The saying goes, “cold hands, warm heart.” But what about cold feet? We think there should be a saying like, “cold feet, no sleep.”
It turns out that having chilly feet can interfere with your sleep. So, what’s the solution? Wearing socks to bed is an excellent way to keep your feet warm, and one of the easiest sleep hacks around.
Read on to find out more about this trick. Not only does it help you sleep more soundly, but it also has some unexpected benefits, too. If you’re not a fan of donning on a pair of foot coverings and crawling under the covers, we’ll also share some other tips for keeping your feet comfortably warm all night.
Can Warm Feet Help You Sleep?
It’s logical to conclude that being cold can interfere with your sleep, but having cold feet is even more disruptive to getting a full night of rest.
Our bodies are advanced, self-regulating organisms, and have all sorts of programs running in the background without realizing it. Several of these programs send signals to the body when it’s time for bed. In particular, making your feet warm causes something called “vasodilatation,” which is the dilation of the blood vessels. When this happens, your body receives a signal that it’s time to go to sleep.
In the absence of vasodilatation, your brain may not get the snooze signal, and you’ll have a harder time falling asleep.
Why Sleep with Your Socks On
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, mentioned earlier.
Vasodilatation is one of the many signals the brain sends our body, telling it that it’s time for sleep. Other signals include an increase in melatonin production due to darkness and a lowering of the core body temperature.
Prevent hot flashes
It might seem counterintuitive that wearing something to warm your feet can reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes during menopause, so bear with us for a moment, and we’ll explain.
Having warmer feet promotes blood circulation, and this helps regulate the body temperature. A more regulated body temp may be all that it takes to stave off a hot flash.
As the night goes on, our core body temperature can drop by a few degrees. During menopause, the already 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 that temperature, preventing the menopausal person’s body from having to work so hard to maintain a balance.
Improve cracked heels
Constant exposure to air can be very drying. One tip to prevent cracked heels is to moisturize those dry areas and cover them with socks at night. This also works wonders for hands. Lather on the lotion and put a sock over each hand. It’ll look adorable.
Again, opt for natural materials like cotton, wool or cashmere. Within a couple of days, you should notice a significant difference!
Increase potential orgasms
Again, this is for the ladies. A small study in Europe found that when women donned socks to bed their ability to achieve orgasm skyrocketed from 50% to 80%. There are a couple of theories to support this finding. First, researchers theorized that their partners’ cold feet were a complete turn-off. Understandably so.
The second theory has to with vasodilatation. Again. Having more circulation benefits all parts of the body, so the brain and genitals also reap the benefits.
Prevents Raynaud’s attack
Proper circulation also prevents Raynaud’s disease, which is when parts of the skin, usually extremities like hands, fingers, toes, and feet don’t get proper circulation, resulting in throbbing pain or swelling.
Bouts of Raynaud’s disease are also associated with being cold and stressed. While we can’t speak to socks’ ability to reduce stress, we do know that they’ll at least keep you warm!
Enhancing Circulation with Sleep Socks
You’ve probably gathered by now that circulation is key. A five-minute foot massage right before bed will naturally boost circulation and make it easier to fall asleep faster. You can do this pre-bedtime massage yourself or ask your partner nicely.
You can even offer to do a trade, and a friendly foot massage might turn into something more exciting.
Natural circulatory booster
If you’re using massage oil or moisturizer, add some capsaicin cream to it. This is a cream derived from chili peppers that is often used for muscle and joint pain. A word of warning: because this is the same ingredient that gives chili peppers their heat, it may cause a burning sensation when applied. This isn’t bad or dangerous, but we wanted to give you a heads up.
Warm Bed Socks
This may seem obvious, but make sure you put on a clean pair before bed. If you wear the same pair you wore all day, you’re inviting bacteria and odors into your bed.
So, before it’s time to get some shut-eye, take your clean pair of socks and warm them up slightly. Sit on them during dinner or blast a hair dryer over them for a minute to make them feel toasty.
