Turn on more lights to keep warm, research suggests

Caroline Allen
Contributor
Research suggests that having the lights on will make you feel warmer. [Photo: Getty]

British Summer Time ends this Sunday and don’t we know it. The UK’s weather has been decidedly drab these past few weeks, but researchers think they might have a way to help us feel warmer.

We’re listening.

It’s tempting to turn off the lights, light some candles and curl up on the sofa with a hot chocolate, but experts say that won’t help you keep warm.

Pyschologists, Giorgia Chinazzo, Jan Wienold and Marilyne Andersen’s research uncovered that we’re far more comfortable in colder temperatures when the lights are brighter.

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They suggest that the reason we feel colder when we’re on our way home from work in the evenings is because of the lower levels of light, rather than the air temperature.

Psychologists recorded the skin temperature of 84 participants in different light levels and room temperatures. At each different variable, they asked the participants how “comfortable” they felt.

They found that low levels of light made people feel even more uncomfortable in colder temperatures. This feeling, though, was purely psychological rather than physiological.

This means that although the lower level of light we’re experiencing in the afternoons won’t have a psychical impact on how cold we are, our psychological make up makes us less tolerable of the cold in low-levels of light.

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We get people’s reservations about turning more lights on. After all, aren’t we meant to be saving electricity?

However, the research argues that if you’re feeling cold in your home, you shouldn’t head straight to the thermostat. Instead, try putting some lights on first, and let the psychological benefits of the brightness kick in.

It’s worth a go, at least.

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