13 Tips for Staying Warm Without Turning Up the Heat

Staying warm during cold winter months without cranking up the thermostat can save you money on energy bills. Here are 13 tips to help you stay cozy and comfortable without turning up the heat.

Dress in Layers

Wearing multiple thin layers traps heat better than one bulky sweater. Start with a base layer made of moisture-wicking fabric like wool, silk or polyester. Top it with a insulating layer like a sweater, sweatshirt or fleece. Finish with a outer layer like a vest, cardigan or jacket for wind protection. Having multiple lightweight layers gives you flexibility to add or remove pieces as needed.

Layering allows you to trap body heat in the air between layers. The base layer wicks moisture away to keep you dry. The middle layer provides insulation. And the outer layer blocks wind and rain. Adjust your layers to avoid overheating or getting chilled.

Use Thick, Warm Bedding

You lose a lot of body heat while sleeping, so good bedding is key for staying warm through the night. Opt for thick, insulating bedding materials like wool, cotton flannel, microfleece or down. The optimal bedding includes:

  • Mattress pad to insulate you from a cold mattress
  • Flannel sheets for coziness
  • Down or microfleece comforter to retain body heat
  • Wool or faux fur blanket for extra warmth if needed

Also, make sure your duvet or comforter is properly sized for your bed. Bigger is better to avoid uncovered areas where heat can escape. Adding an extra blanket, such as a fleece throw or wool blanket, provides another layer for trapping body warmth.

Wear Warm Socks or Slippers

Your feet are farthest from your heart, so they tend to get cold easily. Warm socks help prevent body heat from escaping through your feet. Look for thick, insulating socks made of wool, alpaca, cashmere or acrylic blends. Avoid cotton socks, which absorb moisture and promote chilling.

Wool slippers or sheepskin booties are another way to keep your feet toasty in a chilly house. They envelop your feet in natural warmth and insulation. For extra warmth, try wearing socks with your slippers or booties.

Drink Warm Beverages

Sipping on hot drinks is an easy way to warm up from the inside out. Hot coffee, tea, apple cider and cocoa are all good options. Just hold the mug with both hands to transmit the warmth into your body.

Drinking warm liquids boosts your core body temperature, providing temporary relief from chills. The key is to keep sipping over time for sustained benefits. Make a big thermos of your favorite hot beverage so it’s readily available.

Cook Warm Meals

Preparing hot meals is another way to use your kitchen to stay warm without cranking the heat. Turn on the oven, stove or slow cooker to provide warmth as well as nourishment. Soups, stews, casseroles, roasts and baked dishes are all good choices.

As an added benefit, the steam from cooking adds moisture to the air which can help combat winter dryness. Just be sure to simmer aromatic dishes like chili on the stove instead of baking them in the oven. Otherwise the lingering smells can make your house seem stale.

Snuggle Under a Blanket

Stay cozy under the covers when relaxing on the couch or while working at your desk. Wrap yourself in a warm blanket or drape one over your lap and legs. Select a heavyweight blanket made of wool, fleece or microfleece for best heat retention.

Electric blankets provide customizable warmth zones. Or try a wearable blanket hoodie for warm coverage from head to toe. The key is maintaining an insulating layer between your body and the cool air.

Cuddle Up with a Pet

If you have furry companions at home, take advantage of their natural warmth by cuddling up with them. Whether it’s a dog, cat or other pet, their high body temperature can help keep you toasty.

You get both warmth and comfort from snuggling with pets. Just be sure to place a blanket or towel between you and heavily shedding animals. Avoid restricting your pet’s movement or overheating them. But otherwise, go ahead and soak up their radiant warmth.

Cozy Up with Loved Ones

Sharing body heat is one of the most time-tested ways to stay warm. Sit close together under a blanket, play footsie under the table, hold hands or spoon while sleeping. Human bodies naturally radiate warmth, so cuddle up with your significant other, kids or even friends.

Not only does cozying up share warmth, it also releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin. So it provides the emotional comfort and connection we crave during cold months. Just be sure to avoid extended close contact with anyone who may be ill.

Take a Warm Shower or Bath

A hot shower or bath warms you up quickly as the water heats your skin. To retain that warmth after you get out, immediately wrap up in a insulating robe or bundle up in warm pajamas.

For extra relief from chills, drink a hot beverage while you soak in the tub. The combined effects can boost your body temperature for several hours. Just watch the clock to avoid pruning your fingers and toes from overlong exposure.

Bake, Roast or Broil

Turn on the oven for some old-fashioned warmth. As a bonus, you can even cook up something delicious while you’re at it. Options like roasted vegetables, baked casseroles and broiled meats will fill your kitchen with warmth.

Cracking the oven door briefly while cooking will provide a surge of hot air. But take care not to leave it open for long, as that can strain your oven. Simply bask in the ambient heat it provides, and breathe in the mouthwatering aromas.

Simmer on the Stovetop

Cooking on your stovetop also provides radiant warmth. Try simmering hardy soups and stews, boiling pasta or potatoes, or sautéing meats and veggies. The goal is finding dishes that cook slowly over low heat, warming your kitchen gradually.

Again, be sure to ventilate properly if cooking aromas ever get too strong. But braising, simmering and sautéing are all great ways to add a little extra heat to your house. As a fringe benefit, you get to enjoy tasty homemade meals all winter long.

Do Jumping Jacks or Other Exercise

Doing cardio, strength training or high-intensity interval exercises temporarily boosts your body heat. Your muscles generate extra warmth while working out. aerobic exercise like jumping jacks, jogging in place, dancing and plyometrics get your blood pumping.

Follow exercise with yoga stretches or foam rolling to prolong the effects. Moving your body generates warmth while also releasing feel-good endorphins to beat the winter blues. Just be sure to stretch properly so you don’t strain muscles.

