09 Nov 2018
75 °F: hot in winter, cold in summer?
The brain sometimes plays tricks on us and can confuse our perceptions.
Have you ever been home on a hot summer day after an intense exercise session and perceived that the ambient temperature was cool where in fact the thermometer displayed… 75 °F?
And on the opposite, to feel warm (and maybe too hot!) in a home at the same temperature in the winter?
Channeling our inner thermostat
That’s because of our “inner thermostat”. The one we have in our brain and that regulates the temperature of our body. Dr. Aaron Young, professor at Boston University School of Medicine, explains: “How the body regulates temperature and our awareness of temperature are linked but are a little bit separate in how we process it.”
Humans are homeotherms. Our body will do everything to keep its temperature to a steady 98.6 °F.
In short, when it’s hot, our body tries to cool down by sweating or activating the blood circulation to the skin to evacuate heat, for example, and when it’s cold it warms up by shivering.
Nevertheless, unlike the thermostat on your wall, the human body doesn’t switch as quickly as a device (unless you are a robot). If it is in cooling mode, it will take several minutes before adapting to the new temperature, and vice versa.
That’s why, among other things, a 75 °F will feel cold in summer and hot in winter.
When you’re at home, the indoor temperature should always be of 70 °F for the best energy savings. Some of your family members are complaining? Have them execute jumping jacks for a couple of minutes or hand them the mop for an energized cleaning session and their inner thermostat will do the rest!
Source: WGBH News