Layering up in cold weather is an inefficient approach

Layering up in cold weather is an inefficient approach

During the most recent cold snap, many might have been tempted to put on layers upon layers of clothes to stay warm. However, scientists claim that you only need to wear three specific layers of clothing in cold weather to stay comfortable.

In simple terms, human bodies expel more energy than we make, which leads to us getting cold. To retain the energy, and therefore keep our body warmth close by, it is advised to wear three layers of clothing only: a breathable layer close to the skin, made ideally from cotton; a thermal layer, made from a fabric such as wool, and then a final third waterproof layer, which can also help prevent the cold wind penetrating our defences.

Wind, is in fact, our greatest enemy when trying to stay warm outside. Unless deflected by the third layer, the wind disperses the trapped body warmth between the first two layers. This leads to more energy being expelled to replace the lost heat, which in turn makes us even colder. This effect is known as "felt temperature" which can be up to two degrees below the actual outside temperature.

For those who have put on more than three layers on a cold day, you are not necessarily wrong to have done so. In theory, it makes sense to add more layers, but scientists claim that the gain will actually be minimal.

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At home, the above three-layer system will probably lead to sweating as the top waterproof layer of the outdoor regime will not be breathable in most cases. An adapted three-layer approach indoors can help you to stay warm behind closed doors.

As before, the breathable cotton layer and woollen thermal layer remain, in this case possibly a wool vest, and then a wool sweater on top as the third layer. This approach has been proven to be so efficient that the temperature in the home can be reduced by two degrees and it will still be comfortable.

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