It’s one of the oldest debates in the books: to sleep with socks on, or not to sleep with socks on? Proponents on both sides argue vehemently that they’re in the right, while others simply do what feels most comfortable for them.
Does sleeping with your socks on actually make a difference? Are there scientifically proven benefits to wearing (or not wearing) socks to bed? If so, then who’s in the right?
Is There Really a Difference?
Yes – but not much. Your life probably won’t dramatically change or be better or worse off than others just because you swapped to sleeping with or without socks. You may notice subtle differences, or none at all. However, one option may be preferable over the other if you find you struggle with specific problems, such as frequent foot funguses or difficulty falling asleep.
The results may also depend on a variety of factors, not just the presence or absence of socks. If you want to take full advantage of the benefits and reduce the drawbacks, you’ll want to wear clean, breathable socks that aren’t too tight.
TIP: If you notice that you’re having a hard time falling asleep, it might be time to look for a new and more comfortable mattress.
3 Benefits of Sleeping with Socks On:
Let’s start with some of the benefits of wearing socks to bed. Although they’re not exactly life-changing, they can make a difference that’s noticeable enough if you find yourself in a few key situations.
1. Improved Circulation
First, wearing socks to bed increases blood circulation to your extremities. This is especially important if you have diabetes, neuropathy, anxiety, anemia, or poor circulation in general. In short, it keeps your toes warm, and helps to prevent you from waking up to numb feet.
It also helps with a process known as thermoregulation, which controls your core temperature. When you sleep, your core temperature drops; wearing socks to bed can speed up this process, helping you to fall asleep faster.
If you also experience getting cold feet at night, the easiest and fastest way to warm up your feet is by wearing socks. If you often experience cold feet, you can try to exercise more often, quit smoking or reduce your daily stress levels, which will in turn help to improve blood circulation and fight off your cold feet symptoms.
3. Prevent Hot Flashes
If you’re a woman going through mesopause you’ve probably having a harder time falling a sleep. The main reason for this are hot flashes, which are a result of hormonal changes in your body. However, sleeping with socks on can prevent hot flashes and night sweats, because this triggers a process known as vasodilation, where your blood vessels dilate and you are able to cool down much faster. Additionally, it can help to protect your feet from becoming dry and cracked.
TIP: If you struggle with insomnia on a regular basis, you may benefit from wearing socks to bed. You may also try reading before bed, which is a good way to reduce stress and relax before going to sleep.
Drawbacks of Sleeping with Socks On
There aren’t as many drawbacks, and they’re avoidable if you take specific precautions. First, if the socks you’re wearing are too tight, they can actually have the opposite effect on your circulation and thermoregulation, causing you to overheat or restrict blood flow further to your feet. Avoid this by wearing socks to sleep that are specifically designed to be bed socks.
Also, if you don’t change out of the socks you’ve been wearing all day, continuing to wear them at night can cause a buildup of bacteria, leading to poor hygiene, an increased risk of infection, and a likelihood of developing a foot fungus.
Which Socks are Best for Sleeping?
Now that you’re more familiar with the benefits and drawbacks of socks in bed, you’re probably wondering what are the best sleep socks?
First, you should look at the materials and pick only socks that are made from natural fibers. Look for socks that are only made from cotton, wool or cashmere. All of these materials are known for their natural properties at regulating body temperature, so you don’t feel cold in the winter or warm in the summer season.
Just make sure the socks are the right size and are not too tight, otherwise they’ll have the opposite effect on your circulation and thermoregulation.
Although the differences aren’t huge, and are more focused on specific aspects of the population, as long as you’re changing your socks nightly and ensuring they’re made from a breathable material, you may see a subtle positive difference in your sleep health while sleeping with socks on.
However, if you’re still against the idea of sleeping with socks on, you could also try sleeping with a hot water bottle at the foot of your bed, or swapping to a memory foam mattress.