5 Weird Ways Cold Weather Affects Your Body That'll Have You Wearing Even More Layers
When it comes to the fall and winter seasons, one thing is certain: The cold weather can make you feel really, really, really cold. Yes, that sounds silly and obvious, but really, the drop in temperature, and the chill you feel as a result, can affect you in ways you'd probably never expect. In fact, there are some really weird ways cold weather affects the body, and while some of them are annoying, others are, surprisingly enough, kind of great.
Regardless of the season or the weather report, your body wants to maintain a constant temperature, right? Somewhere around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit? Well, according to Robert Kenefick, Ph.D., a research physiologist at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, when the temperature drops during the much-dreaded shift to winter, these things called thermoreceptors in your skin alert your brain — specifically, Kenefick told Business Insider, a part of your brain called the hypothalamus, which works to maintain your body temperature, among other functions. So even though the cold weather tries to steal your energy and bum you out as soon as you step outside and get slapped in the face with a gust of wind, your body is constantly working to combat the chill and help you stay warm and happy.
Below, experts reveal some of the other, rather unusual ways in which your body does its thing to stay warm and cozy in the winter.
The Cold Might Increase Your Sex Drive
This is one of the few ways in which cold weather actually benefits you. And while this concept might sound a little out there, Dr. Richard Honaker, a primary care physician with Your Doctors Online, tells Elite Daily in an email that the cold weather just might increase your sex drive — perhaps, he explains, because it encourages warm, snuggly moods, but also because of certain internal shifts in the body when the seasons change, such as an increase in sperm count for men, he says.
Medical Daily reports something similar, saying that things like higher testosterone levels, and even higher fertility rates during fall and winter, can all lead to increased sexual desire. Hey, no complaints here.
Your Dried Out Nostrils Might Do Funny Things To Your Senses
You know how indoor temperature-controlled environments can make your skin all dry? Well, apparently the same thing can happen to your insides, too.
While the cold itself generally won't affect your vision, smell, or other senses, Dr. Honaker tells me, the dry heat indoors that protects you from the chilly weather can cause your nasal mucous membranes to dry out, crack, and swell, he explains. According to Honaker, this can technically affect how you taste things, and of course, your sense of smell, too.
Be sure to treat yourself to plenty of steamy baths in the winter, and consider investing in a humidifier.
You Might Have To Pee More
This one's just unfortunate, IMO, because I already feel like I pee all the dang time. But Dr. Chirag Shah, a medical reviewer for PollMed and board-certified physician who specializes in emergency medicine, says that one unusual effect of cold weather on the body is that it can apparently increase your need to pee.
"Also known as cold-induced diuresis, one theory is that this effect occurs because the cold causes the body to funnel blood from the periphery to the core in order to keep the vital organs warm," Dr. Shah tells Elite Daily in an email. "The increased blood flow in the core tells special receptors that our blood pressure is higher than normal, and that we need to get rid of excess fluid in our body." Thus, the need to pee. Ugh.
It Can Affect Your Sleep Quality
Again, this one's less about the cold itself, and more about the air you sleep in, and how dry or humid it is.
You definitely want your heating system to be able to control the humidity level in your home, and to maintain an even temperature throughout the night. Not too hot, not too cold, Richard Ciresi of Aire Serv tells Elite Daily, and if your apartment's heating system is super old (like mine), go ahead and get yourself a humidifier so that your sinuses don't get all dry and crusty while you sleep.
Yes, The Cold Makes You More Prone To Getting Sick, Too
David Barbour, co-founder of Vivio Life Sciences, says that yes, the cold weather does, unfortunately, make it easier to catch a cold. "The drop in temperature directly correlates to a drop in humidity," he tells Elite Daily. "It dries the mucus of the eyes, nose, mouth, stomach, respiratory tract, stomach, urinary tract, and more."
All of that ultimately leaves your body susceptible to pathogens, Barbour says, which is the main reason why viruses tend to be more prevalent when the cold weather arrives.