What is this strange feeling of cold I get in my chest?
November 14, 2012 1:50 AM   Subscribe

What is this strange feeling of cold I get in my chest?

Some nights I wake up with a strange coldness in my chest. It's different from normally feeling cold. It almost feels like there's a layer of cold about a quarter inch under my skin. I don't feel cold in the normal sense when this happens, but I can't go back to sleep without putting another layer on. Sometimes I lie on my back and put a pillow on my chest, which helps. I fall asleep and the whole episode is over.

I've had this happening for many years, but never really thought about it because it was rare. These days it seems to be happening every week, so I got curious. Unfortunately googling for "chest" and "cold" is very difficult. I would like to know what this is and why it's happening.
posted by hoca efendi to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
Does it cause you to worry, is it uncomfortable? If it's a cause for worry I'd suggest seeing a doctor about, this being the obvious advice.

Do you take any medication or have any kind of condition, physical or mental?
posted by ahtlast93 at 4:03 AM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

How cold is it in your room? Could the temperature be dropping overnight and causing you to get chilled "to the bone" as they say?
posted by gjc at 4:39 AM on November 14, 2012

ahtlast93: It doesn't cause me worry, but I just can't get back to sleep unless I do something about it. And I don't have any chronic illnesses.

gjc: It's not cold in my room. And when I get this feeling, it's only in my chest. Other than this feeling, I would not say that I feel cold when this happens.

I've been experiencing this once in a blue moon for over ten years now. Recently it has started to happen more often.
posted by hoca efendi at 4:53 AM on November 14, 2012

I googled "cold sensation" and chest just now, and got a few wonky results:

-Some people on a dysautonomia board speculating that it's their GERD

-A suggestion (of unknown value) of diabetes or a neurological issue

-This blah from Right Diagnosis that seems to concur with the previous link

-And a lot of people on anxiety and depression forums describing similar symptoms, with many of them theorizing that it's a side effect of those issues.

Weirdness. You need to ask your doctor, of course, but it does look like the internet is not brimming with solid advice on your situation, too.
posted by Coatlicue at 5:21 AM on November 14, 2012

Ask your doctor to check if you are anemic. When I have been very anemic in my life, I get a similar feeling. It feels like ice water right in the middle of my chest. I was told that this was an indication of anemia and once the anemia was resolved the symptom did go away.
posted by myselfasme at 5:45 AM on November 14, 2012

I have gone to the doctor for it, who gave me a Holter test, a pulmonary function test, the works, and a new inhaler, and absolutely zero concrete answers beyond "well, you're not dying, don't worry about it". Over the years, I have deducted that when it happens to me it appears related to ragweed allergies triggering my asthma (which is usually just cold/exercise induced).

It's a horrid feeling, though, I sympathize.
posted by lydhre at 7:20 AM on November 14, 2012

Keep a medical thermometer near your bed. The next time you wake up with this feeling, check your temperature. I went through a period of time when I woke up feeling cold in a weird way, and I learned that I was basically running a slight fever overnight.
posted by ErikaB at 2:34 PM on November 14, 2012

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