by Debbie Monterrey,

For those of you who live alone, this is a war unknown to you. You, solo resident, have the ability to set the thermostat at any temperature you’d like, limited only by your furnace’s capabilities and your ability to pay the heating bill.

For the rest of us–THERMOSTAT WARS!!

There is no new ground being covered in this post. The thermostat war has been raging in households as long as there have been thermostats. I’m not sure it’s a winnable war. Someone is always going to be unhappy.

The above photo was taken by me last week at about 2:30 in the morning. I’d been sleeping restlessly until I awoke in a sweat, wondering if I had a fever or  hot flashes.

I threw off the blankets. I turned the overhead fan on high. THEN, still hot, I threw open the window. It was -3° outside.

I stood in the frigid breeze and let it wash over me. And then I headed for the thermostat. The temperature outside my bedroom was 76 degrees. Cue sleep-deprived righteous anger!

(I texted the photo to my husband with an angry-face emoticon so it would be the first thing he saw in morning, thus ruining his morning like he’d ruined mine. Which in retrospect, is NOT nice at all. Not cool, but I was hot).

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

In our household, I program the thermostat. I have it set to go down to 65 degrees overnight. I enjoy sleeping under the covers, but I’m also backed by science.

The National Sleep Foundation and numerous studies suggest the optimal temperature for good sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees. Colder or warmer than that interrupts one’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

(Have I mentioned that I usually get 4.5 to 5 hours of sleep a night and get up super-early? I take my sleep VERY seriously).

My husband likes the house hot in the winter, cold in the summer. I believe in winter, a person should be wearing AT LEAST a sweatshirt, slippers and long pants before they should even consider jacking up the heat, and I resent being so cold in my own home in the summer that I must wear a sweatshirt and booties.

In full disclosure, my husband didn’t crank the heat to 76 before bedtime. He’ll bump it up repeatedly during the day, then forget to put it back on “run” or “program” at night, which is why it was 76 degrees at 2:30 a.m. Our first floor is drafty and colder, and the heat rises upstairs.

My husband and I are certainly not alone in our thermostat war. According to a survey by Honeywell, 30 percent of Americans who live with at least one person admit they can never agree about the temperature. Another 27 percent do what my husband does–bump the settings when the other person’s not looking.

I posted the thermostat pic on my social media so my friends would commiserate (i.e., side with me) but the responses were all over the map:

KS: I cannot even imagine the headache I’d wake up to with heat set at 76. Wow. I would also die at 65. Hope you can find a happy medium.

MB:  I would get along well with Steve. I’d keep ours at 80 if I could afford it!

CT: 60 at night. 67 during the day. Nest. Death penalty for anyone who adjusts the thermostat.

RR: Jealous! We set ours for 74 and it was 63 this AM.

KT: 76!?!? Oh my word. I’d be melting. We keep ours at 65.

So there’s no right or wrong answer here, just preferences. And ultimately, it’s such a first-world problem. I have heat and a bed and a roof over my head!

But seriously, if anyone out there has a solution for ending the thermostat wars, I’m all ears.

And I’m keeping an eye on the thermostat.


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