It’s a common trend in the workplace to see women wearing jackets or sweaters inside, even while temperatures outside are fairly warm and male coworkers are enjoying the chill of the air conditioner. In fact, a recent study has found that women are more likely to feel cold in the workplace, because offices are generally kept at temperatures more comfortable for men. This might lead you to wonder why men and women have such a discrepancy between their preferred surrounding temperatures, and the answer is actually fairly complex. Read on to see why women always seem to be colder than men, so you can make a scientifically-backed case to raise the temperature in your office by a few degrees.
Fat and Metabolic Rates
Women generally have higher ratios of body fat than men, and fat is much better at storing heat than muscle. As a result, women have higher core body temperatures than men — about 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit higher on average. Alternatively, men typically have more muscle mass, which equates to a higher metabolic rate. In other words, men have bodies that are naturally equipped to expend heat, so they tend to feel more comfortable than women in a 68 degree office.
Circulation and Relative Temperature
As it turns out, core body temperature is not the only consideration for an individual’s perception of the temperature in the surrounding environment. With cold extremities, you may feel much colder, even if your core body temperature is stable. Us ladies tend to have much colder hands and feet than men, often up to 3°F colder, which can translate to much greater discomfort in chilly temperatures.
So why do women have colder hands and feet? The answer lies in the difference between our circulatory systems. In colder environments, women’s blood vessels constrict more dramatically than men’s, thereby reducing the flow of blood to our outer extremities. In extremely cold situations, this reaction will keep our core body temperature higher to prevent freezing to death; in a chilly office, it will simply lead to greater discomfort, which in turn leads to a lack of focus and reduced productivity.
Women going through menopause are well-acquainted with the effects that hormones can have on body temperature regulation, as hot flashes are a common symptom of the change. Other spikes or dips in hormone production can have similar effects. The birth control pill, for example, tends to raise the body’s internal temperature significantly. Menstrual cycles and pregnancy can have an impact on body temperatures as well, while men tend to have much more constant hormonal levels that keep their body temperatures regular.