What Is The Ideal Room Temperature?
We observe a constant fight between getting a comfortable lifestyle and controlling our bills. It’s not advisable to get on one extreme, and we should find a suitable compromise between the two.
The three C’s, Climate, Cost, and Comfort define the ideal temperature for our rooms. People accustomed to living in biting-cold regions and those living near the equator, have a different levels of tolerance to temperatures. Others living in moderate climates have different preferences.
So, thermal comfort varies from person to person, and a specific temperature can’t satisfy everyone. However, the studies and WHO (World Health Organization) suggest a general and average ideal temperature for easy reference.
Still, according to the WHO, 64oF is the ideal and comfortable temperature for a normal (not sick) and adequately dressed person. The Oxford English Dictionary states that 68oF is the perfect room temperature.
Generally, 64-68oF is the optimum temperature for a room, but when we get specific, the range varies a bit. For instance, we prefer cooler bedrooms and warmer bathrooms.
Ideal Room Temperature At Night (For Sleep)
Are you facing trouble getting to sleep in these chilly winters? The reason may be your thermostat, which is either set too high or too low. A cooler (not cold) room will help you get to sleep faster than a warmer one. Your body temperature decreases as you fall asleep.
Keeping cold temperatures in winter for saving your bills is not a sensible thing to do. You will feel restless and troubled when trying to sleep. Or you may get uneven sleep, in which you dream a lot.
Similarly, improperly air-conditioning your room in summer may raise the same problem. To reduce your bills, you may not cool the room up to the required temperature, resulting in disturbed sleep.
If you usually fall asleep in less than 30 minutes and sleep soundly with no more than a one-time awakening, your sleep is ideal. According to experts, 60-67oF is the optimum temperature range for sleeping.
However, Chris Winter, MD, president of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine in Virginia, narrows the range and defines 65oF to be the ideal temperature, and he states:
“That doesn’t mean 66 or 67 is terrible, but a cooler environment usually lends itself to a better quality of sleep,” Dr. Winter tells Health.
Difference Between Men & Women's Ideal Temperature
There is a constant thermostat battle not only in the homes but also in the workplace. Women feel much colder at temperatures that are ideal for men. However, studies show that cold temperatures negatively affect women’s performance, but men are very less affected by temperature changes. On average, men feel comfortable at 71oF, but women prefer the thermostat set at 77oF.
Commonly, the environment of a workplace is usually set according to the men’s preferences, and women complain a lot.
Chang is an Associate professor of finance and business economics at the University of Southern California, and Kajackaite is a behavioral economics researcher at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center. Together they researched in Germany on around 500 men and women.
They attempted some tests with rewards for each correct answer. The researchers kept different rooms at different temperatures, ranging from 61-91oF.
Women performed best in their math tests at warmer temperatures, and the cold reduced their performance by 1.76% (for every 1oC increase). And at a warmer temperatures, the women’s productivity increased by 1% for each 1oC increment.
Men, however, got less affected by the changing temperatures. Their performance in math and word tests reduced only by 0.6% for each 1oC temperature increase.
The study suggests that temperature changes didn’t affect the performance of both genders in the case of logical tests.
It’s a fact that women have a lower metabolic rate than men, and they emit less body heat, as compared to men. Moreover, men have comparatively thicker skin, and their blood vessels are nearer to the skin's surface. That’s the reason they feel colder at the ideal temperatures for men.
Ideal Room Temperature For Study
You might have observed that during winter, many public places and schools are blasted with heat while some are kept so cold, causing people and students to shiver. To get the best of a student’s creativity and to make him more attentive and protective, the classroom must not be kept too warm or too cold.
The Environmental Protection Agency conducted several experiments by testing students in temperature-controlled rooms. They kept all other affecting factors constant (except for the obvious ones like one student is more intelligent than the other).
