This article was written by the Home Doctor Brisbane Team.

Has the temperature of your room or office become a heated debate? Are you constantly perplexed by how your partner can throw off the blankets while you’re curled up in multiple layers? Let’s try and get to the bottom of why some people are always hot and some are always cold.

Image of 2 people one is hot and other is cold

How does the body regulate temperature?

Humans are warm blooded, meaning we can regulate our internal body temperature regardless of the environment. To keep our bodies core temperature regulated at 37ºC the process begins in the brain, the hypothalamus is responsible for releasing hormones to control temperature.

Receptors on the skin detect changes in temperature and pass the information onto the hypothalamus. From here sweat glands and muscles are automatically triggered to ensure the body’s core temperature remains constant.

If you’re too hot:

  • You will begin to sweat, which cools the skin as it evaporates.
  • The blood vessels under your skin will get wider, which helps increase blood flow to the skin, letting the body release heat through radiation.

If you’re too cold:

  • The blood vessels under your skin will narrow, this decreases the blood flow to your skin and helps retain heat.
  • Your organs, muscles and brain may produce heat in a number of ways, e.g. shivering.
  • Your thyroid may release hormones to increase the metabolism, increasing energy and heat in your body.

So, why are some people always hot and some always cold?

There are a number of factors which dictate whether you are someone who is more hot or more cold. These include weight, size, age, gender, diet, sleep patterns and your lifestyle.

Who’s cold?

  • Women
  • Older people
  • Less active individuals
  • Those with lower BMI’s
  • Smokers

Who’s hot?

  • Men
  • Younger people
  • Those leading an active lifestyle
  • Those with higher BMI’s

Image of different people who are hot or cold

Let’s take a closer look at four factors which may help determine whether you run hot or cold.

1. Stress

Hormones play a role in helping regulate our body temperature. If you’re under a lot of stress your hypothalamus and hormones can be thrown out of whack.

When we are under a great deal of stress our automatic nerves system also kicks in. This causes more blood to move towards the internal organs as part of your fight or flight response, which raises your body temperature.

So, if you find you’re always hot in the office (even with the AC on) it might be time to take a quick break and re-boot.

2. Happiness

Regardless of the temperature in our environment our feelings can be somewhat based off our emotional state. If you’re feeling isolated, alone or depressed you’re more likely to feel cold.

Turns out that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you’re surrounded by family and friends is real. The more socially connected you are the warmer you’ll feel.

3. Sex

Does your partner always complain about being hot when you’re wrapped up in the blanket? A recent study found that women are more likely to feel sensitive to surrounding temperature than men. While there are no major differences between male and female internal temperature, women may be more sensitive to the environment.

4. Medical conditions

While it’s normal for some to feel hot while others are cold if the feelings are extreme it could be a sign of a medical condition or poor health. Conditions such as anaemia, malnutrition, infection, weight issues, hypothyroidism, diabetes or Raynaud’s disease. If you’re uncomfortably hot or cold often it may be worth discussing these concerns with your regular GP.