Whether you can’t sleep without socks on, or absolutely can’t stand wearing socks to bed, you probably have a strong opinion on the issue. But this isn’t just a matter of preference; science could be pointing toward the importance of sock-clad feet for better quality sleep, healthier skin, and even an improved sex life. Read on to discover why you may want to revisit your nighttime footwear habits.
Wearing socks could help you fall asleep faster
Do you ever lay in bed counting sheep? Wish you could fall asleep faster? Wearing socks to bed could be your express ticket to dreamland. According to the National Sleep Foundation, warming your feet before you go to bed can effectively signal your brain that it’s time for sleep. One study found that hitting the hay with socks actually helps you fall asleep fifteen minutes sooner than usual.
Wearing socks could support deeper & longer sleep
The circadian rhythm is closely linked to body temperature, and maintaining the right level of warmth during sleep can help ensure a more effective night of rest. While your body temperature varies during the day, it tends to drop at night – reaching its lowest point while you sleep – before starting to rise again in the early morning before you wake up. This is why the ideal temperature for sleep is in the cool mid-60s degrees Fahrenheit – it facilitates that natural drop in temperature your brain associates with sleep. However, your extremities (ie hands and feet) should still be kept warm to ensure you feel cozy and comfortable, and are able to stay solidly asleep. That’s why wearing socks to bed can help you achieve optimal thermoregulation.
Wearing socks could boost your sex life
On the other hand, wearing socks to bed could keep you from getting to sleep, because you’re busy doing other things (wink, wink). A small European study found that women who wore socks to bed were 30 percent more likely to achieve orgasm. The reasons behind this are unknown, but it could be that supporting better circulation benefits all parts of the body, so the brain and pleasure centers also reap the benefits.
Wearing socks could reduce the symptoms of menopause
For women going through menopause, sleep can be a challenge. Hot flashes are a response to hormonal changes, but they can be prevented by wearing socks in bed. By keeping your feet warm, you trigger a process called vasodilation. This is where blood vessels dilate, which allows more blood to circulate so you can cool down faster and, therefore, achieve sleep faster.
Wearing socks could improve your skin
Socks help keep moisture next to your skin surface. If you suffer from dry or cracked feet, moisturizing your feet each evening and placing socks over them will help heal your skin and improve skin texture. This can also help soften any callouses you have for easier removal.
Wearing socks could help those suffering from Raynaud’s
Hands and feet that are frequently cold could be a sign of Raynaud’s disease. This is a condition where blood flow to the hands and feet is reduced, and fingers and toes can feel cold and numb. Keeping warm throughout the day and wearing socks to bed can help reduce these uncomfortable symptoms.
Wearing socks to bed Is better for your Qi
Traditional Chinese medicine also backs up this wear-socks-to-bed concept, specifically focusing on its ability to enhance circulation. “Cold feet can drain the energy of the body and can obstruct the flow of vital qi (energy) and blood (nutrition) in the body. For that reason, we want to circulate the ‘qi and blood.’ By doing so, we keep painful obstruction away from the body and keep the energy flowing smoothly,” Dr. Elizabeth Trattner A.P. DOM, Doctor of Chinese and Integrative Medicine, told Reader’s Digest. “Cold impedes the flow of energy and heat or warmth encourages it. If you think about a warm bath you relax, and in cold water you tense up. Cold creates stagnation which can also lead to pain (think Reynaud’s Syndrome).”
Never sleep wearing this type of socks
Does it matter which socks you wear to sleep? Choose any type you like – bonus points for cute and colorful fluffy ones! But you definitely want to avoid sleeping in compression socks. Unless you’ve been instructed to do so by a medical profession, compression may hinder blood flow to your feet when you’re lying down.
In addition, never wear the socks you’ve been wearing all day, since this could encourage the accumulation of dry skin, sweat, and odor-causing microorganisms. Change into a fresh pair before you hit the sack.
The best socks for better sleep
Wearing the wrong type of socks to bed could encourage the growth of bacteria and fungi, which could leave you with smelly feet and damaged skin. If possible, choose socks made of a natural fiber, such as cotton, bamboo, merino wool, or cashmere. You should be able to get a luxurious pair of sleep socks for 10 to 20 dollars. Whichever type of socks you choose, make sure they are comfortably loose to allow adequate circulation to your tootsies.
Hate wearing socks to bed? Do this
If you’re someone who just can’t bear the idea of wearing socks to bed, there are other ways to warm your feet and help you fall asleep faster. Try having a warm foot bath (bonus points for adding some epsom salts), or place a hot water bottle under the covers before turning in for the night. Be sure to wear slippers in the evening and place extra blankets at the foot of the bed, so your feet stay nice and warm.