Solving the Thermostat Fight

Achieving harmony over one of the most common domestic squabbles.

Sean Kernan
5 min readNov 21, 2023


Pexels via Karolina Grabowska

Laura crawled into bed beside me at 10:00 PM, the approximate time we wind down each night. After a moment, she turned her head toward me and said “I don’t want to admit to this, but last night, I got hot.”

I smiled and said, “Well I’ll be darned.” This was a big confession. We’ve lived together in harmony for years now. The closest thing we have to fights is over the thermostat and it is a painfully common domestic squabble. Every night, I walk into the bedroom, only to see her under a blanket, with her hands over the top of it, head poking out, and giving me her sad puppy face, “Can we p-p-please make it warmer?”

We’ve run into a minor hurdle in resolving the dispute. As I’ve progressively raised the temperature to accommodate her, I’ve also hit my own critical limit. We’ve realized I’m good at 74 and below, and wake up in sweats at 75 and above (we are American, so assume henceforth my numbers are in Fahrenheit). She sometime claims to be, “Freezing to death” when it is colder than that, but she is a bit dramatic.

In my attempts to alleviate our problem, I made a well-intended mistake: I bought an expensive mattress with gel cooling technology. My hope is that it would help me stay cooler at warmer temperatures. What I hadn’t anticipated, was that in the hours prior to us getting in, that mattress would absorb the house’s cold, and become a 200 pound ice cube we had to cuddle with.

Part of the challenge is with set body temperatures. I’m a larger guy. More body mass tends to result in a higher body temperature and conservation of heat. Laura is smaller, and has an inborn intolerance for cold — which is why she fled her hometown of Albany, New York to Tampa, Florida.

Ideal sleep temperature and financial concerns

In the winter of 1977, President Carter advised northern Americans to keep their thermostats at 65 during the day, and down to 60 at night, all in an attempt to save energy during the Arab oil embargo. It perhaps gave an easy out for partners like me, who stood by the thermostat with feigned resignation and shrugged to their spouse, “Hey…



Sean Kernan

Writer and writing instructor. Always on the hunt for a good story. That guy from Quora. Writing out of Tampa, Florida.