The results confirmed that students in cold and hot temperature rooms got lower grades in the tests. However, those in rooms with a controlled temperature performed better on the test. They found 70oF to be the ideal classroom temperature for studying.
A similar test was carried out at Cornell University, which produced almost the same results. They found an ambient temperature range of 70-78oF. Further, they also identified the reasons for these results.
The increased or decreased heat level can cause discomfort, and your mind gets busy in regulating your body temperature. You get distracted and feel lethargic and sleepy in hot temperatures. In the cold, you do feel awake, but your mind loses concentration.
Ideal Room Temperature For Work
Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recommends a temperature range of 68-76oF to be suitable for the workplace. Some studies also suggest 70-73oF to be ideal for offices. A person gives the best of himself during work if he is at a thermal comfort level. Thermal comfort is the temperature, which is neither too warm nor too hot.
If a person feels warm or cold in the office, he will lose his focus, and his attention span will get reduced. The result is less productivity. Women tend to feel cold at temperatures that are perfect for men.
They did the experiment on nine female clerks in an issuance office. Despite the small dataset, the results were impressive. At 77oF, they consistently worked with a 10% error rate. When the temperature was reduced by 5 degrees, their productivity was slashed by half.
The CSA Z412-17 standard Office Ergonomics recommends ideal temperatures during work, for both the summer and winter seasons. It should be 76oF in during summers and 72oF in winters.
Besides the room temperature, the thermal comfort level also depends on other factors like a person’s metabolic rate and radiant temperatures of different surfaces.
Being honest, finding a specific temperature to satisfy everyone in the office is an impossible task. But the thermostat wars can be ended by taking personalized measures, for instance, desks with their own air-conditioning.
Keeping a comfortable and ideal temperature in the office can result in improved productivity, creativity, and job satisfaction.
How Does Room Temperature Affect Productivity?
Researches show that very high and low temperatures cause a noticeable decline in productivity. If you keep the temperature higher than 90oF, then employees will feel restless and uncomfortable. If you keep it below 60oF, they will start to shiver, and their mind will lose focus and attention.
Cornell carried out a study in a Florida insurance company, and the results of this study produced were arresting. 77oF was kept as an optimal room temperature at which the employees performed very well. But when the temperature dropped to 68 degrees, the workers made 44% more errors in their work.
These results complement the fact that room temperature has a direct effect on a person’s performance at the workplace.
The Effects Of Setting Your Room Temperature Too High
Many of us love to keep our room toasty, but we must consider the fact that it will reduce our productivity. If we are doing some work in our home, we can do it efficiently if we keep the thermostat at a controlled ambient temperature. High heat makes us feel sleepy and lethargic.
Keeping your house too warm all the time causes an elevation in your electricity bills. Moreover, it also has adverse effects on your health.
Kingma states that: “By exposing yourself to mild cold and mild-warm environments you get both cardiovascular and metabolic exercise,”
It means that mild temperatures are healthy for us. But, staying in high heat or cold can be dangerous. So, there must be a legal and sensible temperature range.
The Effects Of Setting Your Room Temperature Too Low
Very low temperatures increase the risk of mold formation in your home. Cold air causes condensation on windows, walls, and your other belongings. Mold slowly consumes and damages the material on which it grows.
Clearing your home from mold is a difficult task, so it's better to be conscious of it beforehand. Don’t keep your thermostat at a very low temperature.
Cold may keep you awake, but it reduces your concentration. Moreover, it increases humidity in the air, which can be a potential reason for allergies and asthma.
In a nutshell, it is advisable to keep your room or office temperature within the optimum range, to be more productive and safer. The following table lists the ideal temperature standards defined by experts, WHO, and other health organizations. It can be used for easy reference.
There are several ways to keep room temperature under control. You can use space heaters, fireplaces, and central heating systems for this purpose. The war between ambient temperature for men and women can be resolved by personalized control. Desks have their specialized heating systems to suit everyone’s preferences. However, this practice is quite expensive.