When it comes to sleeping with your socks on, opinions are strongly divided, people either love it or hate it, they cannot imagine sleeping without them or cannot understand why anyone would sleep with them on. Wearing socks to bed is an age-old ongoing debate, and since people are usually very opinionated about it, so you might skip this topic if you are hanging out with your friends or at a family dinner because things can escalate quickly.
Socks have until recently been pretty neglected in terms of fashion, they were probably the only part of clothing without any particular innovations or progress, but the wheel of fashion has turned again, and socks are now trending. Basic socks were mostly hidden inside of the shoes, but nowadays socks are designed to be seen and spice the outfit. However, it does not mean that they are gladly seen in bed.
One survey showed that around 44% of Americans think that it is horrible to sleep in socks, 29% have mixed feelings about it, and 28% love it. Regardless of the group you identify yourself with, keep up reading to see what science has to say about this intriguing topic.
A Sleep Inducing Trick?
Those who prefer sleeping with their socks on like to point out that cozy and warm feeling when they go to bed in socks, but is there a scientific explanation or something more behind that? According to the latest news, sleeping with socks might have its advantages.
The thing is, nobody likes the feel of cold feet, not even those who despise the idea of wearing socks in bed. Some people are more sensitive to the cold and feel the slightest temperature drop on their skin, but most of us face cold feet during winter months, and that is not a pleasant experience. Except for that, cold feet can keep us awake and be the cause of many restless nights, because when they are cold, our blood vessels are constricted which causes lower blood circulation. And what is the easiest way to solve that? Wearing socks, of course! The temperature of our body is regulated by the circadian rhythm or internal clock, which controls the timing of our bedtime. During the daytime, the body temperature rises, reaching its peak during the afternoon when we feel most awake, but then as we prepare for sleep the temperature drops from 1 to 2 degrees, and it reaches its lowest point around 4 AM.
Once the cold feet get warmer, our blood vessels will go wider and cause vasodilation, which signals to our brain that it is time for rest. When the blood vessels are open in feet and hands, the heat is spread evenly across the body to prepare it for sleep. Researches have shown that the higher vasodilation in feet and hands will make us fall asleep faster, so maybe that is the reason why people believe that placing a bottle of hot water close to the feet is good for sleep.
Socks in bed may not be the most pleasant thing, but neither is the cold feet. The best materials for socks are natural fibers such as cashmere or merino wool, they will cost you more than the average cotton or polyester socks, but they are worth it. Just be sure that they are not too tight or tick, because if they are they can hinder the blood circulation by constricting the blood vessels, and hinder the proper warming of your feet leaving them semi cold. Socks for sleeping should be medium thickness, and breathable, compression socks should not be worn in bed unless a doctor advised you to do so. Although they are known for enhancing the circulation, compression socks are not meant to be used while you are laying down because then they can block the blood flow.
Why Should I Sleep With Socks On?
The main advantage of sleeping with socks on is the fact that it will heat the feet and induce sleep. If you are not having problems with cold feet, here are some other reasons why you should consider sleeping with socks and how it can be beneficial for you.
- Sock sleepers might not be aware of it, but wearing socks and maintaining temperature regulation helps with the prevention of Raynaud’s syndrome, which is a medical condition that causes our skin to become significantly pale and later even blue, due to the reduced blood flow. Once the blood flow returns, the affected area will become red, and it would feel like it is burning. Those episodes can last briefly, a few minutes, but in more severe cases they can last for hours.
- Socks will nurture the feet during those cold and dry winter months by preventing dryness or cracks, and you can increase the effect by applying some moisturizer before putting your socks on.
- Traditional Chinese medicine recommends wearing socks. They believe that it contributes to the flow of positive energy, circulation and qi energy, while the cold feet would drain the energy out of the body.
- Usually, women who are going through menopause experience occasional hot flashes or flushes, most common symptoms of it include sweating, a sudden intense feeling of warmth all over the body and palpitations. Socks can be very helpful for the body’s temperature regulation during the night by maintaining it around optimal 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If you have a fever, try soaking your socks in apple cider vinegar and wear them, you can also put another dry pair of socks on top of them, it will supposedly help you recover faster.
Can Kids Sleep With Socks On?
One thing can lead any debate to the boiling point, and those are the kids, add them in, and it all goes on another level. Parents are sometimes overprotective and worry too much, but when it comes to infants and children, there is no reason why they should not sleep with their socks on, it is only essential that they are made from natural materials and that they are not tight. With kids, it is best to avoid heat socks or any heat inducer such as an electric blanket. A nice warm bath will do the trick and make them sleepy right on time. Socks or no socks, parents should always pay attention to their child to see if it is overheating, sweating or flushing, remove blankets and change their clothes quickly.
