how do bodies regulate temperature at mild temperatures?


When it gets too hot, humans sweat, when it gets too cold, they shiver. How does the body regulate its internal temperature at those mild climates where a person can wear anything from a few layers to nothing at all without feeling a major shift in comfort level?

In: 3

Blood flow. Increasing flow to the extremities like your hands and feet will cool it down a little. Sending less to the limbs and more to the core will keep the internal temperature higher.

There are a bunch of other thermoregulation tools available to your body:

* Brown fat cells are a type of fat cell that store fat not for energy storage, but so it can be burned when you get cold. They “turn on” when your body temperature drops, kind of like a bunch of tiny furnaces.

* Your body also regulates your level of movement and activity through feedback loops in your brain. When you’re overheated, you won’t want to move around much, and when you’re cold, you’ll twitch and rub your body vigorously and fidget and other small movements that burn extra energy.

* Heat loss can be regulated by causing blood vessels in your skin to dilate or contract. More blood flow carries heat more efficiently to the surface of your body, effectively reducing how much insulation your body has. This is why you go pale if you’re out in the cold for a long time and why you flush when you’re overheated.

Not mentioned in other answers: hair follicles. Your body hair traps air and provides a bit of insulation. When you’re slightly cold, muscles in each body hair follicle contract making your body hair stand up, trapping more insulating air near your body, which keeps you warmer.

Your body has something called a “thermostat” just like your house does. The thermostat in your body is called your “hypothalamus” and it helps to keep your body at the right temperature.
When your body gets too hot, your hypothalamus tells your body to sweat. Sweat helps to cool your body down as it evaporates (turns from a liquid into a gas). This is why you feel cooler when you sweat on a hot day.
When your body gets too cold, your hypothalamus tells your body to do things to keep you warm. For example, you might shiver to create heat, or your body might start to make more heat by burning calories from food.
At mild temperatures, your body is pretty good at regulating its own temperature, so you probably don’t need to worry too much about getting too hot or too cold. But if you start to feel too hot or too cold, you can always add or remove layers of clothing or go somewhere with a different temperature to help your body feel more comfortable.