Rethinking Body Temperature

We are all familiar with body temperature. We’ve been using the measurement for hundreds of years to tell when someone is sick. But that’s not the whole story. 

Let’s start with some strange facts about body temperature.

Your nose heats up when you tell a lie. That’s really not that surprising. Lies create stress. Stress causes brain entropy. And that is literally heat.

Body temperature varies throughout the day. Your lowest body temperature occurs two hours before you wake up. Your highest body temperature occurs in the late afternoon.

Increased physical fitness increases the daily variation of temperature. Conversely, drinking alcohol reduces the range in temperatures.

Some studies suggest that body temperature can decline with age. Here’s the study people need to be looking at. In normal weight adults, body temperature actually increases in men up to age 49 and in women up to age 39. After that, body temperature begins to decline. If stress builds as you age, and body temperature follows that, what is happening when people turn fifty? I think it may be when people start to die.

Think about it. If your DNA changes over time, your DNA may actually improve as until your 30’s. You could get fitter. Add muscle. Whatever. But when your decline starts, you literally wither away, and you become less and less like your former self.  Your brain changes, and that changes your diet and lifestyle, and that changes your DNA. So you become a product of the environment you create. 

So if stress builds throughout the day, it’s natural that your body temperature increases throughout the day as well. But I’d expect to see a general increase in temperature as people age. And I think you would, if people didn’t change their bodies in hopes of living longer. And if we don’t adapt new ways of dealing with greater stress, a lower energy state may be the only way to survive. 

Does hibernation factor in to this equation?

Yes. Hibernation is a low energy, low temperature state, that helps some animals conserve energy. I’d equate this to the elderly losing body temperature as they age. We know their metabolisms slow down. They eat less and consequently do less, and slowly wither away as their bodies work to conserve heat and energy.

Here’s a study that ties body temperature to heart rate and rate of respiration. Most notably the heart rate varies 6 or 7 beats per minute per degree [Celsius] of temperature change. So essentially, as brain entropy rises, body temperature rises as pulse increases, and breathing increases.

So why don’t we just get hotter until we die? 

That’s a great question. We get shorter throughout the day, and throughout our lives because of the added stress. Why would the same stress not increase our body temperature? Because we don’t continue on the same path. We make changes in our diet and lifestyle. And instead of trying to maximize our best selves, we become aging, low-energy creatures. Why? Because our building level of stress affects the way that we recover from it.

What does it all mean?

We are not programmed to wither away. We are built to recover, and to get stronger, and get better and bouncing back from increasing stress. Once we throw in the towel and stop growing, we start dying. Don’t hibernate. Calories were made to be burned. Go do something.