Men Are More Efficient at Sweating, Study Finds
Many books, articles and TV shows have delved into the differences between men and women. Well, here is a report of an actual physiological difference between men and women. Women have to work harder to start sweating but men are more effective at it.