It seems that there is a research literature on the topic of the relationship between body temperature and time perception.
Weardon and Penon-Voak (1995) present a literature review of the topic which would be worth reading if this interests you. The following quotes their abstract:
Experiments investigating timing behaviour in humans under conditions
where body temperature was raised or (much more rarely) lowered,
dating from 1927 to 1993, were reviewed. These tested the hypothesis
that humans possess a temperature-sensitive chemical or bio!g,gical
internal clock. Most studies used conditions in which subjects
produced or estimated durations less than 100 sec long, probably using
chronometric counting, but other experimental paradigms were sometimes
employed. Data from each study were expressed in a uniform fashion, as
plots of changes in the rate of subjective time (estimated from
changes in timing behaviour) against changes in body temperature. In
almost all cases, rate of subjective time increased when body
temperature increased above normal, and decreased when body
temperature was lowered below normal, although observations of the
latter type were rare. The data also suggested a parametric effect of
body temperature, with higher temperatures generally producing faster
subjective time. Some possible mechanisms for the effects obtained
were discussed, with the most promising explanation probably being
that the temperature manipulation produces changes in arousal.
Aschoff (1998) also summarises some of this literature and highlights the important distinction between time frames of time perception:
From the point of view of a chronobiologist, human time perception can
be divided into 2 distinct classes that differ in their interaction
with the circadian system: short time intervals in the range of
seconds (up to about 2 min) ... [and]... long time intervals, such as 1 h...
The production of short intervals shows a negative correlation with
body temperature and a positive correlation with the intensity of
illumination, while the 1-h intervals are independent of both these
variables. For the short time intervals, the negative correlation
with body temperature has often been documented (Aschoff and Daan,
1997; Francois, 1927; Hancock, 1993; Hoagland, 1933; Pfaff, 1968;
Wearden and Penton-Voak, 1995), and 2 publications give strong
evidence for a positive correlation with light intensity (Aschoff and
Daan, 1997; Pöppel and Giedke, 1970). With regard to the 1-h
intervals, an independence of light intensity is well supported
(Aschoff and Daan, 1997).
Hancock (1993) summarised the literature and discussed the proposed mechanism:
The general notion of a temperature influence on time perception may
be traced to Pieron (1923,1945) who suggested that "if the speed of
organic processes are modified, by variation and temperature for
instance, mental time will increase or decrease proportionally." It
was Pieron's student Francois (1927 a, b), however, who conducted the
original empirical evaluations of the proposition. Yet, it is Hoagland
who is associated most frequently with this general effect, mainly
because of his postulate of a chemical clock to control estimates of
duration. Using both his own data and those previously collected by
Francois, Hoagland (1933) proposed that estimates of duration were
directly dependent on internal body temperature. He described this
relationship through the Van't Hoff-Arrhenius equation, which
describes the speed of a chemical reaction in relationship to its
temperature in degrees Kelvin. In observing that the collective data
provided a unitary slope value within this equation, Hoagland (1933)
concluded that our judgments of time depend upon "an underlying
chemical master reaction, implying an irreversible chemical mechanism
controlling the consciousness of duration."
- Aschoff J (1985) On the perception of time during prolonged
temporal isolation. Human Neurobiol 4:41-52.
- Aschoff J and Daan S (1997) Human time perception in
temporal isolation: Effects of illumination intensity.
Chronobiol Internat 14:585-596.
- Aschoff, J. (1998). Human perception of short and long time intervals: its correlation with body temperature and the duration of wake time. Journal of biological rhythms, 13, 437-442.
- Francois, M. (1927a). Contribution a l'etude du sens du temps. La temperature inteme comme facteur de variation de l'appreciation subjective des durees. Annee Psychologie, 28,186-204.
- Francois, M. (1927b). Influence de la temperature inteme sur notre appreciation du temps. C. R. Soc Biology, 108, 201-203.
- Hancock, P.A. (1993). Body temperature influence on time perception. The Journal of general psychology, 120, 197-216. PDF
- Hoagland, H. (1933). The physiological control of judgments of duration: Evidence of a chemical clock. Journal of General Psychology, 9, 267-287.
- Pieron, H. (1923). Les problemes psychophysiologiques de la perception du temps. Annee Psychologie, 24, 1-25.
- Pieron, H. (1945). The sensations: Their functions, processes and mechanisms. London: Muller.
- Pfaff D (1968) Effects of temperature and time of day on time
judgments. J Experimental Psychol 76:419-422.
- Pöppel E and Giedke H (1970) Diurnal variation of time
perception. Psychol Forschg 34:182-198.
- Wearden JH and Penton-Voak IS (1995) Feeling the heat:
Body temperature and the rate of subjective time, revis-
ited. Quart J Exper Psychol 488:129-141