Why are some people naturally colder than others?| Trending Viral hub


Maybe you’re shivering in your sheets, while your partner sleeps, curled up like a bug, next to you. Or maybe you have that relative who is always wrapped in a blanket, even when the thermostat is set to maximum. You may simply feel like you can never get warm enough, no matter how many layers you put on.

Of course, it is a fairly common phenomenon. But why do some people seem to be naturally colder than others? The answer may surprise you and has a lot more to do with metabolism and body type than you think.

How humans generate heat

Like all mammals, humans use chemical reactions in our bodies to keep our internal temperature warm, and constantly. If that temperature falls just a few degrees outside our ideal norm, we face all sorts of ills, from mood swings to impaired immune function and, in extreme cases, even death.

Sometimes our bodies deliberately try to upset this balance. The goal of having a fever is to slowly cook the disease out of the body, killing the pathogens in the process. Even a two degree change can make you feel sick and your internal microbes die during a low fever.

To create this life-giving heat, we have the metabolism: A series of chemical reactions. that takes place inside the cells of living organisms. Think of metabolism like a car engine: it takes in fuel (food, in our case), burns it, and uses the resulting energy to produce movement and heat. While humans don’t literally “burn” our food for energy, one of these metabolic processes involves a similar, less explosive reaction called respiration. And just like an open flame, this also requires oxygen.


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How do our bodies regulate temperature?

It is estimated that almost 50% of the calories we consume go solely to maintaining body temperature, according to a 2019 article published in Current biology. To make sure this extra heat isn’t wasted, we also have numerous adaptations to make sure we don’t drop the temperature too quickly.

Have you ever wondered why you get goosebumps when it’s cold? This is a holdover from our furry mammal ancestors, who puffed up their hair to trap heat closer to the skin. And shaking? That is the equivalent of revving a car engine, vibrating our muscles so that they emit more heat. It is this balance between heat generation and removal that dictates our core body temperature.

Our bodies also automatically restrict blood flow to extremities, such as hands and feet, when cold weather hits, so we lose less heat to our surroundings. Since heat loss occurs at the skin-air interface, the more surface area you have exposed, the more likely you are to lose your hard-earned body heat on a cold winter day.

Likewise, those with less circulation in the extremities often have a harder time warming up, as less warm blood passes through from the rest of the body.


Read more: Your Skin Can Get Dry, Cracked, and Damaged in the Winter—Here’s Why


How does cold tolerance vary between individuals?

This relationship between the volume that generates heat and the surface area that loses heat also affects our propensity to cool down. As such, a smaller body tends to lose more heat as it has less volume to compensate for a comparatively larger area.

And the smaller it is, the more difficult it will be to avoid this heat loss. Take shrews for example. These small mammals, due to their tiny stature, must accelerate their heat-generating metabolism, so that their hearts pumps to a tune of over 800 beats per minute. By comparison, the average human heartbeat seems slow, beating only 60 to 100 times per minute. Shrews must consume a large meal every few hours, so that the animals do not starve.

Much larger than shrews, human children, and especially babies, need to bundle up more for this very reason. A baby can lose heat four times faster than an adult, which equates to a much higher risk of hypothermia.

The discrepancy may also be affected by sex. Women tend to be colder than men, on average, because they generally have smaller bodies. In a 2021 study published in Energy and BuildingsThe researchers found that most of the Female participants surveyed felt less comfortable in slightly cold temperatures. than male participants, due to different metabolic rates and responses to sweat. On the other hand, men tended to sweat more in the heat.

Certain conditions, such as hypothyroidism and anemia, can also affect heat production. People with iron deficiency, for example, They are known to have difficulties regulating its internal temperature and generating sufficient body heat. This is because hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen around the body to activate our internal furnace, requires iron in its construction.


Read more: 4 unusual illnesses caused by cold weather


Is there any benefit to being cold?

Still, the cold is not always something to fear. Researchers have found, for example, that cooler temperatures can help promote better sleep. People with insomnia, for example, They usually have more problems with thermoregulation – that is, staying cool when trying to go to sleep. A cooler room or a cooling hat can also help you sleep more. (Scientists have long set the ideal sleeping temperature at 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit.)

Meanwhile, if you have weight loss goals, the feeling of cold can push your body to start burning so-called “brown fat” harder. (Brown fat can be easily harvested for energy, while its counterpart, white fat, tends to accumulate more in our tissues.) The researchers found that lower temperatures prompted the body to convert more white adipose tissue into disposable brown fat for heat, according to a 2012 study in the Clinical Research Journal.

Chills can also influence the relationship between fat and heat. According to a 2014 article published in Cellular metabolism, shivering from the cold It can release hormones that instigate fat loss. Additionally, muscle movement burns calories, but scientists caution that it’s probably not a miracle solution to weight-related problems.


Read more: Cold weather affects our bodies in surprising ways


How cold can we get?

Of course, moderation is key, as hypothermia presents a very real risk for those who have difficulty regulating their body temperature. Despite this, and the reality of our demanding bodies, some exceptional people have made headlines by defying these biological norms.

In 1980, on a frigid night in Minnesota, a 19-year-old Jean Hilliard She literally froze after being forced out of her wrecked car following an accident. She was found just 15 feet from the home of Wally Nelson, a town resident, who took her to a nearby hospital expecting the worst.

Hilliard’s temperature didn’t even appear on the doctor’s thermometer. By a great stroke of luck, she was able to be revived without permanent complications, perhaps due to her age and her good circulation.

Some researchers are even trying to deliberately induce the chilling effects of being frozen. Cryogenic preservation aims to induce a state of total stasis in the body by freezing it. Some of its proponents hope to one day use the technology to create human time capsules, which can be thawed decades later, hopefully when new cures have been developed for customers’ ailments. For now, however, revival pods remain strictly in the realm of science fiction.


Read more: Shiver and lose weight: Can the cold help you lose weight?


Article sources

Our writers at Discovermagazine.com We use peer-reviewed studies and high-quality sources for our articles, and our editors review them for scientific accuracy and editorial standards. Please review the sources used below for this article:


Read more: Life after death? Cryonicists try to defy mortality by freezing bodies

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