Babies are more sensitive so it is important that the layer of clothes which touches their skin is from cotton. Their onesies or socks should not be from wool for example. Not all babies will enjoy the feel of socks on their feet during the night, so parents need to pay attention and not put any unnecessary layer of clothes on their baby. If you notice that the baby’s palms and soles are warm or sweating, remove the socks or booties, sweating and discomfort will make the baby cranky and upset.
Overheating has been recognized as one of the causes of SIDS, which is why parents should never exaggerate with the amount of layer they put on their child, including socks.
Recently, many smart clothing products popped up on the market, and smart socks are one of them. It is claimed that they will monitor baby’s vital signs, but doctors and scientists are warning that there is no actual evidence about the efficiency of these smart devices and that they can cause more harm than benefit.
Side Effects of Wearing Socks While Sleeping
Considering how many people hate wearing socks to bed, there have to be some disadvantages that support their point of view, and that is our next topic.
- If your feet get too hot, they will start sweating inside of socks, which will create a damp environment perfect for any bacterial or fungal infection. If you are already dealing with some type of infection, it is best to avoid wearing socks at night until you solve the problem. Foot hygiene is essential, during the daytime we spend a lot of time in socks, especially athletes or anyone with an active lifestyle, that is why fungus, athletic foot and other kinds of infections are so common. You should never ever go to bed in the same socks you been the whole day, always remove them and wash your feet before bedtime.
- Many believe that while they are sleeping with bare feet, their feet are breathing and there are no chances for any unpleasant odors to occur, which is somewhat true. Sock sleepers should not walk around the house in them because they will pick up dirt and transfer it to bed.
- Overheating because of socks is possible, and it can easily wake us up several times during the night, it is easy to remove them and throw them next to the bed but it causes unnecessary heat waves, and it can be annoying.
- If you have tiles or polished wood floor, socks can cause you to slip and fall in the middle of the night if you wake up to go to the bathroom. This can be particularly dangerous for seniors, as they are more prone to accidents. Older people tend to have problems with blood circulation which is why they usually prefer wearing socks at night, but since with age, their balance is not at its best and any slippery surface is their enemy, they should use socks with rubber anti-slip soles, which will keep them safe on their feet.
- Aesthetics. Now, this may not be a valid reason, but it can be a slight disadvantage. Most couples argue about the socks in bed since usually one of them dispase socks and the other one loves them. They are not the sexiest thing, especially if they have a weird design or if they are not matching, but they are probably the coziest thing to the person who is wearing it, while their partner might not enjoy the touch of socks on their feet.
- Eventually, you will double the number of socks you use, and you will have to wash and dry them more frequently which takes some extra time.
Tips For Anti Sock Sleepers On How To Warm Up Their Feet
Some people fear that wearing socks to bed is unhygienic, they believe that it might cause them to overheat and wake up during the night due to sweaty feet, but others just do not find it comfortable enough. We wear socks for the most of our day, and at night our feet can finally be free to breathe and be bare, so if wearing socks is still not an option for you, do not worry, there are plenty of alternative ways to deal with icy cold feet.
- You can always put some extra layers or the blanket on top of the bottom half of your comforter, that way there will be more heat in that area, and your cold feet will heat up quickly.
- As much as they look gimmicky and funny, heating pads do what they are intended for. Just place them at the foot area of your bed a few minutes before you go to sleep, they will prepare and warm up the place for your feet. These heating pads are widely available, and their price varies from 15$ to 80$, but a more inexpensive alternative is a simple plastic bottle filled up with hot water.
- Wearing some cozy footwear before bedtime such as insulated slippers will maintain the optimal temperature in your feet and help you prepare for your sleep.
- A hot bath or even better, a brief foot bath before bedtime will quickly increase your body temperature and prepare you for snoozing time.
DIY Heat Pad
Filling up the plastic bottle with hot water is a widely spread DIY solution for heat pads; the only downside is that the water will eventually cool down. You need to place it in your bed around 15 minutes before you lay down, so that it will remain warm. But, there is one more highly popular DIY project which is more suitable for today’s topic since it includes socks, and it is called rice socks.
For this DIY project, you will need one pair of socks from natural fibers, and around ½ cup of rice. Simply pour all the rice in one sock and tie a knot at the end, place this sock into the other one and tie its end too. This sock-pad is meant to be heated up in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, but keep an eye on it because it can sometimes start to smoke. You will be surprised how long it can retain the heat, and it can be used for your feet, neck, or any other area.