Turn up the Heat but not the Thermostat

‘This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen,’ wrote Shakespeare in King Lear.   It must have been very chilly back in the 1500s without a roaring fire all night to keep you warm.  We are a little luckier these days as most of us have well-insulated homes and central heating, but there are good reasons to keep the thermostat turned down despite the drop in temperature.  Those extra few degrees that make you feel toasty rather than just lukewarm not only add hundreds to your fuel bill, but harm the environment and dry out your hair and skin.  It is also a bad idea to overheat your bedroom as this can reduce the quality of your sleep and leave you tired and dehydrated in the morning.  There are ways to keep you and your house warm in winter, without turning up the heat.  Here are our top 10 tips on keeping your house warm:

  1. If you have a spare duvet (perhaps a lighter one you use for summer) place it between your mattress and bottom sheet.  This sounds strange but it makes you much warmer in bed and it´s really comfy too.  If you want to splash out a little, a purpose made mattress topper will do the same job.  Also add any extra layers on top, beneath your top duvet.  Your duvet works best when it is fluffy, not squashed.
  2. Check your insulation.  Double glazing helps a lot, but if you plan on heating just one room in the evening it helps if the internal door fits well.  If there are gaps you can buy insulation strips for the bottom or use a home-made draught excluder sausage (see next hint).
  3. You can make your own insulation ‘sausages’ using any left-over scraps of fabric or old sheets or pillow cases.  Simply cut out and sew a long rectangle shape and stuff it with scrunched newspaper or old tights. This can then be placed at the bottom of doors to keep the draughts out.
  4. Take a hot water bottle to bed. Sometimes the simplest and oldest tricks are the best.
  5. Keep moving.  Sitting in the same position for a long time will allow your body temperature to drop, even a brisk walk of two or three minutes will get your blood circulating and warm you up.
  6. Wear lots of layers.  Wearing bulky clothing indoors can feel uncomfortable, but if you wear lots of soft thin layers you can take clothes off or put them on to get just the right body temperature. It is also more effective.  Remember that on average, men have a body temperature that is a couple of degrees higher than women, so they feel warmer.  It is a lot harder to get cooler so the most sensible thing as a couple, is for the ladies to pop on an extra jumper. 
  7. You can always ask for a cuddle if you still fell chilly!  But ironically, if you are sharing a bed is better to take most of your clothes off.  Body heat is best transferred via skin, but still make sure you have a good duvet to keep out the cold.
  8. Eat to beat the cold.  The good news about being a little colder is that you burn off more calories (yay).  If you are well-fed and hydrated you can tolerate the cold much better, plus the fitter you are, the more brown fat you have on your body which also helps.  The bad news is that alcohol actually lowers the body temperature so that whilst a little nip of something strong might feel like it will warm you up, it actually does the opposite.
  9. Have a cup of tea.  Or any hot drink, you will feel instantly warmer.
  10. Carpets are a great way to make a room feel warmer.  If you have a tiled or wood surfaced floor, why not put rugs down for the winter months?

We hope you like these ideas.  Tell us if you have any top tips.

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Dawn Blake

Dawn Blake

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