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Stay Warm, Six Ways

Layer Up

Ok, ok, this one’s old hat - put on a jumper before you put on the heating and all that. But there’s a method you should follow for maximum cosiness. A thin, close-fitting, base layer, made of wool or a fabric which helps wick away moisture. A mid layer, made of thicker fabric which fits a bit looser, to trap in some warmth and allow a bit of breathability. And lastly an outer layer - which you probably don’t need if you’re hanging out at home. This is to protect you from the elements, something waterproof and breathable so you don’t overheat or sweat a ridiculous amount. What’s worth knowing is that the same rules apply to your feet - light, thick, then thicker socks if necessary. Remember that heat from your body escapes through your feet and your head, so if you can’t stay warm in bed, alongside those socks you can always consider a Dickens-style night hat!

Drink Right, Sleep Right

Keeping the right temperature in bed can be a challenge, especially if you’ve not had the heating on in the evening. What’s the first thing you do when you get in from a cold day out? Obviously, you stick the kettle on. But if you think a cuppa right before bedtime will keep you warm, think again. We’ve all heard someone during the height of summer say “have a cup of something hot, it’ll make you sweat and cool you down” - and they’re right! The same applies in winter and the last thing you want is to get chilly once you crawl into bed. So try something lukewarm instead. We hate to say it, but it’s a similar situation when it comes to alcohol. A nightcap might make you feel warm for an hour or so, but it messes with your body’s thermoregulation so you’re less aware of the actual temperature of the room, causing hot flashes and night sweats. Maybe stick to a mug of warm milk?

Heat Your Space, Naturally

We’re all trying to save money where we can, and we all know about draught excluders and hot water bottles. However, there are a couple of other tips and tricks you can try to keep in the heat which you might not have considered:
  • Flannel bed sheets. Flannel as a fabric is designed to trap heat due to its weave and brush. This creates small pockets to keep warm air close, so those lumberjacks really do know their stuff!
  • Thicker curtains, closer to the window, reduce how much warm air is lost to the window and how much cold air is introduced to the room. Simple really.
  • Reverse your ceiling fan. Ok we’ll admit, this one sounds bizarre! The blades of a ceiling fan are angled a certain way to move cool air down, so when you reverse the direction, they pull cold air up. The hot air in the room will naturally be near the ceiling, so when you replace it with that cold air, the warm air is moved down into the room. Get it?
  • Shut the door and keep the heat to one room - have a movie night, get cosy, stick on those layers, and prevent air flow through the rest of the house. Done!

Stay Warm From Within

So there’s actually a reason that chunky winter veg soup makes you feel all toasty inside. It’s called ‘thermogenesis’ which basically means that because certain foods take longer to digest, your body temperature rises and makes you feel warmer. Look for complex carbs, root vegetables, and iron-rich foods naturally high in protein and healthy fats. Oddly enough, bananas also help to regulate body temperature! They have an impact on the function of your adrenal glands which can help keep shivers at bay. Ginger, pepper, cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon also help warm you from the inside out - they’re good for your metabolism, help ward off winter flu, and make food and drink tasty.

Kickstart Your Heart (rate)

Blood flow is key to keeping you warm. Keep up with your iron-rich foods to make sure your extremities stay toasty, and avoid sitting still for too long. Regular movement is important, but don't worry, we’re not telling you to get up every hour on the hour to do a 5-mile hike! Try moving gently - desk exercises, knee bends, hoovering - and avoid the urge to sit and watch the entire Bridget Jones’ Diary trilogy in one sitting. There’s something to be said for ‘breathwork’ too. This is a yoga-style technique which is designed to get your blood pumping and stimulate lung activity. Some of these exercises get you to practise a ‘forceful breath’ - search for Ujjayi or Kapalabhati breathwork online for the methods and benefits.

Go Penguin-Style

A cuddle shared is a temperature doubled - that’s how the saying goes, right? As well as fuelling us with oxytocin and making us feel all calm and squishy, being close to another means less of your body’s surface area is exposed to your surroundings. The human body senses the loss of heat, rather than the lower temperature itself, so the closer you can get to a friend, partner, pet, the better.

4th December 2023