Other Ways to Warm Feet
If you’re opposed to the idea of wearing them to bed, there are other ways to warm your feet. A warm bath is one of the best ways to accomplish this. Not only is it relaxing, but it warms your entire body, promoting circulation and relaxation.
An extra blanket or comforter folded up and placed at the bottom of the bed provides warmth without having to feel something on your feet all night long. If you're interested in electric (heated) models we have some top picks here.
Hot Water Bottle
One of our favorite things about a hot water bottle is that it can heat up your feet, but as the bottle cools you don’t have to continue feeling hot. 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.
If you go this route, try it just before bed. It’s not recommended to leave the heating pad on during the entire night, as it can burn you if you’re exposed to it for too long.
You don’t have to settle for ugly or mismatched items. Just because you might be the only one to see them doesn’t mean they can’t look and feel fabulous. If you take your sleep seriously, you might want to splurge on a luxurious pair of cashmere socks.
Cashmere is one of the softest fabrics around, and it’s one of the most breathable. That way, you’ll feel comfortable, but not too hot. Trust us; they’re worth it.
Again, if you’re not a fan of wearing socks to bed, you may want to spend the last moments before bed in a pair of cozy slippers. They’ll heat your feet up enough to prepare for sleep.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can children and infants sleep with socks on?
This question is surprisingly hotly debated with one side claiming that they are unnatural, cut off circulation, and don’t allow the feet to “breathe.”
While we’re not medical professionals and can’t give medical advice, we can say to use common sense here. Make sure the socks are loose enough to prevent cutting off the circulation and use natural fibers like cotton, so your child or infant’s skin can still get some air.
Is wearing socks to bed bad?
To this, we can answer a resounding no. It’s quite the contrary. Wearing socks to bed is good for you! Again, heed to the cautions we mentioned above, though. Avoid materials that are too tight, and steer clear of synthetic fabrics like polyester.
Are there benefits to not wearing a pair?
In short, it depends. Some people may be averse to wearing them. If that’s the case, then forcing themselves to wear them when they don’t feel comfortable may make falling asleep more difficult.
Perhaps, more importantly, is a concept called “toe splay.” This term refers to the foot’s natural tendency to spread the toes wide. When people wear socks, it inhibits toe splay. However, this is more pertinent to walking, when you need your toes to spread out for movement and balance. When you’re lying down, this isn’t so relevant.
Does wearing a pair to bed cause nightmares?
Most people have heard this theory before, and it may have even caused them not wear socks when they sleep for this very reason. However, it is an urban legend, and there’s no evidence to support it.
Our theory is that if someone is associating nightmares with socks, it could be that the socks are too tight and restrictive. It could be sending the subconscious mind signals like being trapped or stuck.
A lot of couples have intense debates about wearing socks to bed. Invariably, there’s always one person in the relationship that insists it’s comfortable, while the other argues that it’s not sexy. Both people are right. There’s no denying that even though they keep you cozy, wearing these things when you enter the bedroom is the opposite of sexy.
If you’re deadest against wearing them to bed or having your partner wear them, we hope some of these other tips were helpful to convince you otherwise. Or, if you’re the one who’s the sock wearer, show this article to your partner as further justification that you’re a bio-hacking genius.
Sources and References:
- The Case for Sleeping with Socks On – healthline.com
- Wearing Socks to Bed: Is it Normal? – sleep.org
Author: Sleep Advisor
Our team covers as many areas of expertise as we do time zones, but none of us started here as a so-called expert on sleep. What we do share is a willingness to ask questions (lots of them), seek experts, and dig deep into conventional wisdom to see if maybe there might be a better path towards healthy living. We apply what we learn not only to our company culture, but also how we deliver information to our over 12.7M readers.
Sleep research is changing all the time, and we are 100% dedicated to keeping up with breakthroughs and innovations. You live better if you sleep better. Whatever has brought you here, we wish you luck on your journey towards better rest.