Here’s Why Your Deskmate Is Using a Space Heater and 3 Blankets While You’re Dripping Sweat

woman wearing a scarf at her desk

It’s January. You’re sitting at your desk, typing away while intermittently taking sips of your iced coffee. Next to you, you coworker, warmed by a space heater beneath her desk, shivers while clutching a mug of tea she doesn’t intend on drinking but is using to warm her goose bumped hands. People obviously have different internal body temperatures, but the disparity becomes even more apparent in the wintertime. So, we set out to find out why some people are so much more susceptible to low temps than others. Here are four possible explanations. 

1. Your Gender
It’s not just a stereotype: Women typically do get colder than men do. Per a study at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, women’s core temperatures are consistently higher than men’s. You might think that would mean women are warmer, but it actually means the opposite: women are more used to being warm. On top of that, men typically have faster metabolisms than women. People with faster metabolisms experience increased blood flow, which keeps them warmer.

2. Your Body Shape
Which is to say, height and weight. Weight-wise, the more fat you have under your skin, the more layers there are to shield your core from the cold. Height-wise, it’s about surface area, since a taller person has more surface area to be affected by cold than a shorter person of the same build.

3. Your Sleep Schedule
Huh? In addition to wreaking havoc on multiple other body systems, not getting enough sleep can impact how your body reacts to temperature. A study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that people who were otherwise healthy experienced a drop in body temperature when they were sleep deprived.

4. Your Overall Health
Aside from the above factors, a number of medical conditions can contribute to increased sensitivity to cold, from thyroid issues to iron deficiency. Per usual, if you suspect something is off, health-wise, consult your doctor.

I Tried a $300 Thermostat Bracelet in an Attempt to Warm Up in My Freezing Office

sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...