COLUMN: Battle of the thermostat

I am always too cold and my husband is always too hot.

  • Apr. 15, 2015 7:00 a.m.
COLUMN: Battle of the thermostat

I am always too cold and my husband is always too hot. That statement is almost always true, especially when it comes to our house.

“Who turned the heat up to 78 degrees?” Paul has asked me in complete horror so many times I’ve lost count.

“It was like an ice box in here,” I’ve been known to respond. “My nose was about to fall off.”

Grumbling that it felt more like a sauna, he’d turn the thermostat way down to 68 degrees leaving me to marvel at how differently our bodies can react to the exact same temperature.  Of course there are biological reasons why women are usually colder than men, and after living with Paul for 20 years I’ve learned some tricks to warming up that don’t include turning up the furnace or turning off the air conditioner.

Number one is drinking hot chocolate. Any hot beverage helps, but hot chocolate even more so for some reason. Growing up, I was always told that hot drinks cool you down and cold drinks warm you up. I don’t find that’s true in the least. Not for me anyway. Merely holding a cup of something hot starts to warm me up.

Number two is taking a bath. A few of my girlfriends will talk about the hot tubs or infrared saunas they’re going to indulge in when they get home from one of our cold, windy walks by the lake and I’ll think “lucky them.” But soaking in a hot bubble bath warms me up and is a relaxing luxury as well. If I dry off and dress right away I can keep myself heated from the inside out.

Number three is a pair of thick, fuzzy socks. When I first became a mother almost 15 years ago, I read the best way to get your children to sleep through the night is to put them to bed with their socks on so they start off warm and stay that way. It didn’t work for my son because he’d get overheated, and I can’t say it worked for me either because I’d also wake up in the middle of the night burning up. But wearing the socks leading up to bedtime definitely helps.

Number four is a plush blanket with or without the benefit of cuddling a loved one underneath it. That isn’t going to work if I’m on the move and doing stuff around the house though. In that case a thick plush hoodie does the trick.

I know there are many remedies to warming up, but these are my top four. You might wonder why I am writing about this topic in the spring, as we’re experiencing warmer weather. It’s because for me this is not a seasonal issue: being too cold extends throughout the year. It’s not unusual to see me in a warm jacket in an air-conditioned coffee shop in the middle of a hot summer day.

One of my friends who feels cold most of the time, like I do, agrees to sleeping with her window ajar because her husband can only fall asleep in cool temperatures. She said it was hard leaving the warmth of her bed in the morning because the room was way too chilly. And then her mother-in-law suggested she store a pair of flannel pajamas under the covers at the foot of the bed that she could slide into before getting up from her comfortable spot in the morning. It worked.

“They’re so warm it’s like putting them on after getting them out of the dryer,” she said. “With those and my slippers waiting for me I can give up our cozy covers a little easier.”

But why is it always women trying to adapt to the cold? After living with my husband for 20 years, I think it’s high time he surrenders control of the thermostat and discovers some cooling down tricks for himself. Maybe he could soak in a bath full of ice water while drinking a slurpee and then hang out in just his birthday suit for the rest of the day.

On second thought, I think I will continue to adapt.


Lori Welbourne is a syndicated columnist. She can be contacted at