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Cold classroom temperatures can compromise a student’s ability to learn. If you’re cold, your brain will keep urging your body to do something to get warmer. You will be constantly distracted, and most of your brain energy will be directed towards staying warm.
Here are 5 ways to stay warm in a cold classroom.
- Dress in layers.
- Wear hats, scarves, socks, and gloves.
- Eat foods that increase energy.
- Drink hot beverages (tea, coffee, soup).
- Focus on the lesson at hand.
The rest of this article will go over some general classroom temperature regulations before exploring five easy ways you can stay warm in a cold classroom. Read on to learn how to stay warm in a chilly classroom!
How warm should a classroom be?
Classroom temperature requirements may vary with varying temperatures depending on the location. According to the Regional Educational Laboratory Program of the Institute of Education Sciences, classroom temperatures should be maintained at 68-75℉ (20-23.8℃) in winter to avoid compromising the comfort of students.
A study by the Office of Legislative Research in Connecticut in 2016 indicated that no states in the US had established maximum and minimum classroom temperatures, though a few like Washington and Indiana had indicated acceptable temperature ranges (65℉ or 18.3℃ and 68℉ or 23.8℃, respectively).
Generally, classroom temperature guidelines apply to primary and secondary learning institutions since tertiary institutions have independent jurisdictions. But the guidelines can be taken to reflect what would be expected of any classroom, regardless of the learning level.
If institutions fail to adhere to basic classroom heating requirements, students may need to use additional ways to keep warm. Consider the Baltimore case in 2018, where unheated classes forced kids to learn in temperatures that were difficult to bear, causing them to huddle up to keep warm. But what other ways can students use to keep warm in cold classes?
5 ways to stay warm in a cold classroom.
As a student, you may not be in a position to alter the heating rules in your school. But you can learn a few tricks to stay warm in cold classes and be able to focus your brain energy on your lessons. Keep reading to discover which of these ways would work best for you.
1. Wear 3 layers of loose-fitting clothing.
Dressing in layers in cold weather serves as insulation. It is advised that you wear three layers of loosely-fitting clothing of different fabrics. The layers should be as follows:
- Inner layer (wool, synthetic, or silk). This is the layer next to the skin. It is meant to keep moisture away from the skin and prevent your body from cooling down due to sweat, which would make you feel colder. Contrary to widespread belief, the inner layer should not be made of cotton.
- Middle layer (wool or synthetic). This acts as a light insulating layer. A thin wool sweater would be a perfect option.
- Outer layer (wool and nylon/polyester). This has a double function. It works as the heavy insulating layer to trap heat in the body and as protection from wind and rain. A polyester fleece coat with wool-lining is an optimal choice.
Anti-cold clothing should be worn loosely because tight-fitting clothing inhibits normal blood circulation to your extremities (arms and legs). Normal blood flow helps you keep warmer.
2. Wear the right clothing.
Layering should apply to all the clothing worn in cold seasons. But certain clothing items should be given special attention.
According to Workplace Safety North, between 30 and 50% of body heat is lost via the head. Wearing a woolen toque (hat or hood) keeps your head insulated and so the rest of the body.
An exposed neck will ruin the insulation efforts on other parts of the body. Wearing a scarf will seal off your body at the neck. But it’s not enough to just wear a scarf; it must be tied right. You should follow a couple of steps to help it keep you warm:
- Place the scarf over your neck to the front.
- Cross it and bring the ends to the back and cross them again.
- Bring the ends back to the front and cross them so that you make a loose knot.
- Tuck the knot under the inner layer of the scarf.
Socks and gloves
Woolen gloves can be worn to keep your fingers warm while a two-layer sock is recommended if temperatures are extremely low. Woolen socks maintain warmth, but they should not be too tight to restrict blood circulation to your toes. Gloves should also not numb your fingers. Numb toes and fingers will feel even more uncomfortable than cold ones.
3. Eat healthy fatty foods.
Fat is often associated with a similar reaction on the body, giving it a bad repute. But our bodies need fat to generate energy and support cell growth. Fats have nine calories in every gram compared to 4 grams in proteins and carbohydrates, which means that they provide more energy and will keep you warmer.
But not every type of fat is good dietary fat. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the healthier option. You can get them from foods such as oily fish, avocado, nuts, and dark chocolate, among others. Some of these are often listed among brain foods, those associated with better brainpower. This means that consuming these at meals and snack times will help your brain function even as they keep you warmer in the classroom.
4. Drink hot beverages.
Our bodies are 70% water. So, an 8-ounce cup of tea, coffee, or soup may not warm up that amount of fluid in the body. This might explain why some people maintain that hot drinks do not really warm you up.
But the thought that drinking a hot beverage makes you feel warmer and has a corresponding effect. Your brain tells your body that it’s getting warmer, and you actually feel so. So, sipping a hot drink in class can make you feel warmer and concentrate better.
A hot water bottle may replace your beverage cup. It’s important to remember that hot beverages do not replace your body’s daily water requirement, even though they can supplement your fluid levels. The European Hydration Institute suggests that we lose as much water from the body in the cold seasons as we do in the hot seasons. This happens especially through sweating and the many times we visit the restroom to pass urine.
5. Use the power of your mind.
You might have heard about Wim Hof, the 60-year-old Dutchman dubbed “The Iceman,” who has baffled scientists by resisting freezing temperatures while maintaining his normal body temperature. According to scientists, when exposed to cold, Hof activates the brain chemicals that release happy feelings and inhibit depressing ones so that the pain and cold are suppressed.
Hof’s art is described as “the power of the mind.” The core idea is that we can control how we feel in our minds.
In a classroom setting, you, too, can activate the power of your mind by ignoring the surrounding cold air in the classroom and concentrating on the lesson, and actually enjoying it. By doing so, you will inhibit the brain signals that remind you that your body is cold and, instead, activate those that emphasize that the lesson is interesting.
A cold classroom can make you uncomfortable and cause your mental energy to be focused on staying warm rather than the class material.
If your classroom does not meet the recommended 68-75℉ (20-24℃), you might need to find ways to stay warm. Wearing three layers of clothing, donning warm clothing in the right way, drinking hot water and beverages, eating healthy fatty foods, and using your brainpower are all ways you can use to stay warm.
Not every one of these methods may work for everyone. You might have to try a couple of them to see what works best for you. Besides, most of these methods are used together.