When the temperature drops, it's important to make sure you keep yourself (and your house) well insulated. Here are seven ways to stay cosy this winter...
See also: Five of the best electric blankets
See also: Eight ways to stay supple in middle age
1. Eat hot soup and stews
Staying well fed – by consuming more calories than you're burning — will help your body cope with the cold better. Opt for hearty soups, stews and casseroles with plenty of vegetables, and eat regular healthy snacks throughout the day to keep you going.
You may not want to drink cold water when the temperature drops, but it's important to say hydrated. Your body will tolerate the cold better if food and water balance are maintained. Try drinking herbal tea (ginger is a warming choice) and don't be tempted to have a hot toddy – a nip of brandy will warm you up in the short term, but alcohol causes the body's core temperature to drop.
2. Wear lots of layers
To keep heat close to your body, dress in layers. Wear a thermal base layer – such as a long-sleeve top and leggings under your clothes, with a long-sleeve top and a warm cashmere jumper on top. An insulated body-warmer will help to keep your core organs warms, but won't restrict your movement too much. Make sure your back is warm and wear a scarf to help protect your chest. Remember that most heat is lost through the head – so on very cold days you might want to wear a hat indoors.
3. Make sure your shoes aren't too tight
Thick, woollen socks will help to keep your feet warm, but make sure that your shoes aren't too tight. You need room for the blood to circulate to your feet, or they will only get colder. Fur-lined slipper boots (with a good tread underneath) will help to keep your feet and ankles snug.
4. Cuddle a hot water bottle
Why save the hot water bottle until bed time? Just a few minutes with a hot water bottle behind your back or in your lap can help to warm up your whole body. You can also buy scented wheat bags that you put in the microwave to heat up.
5. Keep moving
Staying active is one of the best ways to keep warm. Research shows that people who are physically fit feel the cold less. A brisk walk outside, or pushing the vacuum around the house, will help to warm up your muscles and get your circulation going.
6. Position your bed right
Keep fluffy blankets closer to your skin, and thin, dense blankets on top to prevent heat loss. If the walls of your house are cold (if you sleep in a back room or an extension for instance) pull the bed away from the wall. Investing in thick, long curtains will help to keep draughts out – remember to open them wide to take advantage of warm sunlight during the day.
7. Invest in an electric blanket
You might also want to invest in an electric blanket. These have come a long way in recent years, and you can now buy double blankets where each half is controlled separately – so you can achieve the perfect temperature for you both. If not, a hair dryer can provide instant warmth to sheets when the nights are chilly. And of course, there's always the humble hot water bottle!