Let the Sun Shine In

On sunny winter days, open the curtains or shades to let warm sunlight in. Sunlight streaming directly into your home naturally raises the temperature. Position chairs, sofas and workspaces near windows when possible.

Also trim back bushes or trees blocking sunlight from hitting your home. And clean windows inside and out so more sunlight can pass through the glass. Solar energy is free, so take advantage on days when the sun is shining.

Use Area Rugs

Hardwood, tile and laminate floors tend to feel chilly. Area rugs help insulate specific spots like by the bed, sofa or kitchen. Rugs with thick pile and heavy backing materials work best. Wool and synthetic rugs insulate better than thin cotton.

Rugs trap rising heat from radiant floors. Place them in rooms you use most to create cozy warmth zones. Using multiple smaller rugs costs less than carpeting an entire room. Target high-traffic areas or where you spend the most barefoot time.

Move Around

Don’t stay sedentary too long. Get up and move around periodically to increase your circulation and generate more internal body heat. Do some light stretching or cleaning. Even simple motions like folding laundry keeps your blood pumping.

Sedentary activities like reading or watching TV promote heat loss. So take movement breaks every 30-60 minutes. Walk around, do desk exercises, or climb and down stairs to keep your muscles active. Just avoid overexerting yourself and work up a sweat. The key is gentle movement to maintain warmth.


With these practical tips, you can conserve energy and lower costs while keeping comfortably warm. Layer up, keep extremities cozy and take advantage of natural or free heat sources. Stay active, eat warming foods and enlist loved ones to share body heat.

By using insulation, sunlight, circulation and other heat-trapping methods, you can beat the chill this winter without constantly adjusting the thermostat. Get creative in finding ways to boost your natural body warmth. With the right cold-weather strategies, you can stay toasty all season long without hiking up your energy bills.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Staying Warm Without Turning Up the Heat

What are some good ways to stay warm at home in winter without turning up the thermostat?

Some effective ways to stay warm at home without increasing the thermostat include using an electric blanket, wearing extra layers of clothing, making hot soup or drinks, taking warm showers, using area rugs on floors, tacking up insulating curtains, and cozying up under blankets.

What food and drinks help warm you up from the inside?

Some foods and drinks that can warm you up from the inside include hot soups like chicken noodle or tomato, stews, chili, oatmeal, grits, hot cereals, baked potatoes, ginger tea, herbal tea, hot apple cider, hot chocolate, and coffee. Consuming warm, hearty foods gives your body energy to produce heat.

How many blankets on a bed are best for staying warm?

Using 3-5 blankets on a bed can help retain body heat. Start with a fitted sheet, then add a blanket or quilt, followed by one or two thinner blankets or throws. The multiple layers trap warm air. A mattress pad provides insulation too. Placing a comforter on top holds in the heat.

What material fabric is warmest for cold temperatures?

The warmest fabrics for cold weather are wool, fleece, cashmere, silk, and cotton flannel. Natural fabrics like wool and cashmere provide excellent insulation. Fleece and silk are synthetic options that trap heat effectively. Cotton flannel sheets feel soft and cozy. Avoid light cottons that don’t retain warmth well.

Is it better to sleep in socks or without socks to keep feet warm?

Sleeping in warm socks is better for keeping your feet toasty on cold nights. Feet easily get chilled since they are farthest from your heart. Thick, insulating socks made of wool, alpaca, polyester fleece or acrylic blends hold in warmth. Cotton socks let heat escape. Wearing socks prevents body heat from radiating out through your feet.

Should you use space heaters to stay warm without turning up the thermostat?

Use space heaters cautiously, as they can increase fire risks if not operated properly. Place them at least 3 feet from other objects on flat, nonflammable surfaces. Never leave a space heater unattended or run it overnight. Take proper safety precautions and supplement with other warming methods too. Don’t rely entirely on space heaters to avoid turning up general heat.

What kind of slippers are best for keeping your feet warm in the cold?

The best slippers for warmth are those made of wool, sheepskin, faux fur or fleece. Look for slippers with thick, insulating soles and uppers that fully envelop your feet. Wool provides moisture-wicking warmth. Sheepskin, fleece and faux fur help trap air to hold in body heat. Avoid thin, unpadded slippers that don’t shield feet from chills.

Does drinking alcohol really help warm your body temperature?

Alcohol may create a sensation of warmth due to increased blood flow near the skin, but it actually lowers core body temperature over time. Drinking alcohol before going out in the cold can actually lead to accelerated heat loss. Alcohol also impairs your ability to shiver and produce warmth. So drinking alcoholic beverages is not an effective way to stay warm.

Is it more energy efficient to use electric blankets or space heaters?

Electric blankets are generally more energy efficient than space heaters. They allow you to lower the thermostat while still keeping warm under the covers. Space heaters only heat the area immediately around them. Electric blankets warm individuals, not empty space, using less energy to deliver the same comfort.

Can weather stripping or window insulation film help reduce heat loss?

Yes, weather stripping gaps and covering windows with plastic insulation film are inexpensive ways to reduce heat loss in cold weather. Prevent drafts by sealing areas around windows, doors, attic hatches, electrical outlets, pipes and vents where air leakage can occur. Plastic window kits create an additional layer of insulation to help retain warmth.

Does exercising or moving around help your body stay warmer?

Yes, exercising and moving around can help raise your body temperature and stay warmer in a chilly house. Muscle movements like cleaning, doing jumping jacks, jogging in place, yoga, dancing, stretching, push-ups, and sit-ups all generate extra internal warmth. Just avoid overdoing it or sweating excessively. Light activity sustains warmth better than remaining sedentary.