Why are some people colder than others?

For some, the layers of clothing overlap but nothing helps, the cold always feels. Jimmy Mohamed, GP, explains where the cold can come from.

It takes little, very little, for them to be cold. They are called cold, including those who declare almost zero tolerance to low temperatures. They only really bloom in the middle of summer, and in winter they only reach thermal comfort at 23 degrees indoors. How to explain that we are not all housed in the same boat? The chill is a sensation, “a matter of comfort, specific to each one”, answers Jimmy Mohamed, general practitioner and author of zero restriction (Ed. Flammarion). And while sensation can be affected during the day by variations in body temperature (it’s higher in the morning and lower at night), other factors come into play.

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genetics and lifestyle

In the first place, the chill can come from “hereditary reasons, with a predisposition to poor blood circulation, for example,” reports the doctor. But it is not because our parents are cautious that we will necessarily be.

Then the way of life can come into play, depending on whether you are active or not in general, the sensation will be different, that is, the more you move, the less cold you will feel. “When we are in motion, the oxygen we breathe is oxidized to produce energy and the latter slows down the sensation of cold”, Jimmy Mohamed develops. Thus, athletes, for example, will be less cautious than more immobile people. “They have a higher metabolism and produce a lot of energy.”

meEducation and the difference between men and women.

The nervousness of some can also find its origin in childhood and more precisely in the relationship maintained since childhood with low temperatures. If parents explain to their child that he will be cold if he doesn’t wear a down jacket, he will integrate the information and “he may still be subconsciously convinced of this as he gets older.” Once an adult, the person becomes convinced that a lot needs to be covered.

Also, men are generally spared more than women. In question ? “Testosterone, much more present in them and that blocks certain receptors in the brain and modifies the sensation of cold,” says the doctor.


The older we get, the more sensitive we are to low temperatures. From birth, it is brown fat, also called brown adipose tissue, that helps us fight the cold and maintain a body temperature of around 37 degrees. But it decreases with age, and in some more than in others.

The elderly will also be colder than others: “they lose fat that until then helped to insulate the body a little better,” adds the doctor. In the particular case of men, we see a decrease in testosterone. The cold receptors are less blocked, so they get colder.” On the women’s side, menopause and the game of hormones can also increase the sensation of cold. “The variations in temperature can cause hot flashes or chills,” continues Jimmy Mohamed.

blood flow

The origin of the chill can also be found in the blood circulation in the body. To understand the problem, the doctor makes an analogy with radiators: “if the water circulation is bad, the heat will not be distributed evenly in the radiator, the same happens with the blood”. Poor blood circulation can be pathological or hereditary. Those who suffer from it can sleep with stockings that will shelter better, advises the doctor.


In some other cases, the chill can also be a symptom of different pathologies. Hypothyroidism is one of them: “the thyroid regulates the heartbeat, the transit but also the temperature. Thus, those affected will have the impression of being slowed down, tired and constantly cold”, explains the doctor.

In other cases, the chill may be due to “problems with the adrenal glands that produce cortisol. When this hormone is not well regulated, then we can feel cold or, on the contrary, hot flashes”, concludes the specialist.


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