Experiencing cold at night can negatively interrupt getting restful sleep. It may make you toss and turn for hours, or reach for the nearest pile of extra blankets. This issue can even interrupt a partner’s sleep if you tend to be a blanket thief. There are many reasons you may be feeling cold while you sleep. Some aren’t so big a deal, but a medical issue may need addressed. This article will explain some of the common causes, tips on dealing with it, and when you should see your doctor.
Why Are You Feeling Cold at Night?
While feeling cold may be a simple case of turning up the heat or throwing on an extra blanket, a few medical conditions may also cause this to happen. Here is a list of common causes:
Your thyroid hormone levels may be low. The thyroid is part of your body’s metabolism and temperature regulation system. When thyroid levels are low, you don’t have enough energy to heat yourself up. Low thyroid hormone can cause a range of other symptoms, including dry, brittle thinning hair and nails, weight gain, fatigue and muscle weakness, blurred vision, feeling cold even when it is hot, constipation and dry skin. This should be addressed by your doctor.
Anemia occurs when the body’s iron and red blood cell stores are too low. Iron helps the red blood cells reproduce and carry oxygen and nutrients to the rest of the body. It’s more likely to occur in pregnant women, girls in their teens, and infants who do not take iron fortified formula. Adults can become anemic due to blood loss or poor diet.
Feeling cold at night and at other times is one of the early symptoms.Other symptoms includefeeling weak, loss of appetite, pale skin, shortness of breath, chest pain, irregular heartbeat and headaches.
3. Low Body Weight
If you are underweight, you may not have enough body fat to hold heat in your body. The body temperature naturally drops at night when you sleep and you need some insulation to keep you warm. Low body weight is generally a BMI under 18.5. Also, not enough food intake turns your metabolism down so you don’t create energy, which creates heat in the body.
You may have other signs that your body weight is too low, including loss of appetite, absence of menstrual periods, constipation, dry hair, easy bruising, slower heart rate, dizziness and depression.
4. Lack of Sleep
As unbelievable as it may sound, not enough sleep can leave you feeling cold at night. This is because your body needs enough rest to keep up the metabolism that creates heat. If you are just too worn out, your body temperature will drop to conserve energy and get the rest it needs.
Other symptomsincludedrowsiness, lack of concentration during the day, trouble remembering, daytime sleepiness, increased appetite, weight gain, irritability, and poor impulse control.
5. Circulatory Issues
When blood vessels constrict the blood flow is less to your body. Blood helps to maintain our body temperature. If blood flow is cut off to your body, you may feel cold. Certain things you do before bed may constrict your blood vessels like smoking, swimming in cold water, drinking caffeine, eating sugar, and certain medications. If you suffer from an autoimmune disorder, you may also be suffering from Raynaud’s phenomenon. This condition can cause blood vessels to constrict suddenly with temperature changes.
Other symptomsincludeblue color to the hands and feet, dizziness, tingling sensations, increase in blood pressure, headaches and cramping in the muscles.
6. Low Muscle Mass
Muscles help to create energy and keep the heat inside your body. Low muscle mass can decrease metabolism and leave you shivering at night or in cold temperatures while awake. Other symptoms includeweakness, slow reflexes, poor posture and looser joints.
7. Not Enough Fluids
If you are dehydrated and do not drink enough fluids, you may find yourself feeling cold at night. This is because you need to bulk up your blood volume to feel warm. Drinking cool water also increases your metabolism creating energy that raises your body temperature. Other symptoms includeheadache, lack of sweating, dry skin, dry eyes and mouth, feeling extremely thirsty, increased hunger and dizziness.
Is There Anything You Can Do to Treat/Prevent It?
There are some things you can do to help prevent and keep yourself from night coldness.
- Get enough fluids during the day.
- Eat healthy fats to increase body fat such as avocado, olive oil, and snack on nuts.
- Do muscle building exercise and increase protein in your diet.
- Go to bed at the same time every night and get 6 to 8 hours of sleep.
- Eat foods rich in iron such as spinach, lean red meats, blackstrap molasses, and iron rich cereals.
- Take a vitamin B12 supplement to help prevent anemia.
- Wear fleece and quality cotton pajamas with socks.
- Invest in an electric blanket.
- Do some gentle stretching before bed. Stretching the muscles increases heat.
- Try a warm cup of non-caffeinated beverage before bed such as chamomile tea, and warm milk.
- Try switching to flannel sheets. They are thicker than cotton and keep heat in.
Some conditions may require evaluation and treatment by your doctor. Anemia can get serious as well as thyroid disease. You may need to start taking supplements and/or medications under a doctor’s supervision to bring these conditions under control. If you are feeling cold at night for longer than a few weeks and the above tips do not help, you need to get in touch with your doctor.
Things that may make this serious include:
- Feeling cold suddenly
- Sudden onset of dizziness and feeling cold
- Feeling cold with chills and high fever
- Feeling dehydrated and not relieved with fluids
- Fainting and feeling cold
- Feeling cold with chest pain
- Numbness and cold feeling to your hands, legs, and/or feet on one side of the body
If you or someone you love feels suddenly cold at night with low or loss of consciousness, call for emergency medical help right away.