The Science of Why We Experience Hot and Cold Body Temperature Swings

Our body’s temperature is not constant all the time while it varies from time to time. Besides, it fluctuates depending on the food we take, external environment, age and gender also. If you find your body’s temperature swings, no worries; actually, it is not a big concern. 

So, what are hot and cold body temperature swings?

Your body has an inbuilt thermostat that strives to keep your body temperature as close to the objective as feasible. Also, your body can stabilise that number, the core body temperature. It represents your body’s capacity to raise or lower the temperature and to maintain you within your optimal range.

You might be interested to know the ins and outs of your body’s temperature swings. Stay tuned as the whole article has just what you need!

Is It Normal to Have Hot and Cold Body Temperature Swings?

You might have known that a normal person’s body temperature is 98.6°F. But it’s not constant all the time. 

hot-and-cold-body-temperature-swings

Normally an adult person’s body temperature fluctuates between 97°F to 99°F. If you find your body temperature fluctuating within this range, it’s considered to be normal.

How Does Your Body Maintain Temperature Adjust?

Normally our body maintains a circadian cycle. Each day, our body gets warmer in the morning and relatively cooler late at night indicating it’s time to sleep. Besides, exercise, diet, hormones and many other things affect your body temperature. Which is why our body needs a constant adjustment to keep everything in check.

When You Are Excessively Hot:

Your body attempts to radiate or get rid of heat by expanding blood vessels and allowing excess heat to the surface of your skin. Your body cools as sweat evaporates. Through this process, your blood loses heat to the atmosphere.

When You Are Excessively Cold:

Your body attempts to insulate or trap heat by constricting blood vessels in your skin. As a result, the blood in your core retains more heat and shivering raises your body temperature.

The stability of your body temperature implies that your body adjusts properly while facing challenges. It’s an indication of how much you’re recovering, how much you’re ready for the day, if you’re sick or if your hormones are overactive.

What Causes Your Body Temperature to Fluctuate?

There are several reasons behind your body temperature swings. These includes:

  • It’s normal to have a low body temperature after you wake up from sleep. And a higher temperature before an hour of your sleep time. As your body maintains a biological cycle.
  • While having spicy foods, your brain receives a signal indicating that your body is hot. So, your body works according to that and starts to sweat. It decreases your body temperature.
  • During physical exercises, your blood flow increases and your body burns more calories. It causes an increase in your internal temperature.
  • Higher body weight may lead to a higher body temperature and vice versa.
  • Young people tend to have higher body temperature compared to older ones.
  • Compared to men, women have higher body temperature.

These are the most common causes of body temperature swings.

Your Body Temperature Normally Varies

Generally, during sleep, our body temperature is lowest while it is highest an hour or two just before we go to bed.

Each day, a person’s core body temperature fluctuates by about 1 °C (1.8 °F) between its peak to peak points. Anything outside of this limit implies that your body is being challenged and is unable to adjust.

body-temperature-normally-varies

The range is typically much larger at the skin’s surface, heat comes from blood and cold comes from the environment interlacing each other.

Your core and skin temperature may shift in opposing directions the entire day. For example, let us presume, the temperature in your core is too high. So, your body will try to cool itself by directing blood to the skin, allowing it to expel excess heat. However, both will rise similarly in the case of fever or after ovulation.

Temperature Variation 

Your body temperature varies during the day as you move, exercise, socialise, eat, drink and change your environment. Because the temperature varies so much during the day, If you want to assess your general health, take your temperature at night at a resting state.

If your body temperature is higher than normal, it is telling you that something is straining it beyond what it can handle.

When to Be Concerned About High Body Temperature?

If your body temperature is just beyond 100.4°F, you have a low-grade fever. It’s considered to be a high-grade fever if your body temperature goes beyond 103°F. You have to see a physician right away if you have a high-grade fever. 

Most illnesses that generate low-grade fevers pass in a couple of days. If you have rashes or serious respiratory problems you should see a doctor right away. Otherwise, you can relax and remain hydrated while waiting for it to diminish.

We frequently associate fevers with infections. While there are other reasons for higher body temperature. They are as follows:

  • Serious sunburn.
  • Heat exhaustion.
  • Medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis that cause inflammation.
  • Overactive thyroid, for example, is a medical disorder that causes the body’s metabolism to rise.

When to Be Concerned About Low Body Temperature?

A body temperature of less than 95°F is regarded as unusually low. You might have a low temperature due to exposure to extremely low temperatures. It also might happen due to some medical conditions, like, underactive thyroid or spinal cord injuries.

Considerations

You might be interested to know that you have the ability to influence your body temperature more than you may think. Even the Tibetan monks meditate and raise their body temperature so much that they can dry a wet towel just resting on their backs. We recommend beginning with some of the following simpler hacks:

  • A hot shower can cause your body to quickly cool down afterwards. It signals to your internal thermostat that “It’s time to go to bed.”
  • A cool shower might force your body to produce heat and hence, will keep you awake.
  • A cool room may help to lighten your workload. It also makes it easier to maintain a pleasant body temperature for sleeping.

When to Seek Medical Care?

Extremely high or low body temperatures should be regarded as an emergency. When your body temperature is abnormally high or low, it is frequently an indication of disease or exposure to excessive heat or cold.

If you’re not feeling well, are in pain, or are noticing changes in your weight or appetite, as well as changes in your body temperature, consult your doctor. There might be a situation when you find noticeable changes in your body temperature that you can’t even explain. You should consult with your healthcare provider.

In addition to your body temperature, you have to monitor four other vital signs that indicate your overall health. These includes:

If you find any abnormalities or unexplained changes in your vital signs, you should consult with your healthcare provider.

FAQs

Question: Why do I feel hot one minute and cold the next?

Answer: The hypothalamus of our brain regulates body temperature. Any dysfunction in the hypothalamus may result in your body temporarily becoming overheated (hot flash) or chilled (cold flash).

Question: What is the temperature range of my body?

Answer: For a healthy person, the body temperature varies from time to time. During the daytime, the body temperature fluctuates between 0.5 °C. As the body’s requirements and activities vary, our body has low temperatures during the morning and a relatively high temperature in the afternoon.

Question: I have a fluctuating body temperature. Is it normal?

Answer: Yes, it is completely normal if you have a fluctuating body temperature throughout the day. But it might be a bit of a concern if your body temperature goes beyond 100.4 °F. It’s a symptom of getting a fever. 

Question: Why do I feel hot yet have no fever?

Answer: There are many reasons behind it. Some temporary causes like eating spicy foods, stress and anxiety or humid conditions may make you feel hot without a fever.

Question: Is it true that a lack of sleep causes a rise in body temperature?

Answer: Sleep deprivation or a lack of sleep doesn’t cause fever or raise body temperature. But a lack of sleep may increase your vulnerability to diseases such as the flu.

Question: Is it normal to raise my body temperature at night?

Answer:  Yes, it is. Our body temperature tends to fluctuate a bit throughout the day. The same goes for nights as well. Your body temperature may fluctuate a little at night also. It may start to fall late at night. 

Take Away

So, is it normal to have hot and cold temperature swings? We provided the answers, yes it’s completely normal to have body temperature swings within the range.
Our body temperature generally varies from day to night. External environment, diet, exercise and other factors lead to our body’s temper swings.

If your body temperature is too high or too low, it can indicate a serious problem. Contact your healthcare provider as early as possible.

Dr Hafeez Arshad

Dr Hafeez Arshad

This is Dr. Hafeez. I have done my M.Phil in Pharmacology. I am a healthcare professional. My core competencies focus on writing different types of research articles/blogs regarding health sciences.

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