Why Is Cold Better Than Hot?

There are many reasons to be excited for colder temperatures as we head into autumn: sweater weather, colorful leaves, drinking coffee without breaking a sweat.

And while we’ve got a personal preference for cold (go figure!), there are also many scientific reasons that cold is better than hot. And it’s not just about whether you prefer the winter or summer Olympics — it’s about what effects cold temps have on your body. Dive below for the details.

Avoid the Sunday Scaries

Patrick Baylis, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California at Berkeley, recently completed a heat study where he found that a high of 90 degrees Fahrenheit makes an average person’s happiness drop in the same way it does between a Sunday and Monday. For many of those who work Monday to Friday, you don’t need research to tell you the Sunday Scaries are real.

Perhaps even more surprisingly, Baylis found that the negative impact of colder temperatures isn’t as strong. While our happiness does drop with the temperature, that drop isn’t as severe as with hot weather.

Based on rising temperature predictions, Baylis roughly quantified the potential impact on happiness in the U.S. — and the results aren’t cool. In some areas, he called it “the equivalent of replacing every Saturday and Sunday in a year with a Monday.” His advisor at Berkeley said this paper may quantify one of the most broadly applicable costs of climate change beyond money.

Get better sleep

Sleep is extremely important for our physical and mental health, and optimal temperature is part of getting a good night’s sleep. Dr. Christopher Winter, a neurologist and sleep specialist, states that between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature when you’re catching zzz’s. And according to most studies, anything above or below that can disrupt your sleep.

In addition, Dr. Winter recounts that studies have also found that cooler body temperatures lead to more deep sleep. Those who sleep in cooler temperatures also sleep longer and feel more awake the next morning.

Melatonin is one of the many contributors to a good night’s sleep. But melatonin does more than that — it also helps prevent aging and may protect against a host of other health issues. So how do you ensure you get enough of it? Sleep in cooler temperatures.  

Increase your physical performance

When your body shivers, it has to work harder to maintain your body temperature. According to Nancy Clark, M.S., R.D., shivering can burn 400 calories per hour. When it’s that cold, you expend more energy than in warm weather, though how much depends on factors like the exact temperature and your clothing.

Some studies have also found that physical performance drops in hotter temperatures. For example in one study, marathon runners slowed as temperatures increased. Want to see how this works for yourself? Take a cold yoga class to discover the benefits of cold temperature on your workout.

Enjoy the benefits of cold therapy

Many of us have a very definite preference between cold and hot showers. Bring it up at the dinner table or in the locker room and it can quickly become a polarizing topic between friends. Each has their own benefits, but some research has found that cold showers actually better prepare you for the day because of their similarities to the benefits of cold therapy.  

Here are some of the benefits:

  • Closing your pores and tightening your scalp, which keeps moisture in and dirt out.  
  • Improving your immunity and circulation.
  • Speeding up muscle recovery, minimizing inflammation and providing pain relief.

Check out our cryosauna locator to experience these and other whole body cold therapy benefits for yourself!