How to keep warm indoors

It’s important to keep warm in winter, both inside and outdoors. Keeping warm over winter can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems.

How to keep warm

You should heat your home to a temperature that’s comfortable for you. If you can, this should be at least 18°C in the rooms that you regularly use, like your living room and bedroom. This is particularly important if you have a health condition.

You could also try the following to stay warm:

Do

  • close windows and curtains at night to keep the heat in your home
  • keep your hands, feet and body warm by wearing warm clothing – several layers of thin clothing are better than one
  • make sure you stay dry
  • keep active at home – try to move around every hour
  • eat at least one hot meal a day
  • have regular hot drinks
  • make sure you have a supply of heating fuel
  • wrap up well if you go out in the cold, snow or ice

More advice on keeping warm

You can get further advice on staying warm, including how to:

Help with heating costs

You may be entitled to financial support if you need urgent help covering the cost of food or heating your home.

Support to help with the cost of living is available from the Scottish Government. This includes:

  • help with energy bills
  • advice on energy efficiency measures to help improve the warmth of homes

Preparing for winter weather

The Met Office and Ready Scotland have up-to-date advice on how to take care of yourself and others in winter. They also have advice on what you can do to prepare for the colder months.

Looking out for others

If you have vulnerable neighbours, relatives or know someone with heart and breathing problems, check in with them to make sure they:

  • are feeling well
  • are warm enough at home
  • have enough food and medicines if they are unable to go out in bad weather

If you’re concerned that someone isn’t coping, contact your local council or the Age Scotland. The helpline is 0800 12 44 222, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Phone 999 if:

You or someone else has symptoms of hypothermia like:

  • shivering
  • pale, cold and dry skin – skin and lips may turn blue or grey (on black or brown skin this may be easier to see on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet)
  • slurred speech
  • slow breathing
  • tiredness or confusion

A baby with hypothermia may be:

  • cold to touch
  • floppy
  • unusually quiet and sleepy and may refuse to feed

Check your medicines

Make sure you have some over-the-counter remedies for common illnesses over winter. Your pharmacist can advise you on the best medicines for you and your family.

Find out more about prescriptions

Looking after your mental wellbeing

The winter months can be a difficult time for many people. The drop in temperature and shorter days can have an impact on your mental wellbeing. If you’re feeling down, there are ways you can help look after your mental health.

Further information on supporting your mental wellbeing

Do

  • keep physically active when you can
  • eat well – include plenty of warm drinks and at least one hot meal each day
  • keep social connections with friends and family online or by phone if you’re unable to get out

Last updated:
02 February 2024

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