Sleeping With Socks On
What is it about having your feet all warm and cuddly that help you sleep at night? For a long time, humans have gravitated towards keeping their feet warm at bedtime. It turns out that there is a scientific explanation!
Why Is Sleeping With Socks on Good for You?
We first have to understand what thermoregulation is and how it works before understanding why sleeping with socks on is good for you.
Humans are endotherms, which means we regulate our own body temperature. Reptiles, on the other hand, need the sun’s light and heat to warm up. During the day, our brain works to ensure our core temperature stays around 98.6 degrees. This is despite external influences like your environment or exercise regime.
However, your body doesn’t stay at an exact temperature of 98.6 degrees. It varies throughout the day, dropping at night, reaching its lowest point while you sleep. It will then begin to rise in the early morning before you wake up.
This is why the ideal temperature for sleep is in the cool mid-60s degrees Fahrenheit. This facilitates a natural drop in temperature that your brain connects with sleep. Maintaining your body temperature during sleep ensures a nice, uninterrupted night of rest. If you get too hot, or too cold, you’re more likely to wake up.
So back to why sleeping with socks is so good! The benefit is not from the socks themselves. It’s the effect they have on the body. Warming your feet before bed facilitates vasodilation, which is the dilation of your blood vessels in your extremities.
When vasodilation occurs in your hands and feet, it opens up the blood vessels, redistributing heat throughout your body. This regulates your body temperature, preparing you for sleep. Sleeping with socks on helps this process happen.
In fact, researchers have found that vasodilation in the feet, thanks to socks, shortens the time it takes to fall asleep by a full 15 minutes.
Other Benefits of Wearing Socks to Bed
Sleeping with socks on provide the following health benefits as well:
- The temperature regulation you get from wearing socks prevents a Raynaud’s attack. People with Raynaud’s disease have very sensitive blood cells that overreact to cold temperature.
- The warmth that the socks give help your body to thermoregulate, preventing hot flashes or night sweats.
- According to traditional Chinese medicine, wearing socks promotes positive energy flow, known as qi, and helps to circulate the blood. On the other hand, cold feet can drain the body.
- To protect the natural moisture on your feet during the cold, dry months of winter, wear socks which help to prevent or minimize cracks and dryness (especially when you apply moisturizer before putting on your socks).
- According to a University of Groningren study, wearing socks can even increase your chances of orgasm by 30 percent!
Cons of Sleeping With Socks On
What are the drawbacks to sleeping with socks on? The only real drawback is if you wear the wrong type of socks! Here are some to avoid:
- Avoid socks that are too thick or not breathable like compression socks (these are not designed to be worn overnight). Choose socks that allow airflow so you don’t get too hot like those made from natural materials.
- For children and infants, avoid using hot water bottles, electric blankets, or heated socks because it may cause them to overheat. Simply dress them in normal socks after a warm bath.
Tips for Sleeping With Socks
- Take a warm shower or bath before bed. When your body temperature lowers, your brain recognizes it’s time for sleep. Taking a warm shower or bath, helps the evaporation of warm water from your skin heat, making the decrease in temperature more intense. This helps to induce sleep.
- Fully dry your feet before putting on new socks after your bathe or shower. This prevents the bacteria buildup that leads to fungal infections.
- Always change your pair of socks before bed. The sweat and activities from the day can introduce dirt and bacteria to your socks and feet.
Tips for Staying Warm Without Wearing Socks to Bed
What if the idea of wearing socks to bed makes you cringe? Whatever your reasons, some people are simply unable to tolerate wearing socks to bed. That’s okay, as there are alternatives that can offer you the same benefits as your sock-sleeping peers.
- Invest in some really nice socks, such as ones made from cashmere or merino wool.
- As a part of your bedtime routine, wear insulated slippers an hour before bed.
- Place a hot water bottle or heating pad or blanket at the foot of your bed. For safety purposes, be sure to turn it off as soon as you start feeling drowsy.
- Place extra blankets, sheets, or pillows at the foot of your bed.
Take a look at our reviews of some of the best mattresses with special temperature regulating features that can help you keep an optimal body temperature necessary for a comfortable night’s sleep.