Men vs. Women, Hot vs. Cold

In the epic battle over the thermostat, which sex's complaints go lukewarm?

ByMARGARET ARO, JEN PEREIRA and LEE FERRAN via via logo
August 4, 2009, 7:52 AM

Aug. 4, 2009 — -- It's an epic battle that rages between men and women in households across the country: Who should control the temperature?

Sometimes, the battle even turns to guerilla tactics. Jim and Sheila Hagan, parents of a "Good Morning America" producer, admit that they secretly adjust the thermostat when the other isn't looking.

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"Before we go to bed I will, maybe, tell Sheila I've got to get a glass of water and she'll have the temp up around 78 degrees," Jim Hagan said. "I will walk down the hall and I will switch it over to, say, 72 or 71 degrees, something like that."

That very same battle -- in which men want it cooler and women want it hotter -- could be caused by a difference in the bodies of men and women, experts say.

"Women tend to have more constricted blood vessels, which places blood closer to the surface of the skin, which means you'd be cooler and men would be just the opposite," Don Young of the International Facility Management Association told "Good Morning America" recently.

The blood, meant to warm our extremities when we're cold, is redirected to our core, where women's vital organs are warmer to meet childbearing needs, according to "Good Morning America" medical contributor Dr. Marie Savard. When their hands and feet are chilly, women feel cold.

Also, about a third of body heat is generated by muscle and women tend to have less muscle mass than men.

But it's not just women complaining about the cold. According to experts, skinny men get colder than heftier men because each pound of fat seals the heat inside the body.

Low blood pressure can also cause someone to be chilly because blood, which heats the body, does not circulate as well.

Sometimes, however, in workplaces and conference halls, it really is as cold as the chilly people say -- many event planners and bosses think cold air makes people a little more alert.

"Medical research shows cool temperature will, for example, suppress the production of serotonin, which controls things like appetite, hunger, anger and sleepiness, and they also increase the metabolic rate so they make people more alert and more awake," Young said.

Chilly Wife Identifies 'Trickster' Husband

In the Hagan home, there are no bosses. But Sheila Hagan knows exactly who to blame now when things get a little chilly.

"Isn't he a trickster?" she said of her husband.

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