Optimal Room Temperature
What is the ideal temperature for your home?
It can feel like a constant balancing act trying to get the room temperature just right. But it’s not just your own personal temperature preferences that you have to take into account, with each member of the family having their own ‘optimal’ setting on the central heating.
And that’s before you even take into account any four-legged family members too, or what about even your beloved houseplants?
It’s certainly a lot to factor in, so we’ve put together a guide on what are the scientifically recommended optimal temperatures for different groups, to try and avoid any arguments over the room thermostats!
The optimal room temperature for men & women
You might think that the perfect room temperature should be the same when it comes to both genders, but if you’ve ever sat shivering in a room with a male partner or colleague, then you’ll know that this isn’t always the case!
And this isn’t a myth either, women really do prefer a warmer room than men do. According to studies, women are more comfortable at a room temperature of 25°C while for men, it’s 22.2°C.
The physiology of men and women is crucially different, with differences in body size and fat-to-muscle ratios the main cause of this discrepancy in comfort zones.
Women generally have a higher fat-to-muscle ratio, and fat cells produce less heat, and the fact that they’re usually smaller too, women have a lower resting metabolic rate.
Even if a man and woman were exactly the same size, differences in things such as body function, skin surface area, organ size and fat distribution would all still contribute to the women feeling slightly colder.
The optimal room temperature for babies -18°C
Making sure that the temperature is just right is even more important if you have a new addition to the family, as their requirements are actually fairly different to us grown-ups.
Just like for us, having a room that’s too hot or cold can make it difficult for babies to get a good night’s sleep and it makes it that much harder that they obviously can’t just tell you if they’re a couple of degrees either way!
Because they’re so small and are still growing, babies are much more sensitive to subtle changes in the temperature, but according to the Lullaby Trust, the optimal temperature for infants is between 16 and 20°C.
Making sure your baby is nice and comfortable is obviously always important, but it’s even more crucial due to the fact that the chance of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is higher in babies who get too hot.
The optimal room temperature for pets
Looking after the needs of all the humans in your house might seem tricky enough, but it gets that little bit harder when you throw animals in the mix too.
While animals can regulate their temperatures pretty well, and generally are ok at the same temperatures as we are, this may vary depending on the breed, for example, dogs with heavy fur coats, or short-haired and hairless cats.
It’s also important to think about the temperature when you’re not home. When you are home, then chances are your cat or dog is probably comfortable at the same temperature as you, but if you turn the heating up while you’re out in the winter, or turn it down in summer to save money, then they could be suffering.
Things are fairly straightforward for dogs, as their ideal temperature isn’t too different from humans, estimated at being between 20 and 22°C during the summer.
Cats on the other hand can tolerate warmer indoor temperatures, estimated at 30 to 31°C. While this is probably uncomfortably warm for us humans, it’s worth bearing in mind if you want to notch the temperature up while you’re out at work for the day.
The optimal room temperature for houseplants
Filling our homes with indoor houseplants is a great way to reconnect with nature, especially if you live in a largely urban area and can also bring wellbeing benefits such as helping to purify the air in your home.
But what’s the best temperature to keep a houseplant at? As with pets, this will of course vary depending on the specific type of plants that you’re looking after, but many houseplants come from tropical and subtropical parts of the world and are therefore better suited to slightly higher temperatures.
The temperature range recommended in a study by the University of Georgia is between around 21 and 27°C during the daytime.
While some plants will thrive slightly better in higher or lower temperatures than this, it’s a fairly good estimate for houseplants in general!
The overall optimal room temperature
Of course, there’s no one catch-all answer to this question, and it all depends on you, your preferences and the makeup of your family and household.
However, taking an average of each of the optimal temperatures recommended above leaves us with an overall average of 23.5°C.
The optimal room temperature for sleeping
While the advised temperatures above relate just to daytime hours, getting the temperature just in the right conditions for sleeping in can be another delicate balancing act.
Temperature makes a big difference to sleep quality, especially when it’s too warm. The Sleep Foundation recommends a temperature of around 18.3°C for sleeping in and while this can obviously vary between individuals, sticking between a range of about 15.6 to 19.4°C is generally recommended.
While we all want a nice warm and toasty bed to retreat to at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that our bodies naturally cool down in the middle of the night and this is a normal and healthy part of the sleep process, which is why the recommended temperature here is a little bit lower.
The recommended temperatures above were sourced from the following sources. In some cases, temperatures were converted from Fahrenheit to Celsius and in instances when a range of temperatures was given, we took the midpoint of the range. We then took an average of these temperatures for the overall optimal temperature.
Note that the best temperature for you, your family, pets or houseplants depends on a number of different factors and the recommendations above are just rough guidelines.