Sleeping with socks: Is it okay to sleep with socks on?

Row of feet in colorful socks lying in bed

At University Foot and Ankle Institute (UFAI), our podiatrists are experts when it comes to answering questions about foot health.

Sure, we can explain common queries about foot problems such as how to treat a bunion, ingrown toenails, common causes of plantar fasciitis, and curing painful hammertoe. But what about more obscure health care matters such as, “Is it good to sleep with socks on?”

Believe it or not, our DPMs have not only an answer but a scientific response as well!

Is sleeping with socks on good for you? 

Stack of wool socks

It’s common knowledge that the human body temperature stays at roughly 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. But that temperature is dynamic and changes throughout the day, depending on the weather and activities you may be involved in.

The process of changes in body temperature is called thermoregulation, the ability to keep the body temperature within certain boundaries, even when the surrounding temperature is very different.

Don’t worry. We’re getting to the socks part of the story.

What happens when you sleep with socks on?

It’s not the socks that bring the benefit of thermoregulation; it’s the warming of your feet before getting in bed. When your feet are snuggly in a pair of socks, it stimulates vasodilation — an increase of blood flow in the body to tissues that need it most.

Vasodilation in your feet allows them to redistribute the heat to the rest of your body. When this happens, it prepares your body for sleep. Socks go a long way toward facilitating this process.

Here’s the great news. Research shows that wearing socks speeds up the time it takes to fall asleep by about 15 minutes.

Sleeping with socks benefits include:

  • The warmth contained in the socks helps regulate your body temperature, which wards off night sweats.
  • This same temperature regulation helps prevent a Raynaud’s attack. Raynaud’s is a disease that causes some areas of your body to feel numb and cold in response to cold temperatures or stress.
  • Wearing socks maintains the natural moisture in your feet so they do not become dry or cracked. A good trick to prevent calluses is to apply moisturizer on your feet before slipping the socks on.
  • Prevent hot flashes: Some women find wearing socks helpful for cooling their core body temperature.
  • If you subscribe to ancient Chinese medicine, you may believe that wearing socks to bed promotes positive energy. Cold feet may drain the body of its energy, while warm socks help circulate the blood to the body.
  • There is a school of thought that even suggests that wearing socks increases your chance of orgasm by as much as 30 percent.

Is it bad to sleep with socks on?

The only bad thing about sleeping with socks on is related to the choices you make.

  • No sleeping in compression socks. Compression socks are socks of various lengths that are designed to promote blood circulation by gently squeezing the legs a bit more than typical socks. What you should be looking for when considering socks to promote sleep are natural materials that allow airflow and do not promote heat.
  • If you are considering trying socks at bedtime for children, avoid using electric blankets, hot water bottles, or heated socks. Just let them wear normal socks after they take a bath before bed.

Is it healthy to sleep with socks on?

The answer is a definitive yes! But here’s a couple of professional foot doctor tips to put you on your way to a good night’s sleep.

Person receiving a foot massage
  • Always, yes always, put a pair of clean socks on before bed. Wearing the same socks you have been wearing all day can expose you to dirt and bacteria.
  • Take a nice, warm shower or bath before going to bed. The warm water from the shower or bath allows for evaporation of the warm water on your skin to decrease the temperature and induce sleep.

What type of socks is best to wear to bed?

Socks made of natural soft fibers such as merino wool or cashmere are best. Yes, they are often more expensive than cotton or artificial fiber socks, but everyone agrees that they are well worth the cost. Make sure your socks are not tight-fitting because they can constrict your circulation and get in the way of warming your feet.

Other ways to increase your foot’s circulation

  1. Give your feet a pre-bedtime massage. A foot massage at any time is pretty darn awesome for most of us!
  2. Use a natural circulatory boosting cream with your foot rubs that contains ingredients such as capsaicin. Or just use your favorite moisturizer, which is almost always nice for your feet before sleep.
  3. Warm your socks by sitting on them or using a hairdryer before putting them on.

Why depend on University Foot and Ankle Institute for all your foot and ankle care?

There is so much innovation in podiatric medicine today, and University Foot and Ankle Institute’s care is right there at the forefront. With decades of combined experience and the highest success rates in the nation, we have effectively treated over 200,000 patients.

Foot pain is not normal. And ignoring it will likely cause your condition to worsen and become harder to treat. 

Some of the foot and ankle issues we treat medically and with physical therapy include:

  • Bunions
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Big Toe and Ankle arthritis
  • Foot and ankle deformities
  • Heel pain and heel bone problems
  • Diabetic foot ulcers and other diabetic foot care concerns
  • Toenail fungus and other fungal conditions (such as athlete’s foot)
  • Heel spurs
  • Achilles tendon problems
  • Damaged ligaments including the Achilles, plantar fascia, and more
  • Neuropathy
  • Corns, warts, and blisters
  • Custom orthotic insoles
  • And many more orthopedic foot issues

University Foot and Ankle Institute treatment options are known as being among the most technologically advanced in the nation. While other practices say they know about “the latest and greatest,” UFAI has been researching, running clinical trials, and performing these techniques for decades. 

Research has shown that patients who have good relationships and effective communication with their physicians are more satisfied with their care and better able to manage their medical problems.

We know our patients are their own best advocates, so clear communication is critically important. Our doctors use plain, non-medical language. They listen and invite patient participation.

Our podiatrists take patients’ safety seriously. Our podiatry facility’s Covid-19 patient safety procedures exceed all the CDC’s coronavirus pandemic recommendations. Masks are always required in our institutes.

University Foot and Ankle Institute is conveniently located throughout Southern California and the Los Angeles area as our foot doctors are available at locations in or near Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Northridge, Downtown Los Angeles, Westlake Village, Granada Hills, and Valencia.

For a consultation please call (877) 736-6001 or make an appointment online now.

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