Five ways your heating impacts your health

Is your central heating making you ill? Discover five ways it impacts your health and what you can do about it.

Studies have shown that just under half of people who sleep with their heating on claim to feel sick the next day. Research also shows that consistently using central heating systems can slow your metabolism, dehydrate your skin and spark allergies.

In this article Heating Wise shares five central heating can impact your health, and how to combat them.

1) Insomnia

According to Google Tend Data, the search term insomnia has received a 600% rise in searches within the last month alone. Such a rise reflects the growing popularity of the condition and the nations determination to gain insight into why insomnia is disrupting their sleep patterns. 

Studies at the University of Australia reveal that a person who suffers from insomnia tend to hold a high body temperature throughout the night. A body temperature that is just a fraction higher than average can majorly disrupt sleep.

Your body’s circadian rhythm sees Your body’s internal temperature naturally rise and fall throughout the day by the expansion in the skin’s blood vessels however, it steadily decreases throughout the evening all the way through to the early hours of 5am.

If the sleeping environment is at an unnatural temperature, this will disturb your body’s internal temperature therefore, hindering sleep. The ideal room temperature for sleep is 65F, no matter what the time of year. If your sleeping environment is to hot your internal body temperature will be too high and in turn, your circadian rhythm knocked out of whack.

Essentially, as your body is unable to cool, your circadian rhythm cannot signal that sleep must ensue, leaving you awake. As tempting as it is to create a cosy warm environment for sleep, it is better for it to be on the cool side. Beware of memory foam mattresses that can hold heat and radiators providing consistent heat close to bedtime.

2) Dehydration

A common misconception is that cooler weather paves the way to dry skin and even the flare up of skin conditions such as eczema. However, whilst the weather may contribute, it is central heating that causes a major impact on the skin. 

Throughout cooler months, we experience extreme contrasting temperatures from space to space. Such differences are likely to be the result of central heating. For instance, as we return inside from outdoor temperatures, there can be an instantaneous 10-degree difference.

This causes your blood vessels to dilate, triggering redness of your skin. Central heating robs moisture from the air, amplifying the drying effects from the coolness outdoors. In order to combat the drying nature that central heating can cause, invest in a humidifier. Humidifiers work to introduce moisture back into the air, preventing severe dryness of the skin.

3) The flu

As much of the nation continues to work from home, it can be tempting to keep central heating running consistently throughout the day. However, this practice can increase flu like symptoms as the dryer air causes dehydration of the respiration system. 

The cilia are hairs that cover your sinuses, which are then covered in mucus. The functionality of mucus within your nose is to clean and prevent illness by the hairs moving to your throat in order to cleanse your sinuses and throat of objects.

However, if the mucus is dry, it cannot perform this function. Instead, the mucus evolves into a scab-like object, stopping your hairs from moving and leading to minor infections. Consistent use of central heating can spark this process and for that reason, should be used periodically rather than consistently.

4) Slower metabolism

Sustaining a warm indoor environment sees that your body no longer needs to burn additional calories in order to stay warm. 50% of your daily calorie burn fuels the maintenance of your core temperature. In fact, those who fall into the category of obese tend to have a higher internal body temperature than those that do not.

When we are cold, our body shivers. This is an attempt to create heat and in turn, burn calories. Your body halts the shivering when your body has created enough heat, however the calories will continue to burn. Essentially, a cooler environment leads to the burning of more calories, which may serve as another reason to avoid consistent heating.

5) Allergies

People can often wonder why they are experiencing allergy symptoms throughout the winter months. As it turns out, it could be the result of the central heating system. Dust, pollen and general allergens all collect in ventilation systems throughout the house and lay dormant.

When the heating system is switched on, they rise into the air where they are then inhaled and aggravate allergies. If you are continuing to suffer from consistent sneezing, headaches and/or coughing, cleaning the ventilated areas in your house as well as the radiators.

Photo by Dmitry Schemelev