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4 Myths About Staying Warm That Actually Make You Colder

Posted 12-09-14 in Heating

Trying to stay warm as temperatures drop to the 30s and 40s?

You may be making things worse.

How?

Because you believe certain myths about making yourself warmer that can actually make you colder!

Here are 4 of them.

Myth 1: Drinking hot drinks make your warmer

Coffee, hot tea, hot cocoa—these hot drinks help warm us up on a cold winter day, right?

Actually, hot drinks may actually help cool you down, according to Peter McNaughton, a neuroscientist at the University of Cambridge.

He told NPR that when you drink hot drinks, there’s a receptor in your tongue that tells your brain, “It’s getting hot in here.”  The brain then turns on the mechanism that helps cool your body: sweating.

Sweating helps you cool off more than the drink actually warms your body up.

Myth 2: Drinking alcohol makes you warmer

While Christmas cheer can come from a few cups of eggnog, alcoholic beverages can also lower your core temperature and increase the risk of hypothermia, according to the New York Times.

They report that, “The normal process that makes us feel cold occurs when blood flows away from the skin and into the organs, which increases core body temperature. Alcohol reverses this process, increasing the flow of blood to the skin and setting off a sharp drop in body temperature.” (Emphasis ours.)

Myth 3: All you need is a hat since most of the heat escapes your head

Some say you lose 50%-70% of your body’s heat through your head. So all you need is a cap to stay warm.

But University of Michigan professor Andrew Maynard debunks this myth in this funny video.

Here’s the summary: We now know that body heat loss is relative to how much skin you’re exposing, not which body part you’re exposing.

Turns out your head only accounts for about 10% of your heat loss.

But, by all means, wear a hat! Just don’t assume you can ditch the jacket.

Myth 4: Taking a warm shower warms you up

A warm shower will warm you up...while you’re in the shower.

But once you step out of the warm cocoon that is the shower curtain, the water on your body quickly evaporates—taking your body heat with it

It’s like when you’re cooling off via sweating—just dramatically more noticeable.

Smarter ways to stay warm at home

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