You’re cozy in your favorite flannel pajamas and getting ready for a relaxing night’s sleep. But as you sink into the sheets, you realize your toes don’t feel nearly as warm as the rest of you. So naturally, pulling on a pair of soft and fluffy socks seems like the ideal solution. But can that be harmful? Wouldn’t doing that just warm you up too much for comfort?
It turns out that the opposite is true. A 2018 study found that wearing socks to bed resulted in lengthier and more restful sleep — and even reduced the amount of time it took to fall asleep. What accounts for these advantages? It’s worth keeping this information in mind if you’ve ever thought about dozing off in a pair of socks.
When you warm your feet, the blood vessels dilate. Known as vasodilation, the process releases heat from your body and lowers your overall body temperature. A signal is then sent to your brain confirming that it is time for bed. Studies have found that vasodilation does promote the rapid initiation of sleep.
It’s a critical point since your core body temperature of 98.6° Fahrenheit has an impact on your circadian rhythm or the function that controls your sleep schedule. When this internal clock works efficiently, it delivers a message to the brain that it’s time to sleep at night and wake up in the morning. This is why you feel most alert during the day — your body temperature rises. As you start to sleep at night, that temperature may drop by up to two degrees. Wearing socks, then, could be an effective way to regulate your temperature and optimize your circadian rhythm.
Women experiencing menopause may have difficulty falling asleep. Common concerns include insomnia and hot flashes. A survey found that menopausal women take prescription sleep aids twice as frequently as those who are premenopausal . Cozy comfort can go a long way in promoting a better night’s sleep for many people. But it’s not quite enough to pull on a fluffy women’s robe in this case.
That’s because hot flashes are often to blame for insomnia. These “flashes” can cause the body to feel intensely warm and lead to sweating and flushing, especially in the chest, neck, and face. It may be so severe that it causes your skin to become red and your body to sweat. The more body heat you lose in that process, the cooler you’ll feel in the aftermath. Wearing socks is a simple but effective way to reduce the body’s core body temperature, thereby minimizing the intensity of these hot flashes. It’s also helpful to use cotton bed sheets to cool down your body.
Socks can also protect your feet from dryness. The problem can leave feet feeling rough, irritated, and itchy. In some cases, the skin may peel or flake off. Sometimes this problem is aggravated by a medical condition, such as diabetes. Moisturizing with a heavy-duty foot cream is key to softening the skin, but it’s important to lock that moisture in to prevent it from rubbing off on the sheets.
That’s where socks come in handy. After applying the product, slip into some soft and thick socks. They create a powerful barrier for your feet while you sleep and aid in keeping the feet softer and more supple over time. For best results, opt for a pair of socks made with a thick and substantial material, like wool or cotton. Cashmere works well, too, if you’re in the mood for something particularly luxurious.
Raynaud’s is a condition that reduces blood flow to the fingers and toes. It occurs when the blood vessels in those spots begin to spasm, usually responding to an external trigger. Common culprits are feeling stressed or cold. When symptoms develop, your toes may become pale as they grow numb and cold due to limited blood flow to the area. While the problem isn’t always serious, it can be uncomfortable. Fortunately, managing symptoms at home can help considerably. It’s essential for patients with Raynaud’s disease to stay warm. One common way to avoid discomfort is to wear cozy socks to bed. Since this helps regulate your body’s core temperature, your blood cells are less likely to react negatively to cooler temperatures. You may also want to invest in a pair of toasty slippers to nestle your feet in additional warmth before you get to bed and when you wake up in the morning.
Simply put, there are no downsides to wearing socks to bed unless you really don’t like the way they feel. Otherwise, sleeping better could be transformative to your quality of life.