Why Am I Always Cold and Tired?

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A woman lays in bed, faced away from the camera, wondering, "Why am I always cold and tired?"
Author Name: Mia Barnes
Date: Tuesday February 11, 2020

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It’s time for those cold winter months right now, and all you can seem to do is shiver. “Why am I always cold and tired?” you ask. If you’re outside, you’re shivering. If you’re at work, you’re shivering. At home, shivering. For some reason, it doesn’t seem to matter how bundled up you are. You just seem to always be cold.

On top of this, you seem to always be tired and ready for the world’s longest nap.

But did you know that this could have nothing to do with it being winter? In fact, there are other factors that could be causing you to always be cold and tired. Here are nine of them.


1. Lack of Sleep

For obvious reasons, when you lack the appropriate amount of sleep, you are going to feel tired. The average adult needs about eight hours of sleep per night. But, as you may know, with all of the stresses of work and home life, it can be difficult to slow down and get the sleep you need.

A lack of sleep can also have other root causes, such as sleep apnea, for which you can get tested and receive treatment.

Getting enough sleep can also affect your immune system and help regulate your body temperature. So, when you are experiencing a lack of sleep, your immune system becomes weaker, making you more susceptible to sickness, and you can feel cold all over.

Now, ask yourself, “Have I been getting enough sleep lately?”

2. Poor Circulation

Poor circulation is not a condition by itself. Typically, poor circulation is the result of or a symptom of another condition. Poor circulation can be caused by high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, blood clots, heart conditions and many other conditions.

Poor circulation is when a person’s body has trouble getting enough warm blood flow to the other extremities. This can result in tingling, numbness, pain and feeling like your hands and feet are always cold.

Moreover, when a person experiences poor circulation, their heart has to work harder to push the blood to where it needs to go. Pumping harder than it normally should can affect your energy levels and make you feel tired.

3. Depression

Depression is another cause that can explain why you are feeling cold and tired all the time.

Fatigue can go hand in hand with depression and can last for a very long time. Depression can impact your sleeping habits. It can make you have trouble sleeping at times or it can cause you to sleep too much. Both of these can make you feel tired and sluggish. 

Don Mordecai, a psychiatrist cited by the Huffington Post, stated that, “depression affects neurotransmitters associated with alertness and the reward system.” This means it has a psychological effect on your energy levels, causing you to experience tiredness.

Because depression affects your sleep, it can then impact the rest of your body. For instance, if depression is causing you to lose sleep, your immune system can become weaker and your body might have a harder time regulating its temperature, causing you to feel cold all the time.

4. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

A lack of sleep is one thing. But when getting the recommended amount of sleep isn’t enough, things can get hard. Myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome, causes people to have an overwhelming feeling of tiredness that, unfortunately, can not be improved by getting rest or more sleep.

Causes of chronic fatigue syndrome have not yet been identified, but doctors believe that it can be caused by other illnesses or a combination of two or more triggers, such as stress, changes in your immune system or even infections.

Chronic fatigue syndrome not only causes tiredness, but it can also cause further sleep problems, including orthostatic intolerance and post-exertional malaise as well as chills.

5. Diabetes

Diabetes occurs when a person’s blood glucose, or blood sugars, are too high. Insulin helps sugar from food get into the cells, but sometimes a person doesn’t make enough insulin, doesn’t produce any insulin, or doesn’t use it well, which means the sugars stay in the blood instead of going to the cells. There are two types of diabetes — type 1 and type 2.

If left untreated or treated poorly, diabetes can cause kidney issues, circulation issues and even nerve damage that can result in feeling cold.

Another symptom of diabetes is fatigue, otherwise known as feeling extremely tired. This can be due to low blood sugar levels or because the insulin is not working to get the glucose (sugar) into the cells for energy.

6. Anemia

Anemia is when your body does not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body. Due to the lack of oxygen, you may feel tired and cold, especially in your hands or feet.

This condition can be caused by the fact that your body does not make enough red blood cells, that it destroys them at some point, or that you are bleeding heavily. Women who are pregnant or menstruating are at a higher risk of developing anemia. 

There are two types of anemia — iron-deficiency anemia and vitamin-deficiency anemia.

7. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid gland — a gland at the base of your neck,— does not make enough of the thyroid hormone for your body to function properly.

The hormones from this gland help to regulate your metabolism and bodily temperature. This means that when the necessary amount of hormones are not being produced, you may experience weight gain and fatigue and feelings of coldness.

Hypothyroidism is not a curable condition, but it can be treated with the proper medications.  

8. Blood Vessel Problems

Feeling cold and tired can also be caused by certain blood vessel and artery problems. These can include clotting disorders, Raynaud’s disease and arteriosclerosis.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Raynaud’s disease, “causes the blood vessels to narrow when you are cold or feeling stressed.” When the blood vessels narrow, the blood can not come to the surface of the skin and those areas turn blue or white. This disorder can make you feel cold, especially in your hands or feet.

On the other hand, according to Mayo Clinic, arteriosclerosis is a condition where the arteries that go from the heart to the rest of the body become thick and stiff, which restricts blood flow to other organs and tissues. Again, this can cause you to feel cold due to the lack of blood circulation.

9. Medications

Lastly, feeling cold and tired can also be a side effect of certain medications. 

Beta-blockers, which are used for blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues, may be behind how you are feeling. They are used to manage abnormal heart rhythms and to protect from more heart attacks. 

A few other medications that cause these side effects include blood pressure medications, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, antibiotics and narcotic pain medications. 

Now that you’ve read through this list of nine possible causes for why you are feeling cold and tired all the time, it’s time to take action. Try to get the sleep you deserve and consider talking to a doctor to figure out other possible underlying reasons for how you’re feeling.

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