You may have heard the old saying, “cold hands, warm heart,” but cold feet might have a slightly different meaning. If you find your feet are still cold once you’ve crawled under the covers to the point where they’re keeping you awake, wearing socks to bed might be a necessity. After looking at some research, it may also be one of the easiest sleep hacks around.
Not only should regulating your temperature help you sleep more soundly, but it has some unexpected benefits too. Those who aren't fans of socks in bed may still find some helpful tips on the most comfortable socks to don under the covers.
How Our Body Temperature Helps With Sleep
Our bodies are brilliant, self-regulating organisms and have multiple functions happening inside us to support our survival. Several of these programs send signals to the body when it's time for bed, for example, the production of melatonin.
Wearing socks can help one of these essential functions. Vasodilatation dilates the blood vessels, increasing blood flow to your hands and feet and reducing your core body temperature. Scientists have identified a relationship between the circadian phase of your core body temperature rhythm, meaning that when your blood vessels dilate, the core of your body begins to cool, and your brain receives a signal that it's time to go to sleep.
In the absence of vasodilatation, your brain may not get the signal, and you'll have a harder time falling asleep. Warming the feet by wearing socks should foster this occurrence, helping you fall asleep quicker.
Advantages of Wearing Socks in Bed
Fall Asleep Faster
The argument that wearing socks helps you fall asleep faster is two-fold. First, covering your feet regulates your body temperature. When you're at a comfortable body temperature, it's naturally easier to fall asleep.
Second, is the concept of vasodilatation, one of the many signals the brain sends our body, telling it that it's time for sleep.
Warming your feet can help with vasodilation. This process dilates the blood vessels and increases blood circulation to your hands and feet; this, in turn, lowers your core body temperature, signaling to your brain it's time for bed.
Sleeping with socks on helps to improve our circulation because of this process. Good circulation ensures healthier blood and oxygen disbursement, supporting the critical needs of our lungs, muscles, and heart so they may work with efficiency.
Prevent Hot Flashes
Wearing something to warm your feet may seem counterintuitive when you're trying to reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes during menopause. However, warming your feet promotes blood circulation, which helps regulate body temperature, which could help reduce the frequency of hot flashes.
As the night goes on, our core body temperature may drop by a few degrees; this is because during menopause off-balance hormones may overreact and send signals that it's time to heat up, hence a hot flash. However, covering your feet helps regulate blood flow and your temperature, potentially preventing a person's body from working overtime to maintain balance.
Improved Cracked Heels
Constant exposure to air can dry out your skin, but you could help moisturize those dry areas, like the heels, by covering them with socks at night. Covering and moisturizing dry skin could also work wonders for your hands. Lather on the lotion and put a sock over each hand for smoother skin.
Natural materials like cotton, wool, or cashmere work best and shouldn't leave a slippery residue.
Increase Potential Orgasms
A small study in Europe found that when women donned socks to bed, their ability to achieve orgasm increased a full 30%. Researchers theorized that their partners' cold feet presented a mental block due to discomfort.
Further, vasodilatation could directly impact this aspect as well, as proper circulation affects all parts of the body, thus allowing all areas to reap the benefits.
Prevents Raynaud's Attack
Proper circulation also prevents Raynaud's disease. This condition is when parts of the skin, like hands, fingers, toes, and feet, don't get proper circulation, resulting in throbbing pain or swelling.
Instances of Raynaud's disease are associated with being cold and stressed. Stress could relate to many issues, but comfort may be at play. Keeping your veins warm, cozy, and circulated may help you stay comfortable throughout the night.
Best Socks to Wear to Bed
Merino Wool Socks
The mention of wool often makes people cringe at the thought due to wool's itchy texture. However, Merino wool is grown from Merino sheep, and it's softer than regular wool. This plush wool is famous for wicking moisture and battling odors while providing cozy, warm comfort.
The fibers in merino have a natural crimp; this allows them to hold onto stale air, acting as an insulator in cold conditions, helping you stay warm.
Cashmere is a fine, naturally generated material, and its thin fibers are eight times warmer than sheep's wool.
The small diameter of this material's fibers supports its ability to create extremely compact, dense material, resulting in fewer gaps for air passage. The result is an extremely warm substance, which, despite its warmth capabilities, thermoregulates and breathes extraordinarily well, making cashmere an excellent choice for multiple seasons.
Individuals who prefer to wear non-animal products may prefer a plant-based material. Cotton provides similar benefits as wool, which comes from sheep, and cashmere harvested from goats. Cotton is great for wicking away moisture, allows your skin to breathe, and helps regulate temperature as well.
Other Ways to Warm Feet
There are other ways to warm your feet for those who aren't thrilled at the idea of wearing socks to bed. A warm bath is a great way to get your body toasty warm before bed. Not only is it relaxing, but it warms your entire body, promoting circulation and relaxation.
Hot Water Bottle
One of our favorite things about a hot water bottle is that it can heat your feet, but you don't have to continue feeling hot as the bottle cools. After all, that's a top complaint among sock wearers. They feel cozy when they first go to bed but may end up feeling too hot in the middle of the night.
Heating pads are excellent for creating a wonderfully warm bed. However, we don't recommend leaving the heating pad on during the entire night, as it can burn you if you're exposed to it for too long. Instead, warm it up before going to bed, switch it off, and you can still fall asleep cozy and comfortable.
Read More: Top Rated Heating Pads
Comfort is key to relax and unwind before drifting off. Wearing a pair of fluffy slippers at home could help warm up your feet before bed. Allowing your body to release any tension by way of cozy, warm slippers could help you get a quality night's rest.
Sources and References:
-  L. Barcat, P. Decima, E. Bodin, S. Delanaud, E. Stephan-Blanchard, A. Leke, J.P. Libert, P. Tourneux, V. Bach, “Distal Skin Vasodilation Promotes Rapid Sleep Onset in Preterm Neonates”, Journal of Sleep Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine
-  K. Kräuchi, C. Cajochen, E. Werth, Wirz-Justice, “Functional Link between Distal Vasodilation and Sleep-Onset Latency?”, American Journal of Physiology. Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, U.S. National Library of Medicine
-  Michelle Roberts, “Health | Scan Spots Women Faking Orgasms”, BBC News, June 20, 2005
- “Raynaud's Disease”, Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, November 6, 2020
Rachael is a content writer for Sleep Advisor who loves combining her enthusiasm for writing and wellness. She’s had a passion for writing since she was a kid when she wrote awful poetry. She’s honed her craft quite a bit since then and considers herself a lucky duck to get paid to do what she loves.
Embracing the remote work life, she occasionally takes her work on the road and lives out her travel writer pipe dream.
In her free time, she attempts to meditate regularly, rides her bike to Trader Joe’s, and enjoys trying every type of food that she can get her hands on.