Women have long complained about feeling uncomfortable in offices, movie theaters, and other public places during the summer months because the air conditioning is set too high. They dress lightly for the warm outdoor temperatures, only to freeze when they step inside.
In winter, many women dress in layers but still find themselves freezing indoors when the layers have come off, because a thermostat is set too low.
Science is finally coming to the aid of suffering women, by showing that they may be healthier, happier, and more productive at warmer temperatures. A paper published in the journal PLOS One by the University of Southern California and the WZB Berlin Social Science Center revealed that women were better off when the thermostat was set at a little higher level than usual.
As reported by the Washington Post, researchers from both institutions ran a series of tests on randomly selected students in Berlin. The researchers measured verbal and math skills while the ambient temperature was raised by one degree with each succeeding test.
Each time researchers raised the temperature by one degree Fahrenheit, the number of questions answered correctly by females increased by 1.76 percent. When the temperatures increased from the 60s to the 70s, math scores for women jumped by 15 percent.
Men, on the other hand, struggled as the temperatures rose. Their correct answers dropped by 3 percent at warmer levels, which showed why it can be so difficult to arrive at a suitable compromise between the sexes over the issue of a comfortable level of heat or cool air.
Another study shows that when temperatures rise, the death toll drops. The number of deaths in 89 counties throughout the U.S. peaked during the winter months and showed a lower fatality rate in the summer. Researchers stated that interior and exterior temperatures influenced the numbers.
The environment where these studies were conducted may be different from that of your home or office, but the heat level is clearly a key factor for women. If you’re a woman who seeks greater productivity, health, and happiness, try setting your thermostat a little higher.
Five Ways to Improve Your Indoor Temperature
There’s probably nothing you can do about the weather outside, but you can improve your indoor temperature in order to operate at optimum capacity. For women who need a warmer climate, here are a few tried-and-true tips to reduce drafts and maintain a warmer environment.
- Additional Heating
Look for ways to add heat to your space, especially if you lack control over the thermostat. Check the regulations for use of a space heater in your office, and choose a safe model that has a temperature control valve and automatic shutoff.
In your home, you could install a wood-burning stove, wood or gas fireplace, or another heating appliance that’s both functional and attractive. Just make sure you maintain it properly to minimize the risk of fire.
- Programmable Thermostat
Many women resist setting the temperature at the level that’s right for them because they wish to conserve energy. In the summer, this may not be a problem, but during the winter, it’s cheaper and more efficient to keep the house cool.
Instead of keeping the thermostat set at a constant low level, use a programmable thermostat. This will enable you to set the temperature at an optimal level when you’re at home but adjust it up or down while you’re asleep and/or away.
- Check Your Windows and Doors
Many people don’t realize they have a heat efficiency problem due to improperly caulked windows and doors. Heat or conditioned air escapes through cracks and holes in the frame around these openings.
Damaged, improperly installed, or poorly maintained windows and doors can cause problems with heating or cooling. If you’re struggling to maintain an ideal temperature in your home, it might require some basic repairs.
Caulking and weather-stripping can improve your comfort dramatically and also save you money.
- Install More Efficient Window Treatments
Along with repairing problems with windows, look at better window treatments that help to trap air indoors where it belongs. Here’s a short list of highly efficient window treatments to help you seal potential air leaks:
- Storm windows over single-pane windows
- Heavy curtains or drapes
- Tinted, high-reflectivity window cling
- Room-darkening shades
- Check Your Insulation
The purpose of insulation is to help your home resist heat flow. In the summer, it prevents heat from entering; and in the winter, it stops it from leaving. Proper insulation can be essential for reducing heating and cooling costs and creating a more comfortable environment.
Hire a contractor to inspect the insulation in your walls and attic. It’s recommended you do this once per year.
It may also be time to replace the insulation based on the age of the product—if it’s been 15 to 20 years since it was installed, you probably should have it updated if you want to maintain a warmer environment for your health and comfort.