There are plenty of reasons that drive people to feel cold, ranging from facing frigid winter temperatures to shivering in overly air-conditioned offices. But if you catch yourself feeling chronically cold, regardless of the environment you’re in or how many layers you’re wearing, you might actually be dealing with the symptom of an underlying issue. While some people joke that they’re “allergic” to winter and dislike the cold, actual cold intolerance goes beyond mere annoyance with the weather, and may be the reason why you’re cold all the time.
Mount Sinai Hospital defines cold intolerance as “an abnormal sensitivity to a cold environment or cold temperatures.” Cold intolerance can also stem from a variety of medical issues, including anemia, hypothyroidism (otherwise known a an underactive thyroid), and issues with blood vessels, like Raynaud’s phenomenon, sometimes called Raynaud’s syndrome.
If this description sounds like something you’ve been dealing with for an extended period of time, the first step should be to go consult your doctor to help pinpoint the underlying source behind your cold intolerance. In conjunction with professional medical attention and treatment plans, there are also some ways you can help manage your shivering. Ahead, seven hacks for people who are cold intolerant.
1. Boost Your Iron with Your Diet
A symptom of iron deficiency, the culprit behind iron-deficiency anemia, is getting cold more easily in general, as well as experiencing cold hands and feet. Incorporating iron-rich foods like spinach, lentils, eggs, and cashews into your diet can help boost your overall iron intake and help mitigate these symptoms.
2. Carry Around Hand Warmers
These little packets are not just for winter sport enthusiasts, and carrying some around in your bag is handy for when you’re feeling particularly cold. They also come in different styles for your hands, feet, and body.
3. Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Sleep
Studies have linked sleep deprivation in particular to throwing off your body temperature. While researchers haven’t pinpointed the exact mechanisms behind this association, some theories include that sleep deprivation throws off the metabolism, potentially leading to slower circulation throughout the body and less heat. Any excuse for more sleep is always welcome.
4. Drink More Water
It may seem like a strange connection, but drinking more water may be useful if you’re feeling chronically cold. “Up to 60 [percent] of the adult human body is water, and water helps regulate body temperature,” Maggie Moon, RD, a Los Angeles–based nutritionist, told Health. “If you’re adequately hydrated, water will trap heat and release it slowly, keeping your body temperature in a comfortable zone. With less water, your body is more sensitive to extreme temperatures.”
5. layer, layer, layer
Layering was pretty much invented for people who are always cold. You can layer up with turtlenecks, long-sleeved shirts, leggings, mittens, socks, and even underwear. Uniqlo’s entire HeatTech line, in particular, traps heat close to the source for better overall warmth.
6. Wrap Yourself in an Electric Blanket
For when no amount of layers is enough, you can always reach for an electric blanket with multiple heat settings to help control what temperature you feel most comfortable with.
7. When in Doubt, Drink Something Hot
This tip is kind of a no brainer, but drinking a hot beverage or reaching for some soup is also a short term fix for feeling cold. While hot fluids won’t raise your internal temperature, they can help you feel like you’re getting warmer, Dr. Michael Cirigliano, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, told Real Simple. “Your mouth is among the most sensitive parts of your body,” he noted.
When used alongside a medically advised treatment plan, these hacks may help make your life a little less cold.