Wearing socks to bed, much like wearing socks in general, is not a one-size-fits-all solution. For people who don’t like things on their feet, for example, it might not be a good fit.
Surprisingly, though, wearing socks to bed can be a great solution, not only for those who sleep with cold feet or have poor circulation but also for those who tend to sleep hot or have night sweats. That’s because simply donning a pair of socks can help regulate your body’s temperature.
In this article, we’ll explain why wearing socks to bed can help with temperature regulation at bedtime, and for those who don’t like the feeling of socks on their feet at night, we have some other solutions to warm your feet at night.
How Our Body Temperature Helps With Sleep
Our bodies are brilliant, self-regulating organisms, and at any given moment, multiple functions are happening inside us to support our survival. For example, think of how the body starts to produce melatonin when it is time to get sleepy and go to bed. This is part of our circadian rhythm, a self-regulating biological clock that runs on a 24-hour cycle.
Another way the body regulates itself is through something called “vasodilation.” Vasodilation1 is when blood vessels in your body widen, which increases blood flow and lowers your blood pressure. More blood flowing to your hands and feet reduces your core body temperature2. The opposite can also be seen with vasoconstriction – when the blood vessels narrow, less heat will be lost, and the body’s temperature will rise.2
These processes are a part of thermoregulation.2 With vasolidation, this is part of the body’s way of preparing itself for sleep3, and it is connected to that circadian rhythm.
While it might sound counterintuitive, wearing socks on your feet4 can actually help cool your body down, rather than warm it up. This is because warming up your feet will allow for blood vessels to widen (vasodilation), which will help cool down the rest of your body.
Advantages of Wearing Socks in Bed
Fall Asleep Faster
Covering your feet helps regulate your overall body temperature.4 This is because when your feet are too cold at night, your body’s core temperature will increase, trying its best to get blood to your feet to warm them up.
Putting on a pair of socks, though, will warm your feet, which opens up blood vessels to help cool down the rest of the body.4 When you’re at a comfortable, cool body temperature, it should be easier to fall asleep5.
As we’ve mentioned, warming your feet can help with vasodilation. Vasodilation not only helps cool your overall temperature, which tells your body it’s time for bed, but by increasing blood flow to the hands and feet, it also improves your circulation.5
Good circulation6 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, experts say that wearing socks at night might help reduce the intensity of hot flashes.4 This is because the socks can help the body thermoregulate and cool down your core temperature.
Read More: Top-Rated Mattresses for Menopause
Improved Cracked Heels
According to beauty experts7, constant exposure to air conditioning and heating can dry out your skin, which, among other things, can lead to cracked heels. If you have dry and cracked heels or feet, Cleveland Clinic recommends8 the following routine before bedtime:
- Wash your feet with soap and water
- Dry them completely
- Apply moisturizer or lotion
- After a couple of minutes, apply a layer of Vaseline or Aquaphor, which will help lock in the moisturizer
- Put on some socks to sleep in and heal your dry skin overnight
As far as the socks to use for this, we like natural materials like cotton, wool, or cashmere since synthetic materials aren’t as breathable and could leave a slippery residue.
Prevents Raynaud’s Attacks
Raynaud’s disease9 causes certain areas of the body, like the fingers and toes, to feel numb or cold. In people with Raynaud’s disease, the smaller arteries in these areas narrow, which limits blood flow.9 In this case, wearing socks to bed can help by keeping the feet warm and increasing circulation to the toes.4
Flare-ups of Raynaud’s disease are also associated with being stressed.9 Stress could result from many issues, but comfort may be at play. Keeping yourself comfortable with a lower core temperature and better circulation could help mitigate stress and possibly reduce the likelihood of a flare-up.
Best Socks to Wear to Bed
Merino Wool Socks
When some people think of wool, they think of a scratchy or itchy material. However, Merino wool10 is grown from Merino sheep, and it is known for being very soft and non-aggravating to the skin. This plush wool is also known for wicking moisture and battling odors while providing cozy, warm comfort.10
The fibers in Merino wool are naturally crimped, which can trap pockets of air, making these socks particularly insulating.10
Like Merino, Cashmere is a type of wool11. However, while Merino comes from sheep, Cashmere comes from the soft under-fur of Cashmere and Pashmina goats.11 It is particularly known for its extremely fine fibers and luxurious softness.
While cashmere is warm, it also does a good job absorbing perspiration12 and is quite breathable, which can help regulate your body’s temperature.
For those who want to avoid animal products entirely, cotton may be a good option. Cotton provides some similar benefits to both Merino wool and Cashmere – it is insulating yet still breathable as it is a natural fiber. Cotton is also a good option for those with sensitive skin13 or conditions like eczema.
Other Ways to Warm Your Feet
If you don’t love the feeling of something on your feet while you’re sleeping, there are other ways to warm up.
Research shows14 that a warm bath taken one or two hours before bed can help you fall asleep faster. This is because a warm bath before bed will actually lower your core body temperature, signaling your body that it’s time to go to sleep.14
Multiple blankets covering your entire body might feel stifling or hot, depending on the room’s temperature. However, placing an extra blanket or comforter at the bottom of your bed just to cover your feet will provide the benefits of socks without actually having to wear socks.
Hot Water Bottle
If you have tried sleeping in socks and love the feeling at first, but find that your feet get too hot through the night, using a hot water bottle near your feet might be a good option. This is because a hot water bottle will warm up your feet initially but will naturally cool down as time passes.
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
If you don’t want to sleep through the night in socks, wearing comfortable and cozy slippers before bed can help warm up your feet before you crawl under the covers.
If you’re struggling to sleep at night, it’s possible that wearing socks to sleep could lead to better sleep by supporting your body’s natural thermoregulation process, an essential part of the body’s way of setting itself up for sleep. However, if you are more comfortable not wearing socks at night, you can utilize other methods of warming up your feet and lowering your core temperature for sleep. These can include a warm bath, wearing slippers before getting into bed, placing a blanket over your feet, and more.
Rachael is a content writer for Sleep Advisor who loves combining her enthusiasm for writing and wellness.
- 1. “Vasodilation”. Cleveland Clinic. Last modified June 23, 2022. –
- 2. “Functions of Blood: regulation”. National Health Service. Webpage accessed September 25, 2023. –
- 3. Bach, Véronique., et al. “Distal skin vasodilation in sleep preparedness, and its impact on thermal status in preterm neonates”. Science Direct. 2019. –
- 4. “Can Wearing Socks to Bed Help You Sleep Better?”. Cleveland Clinic. 2022. –
- 5. Harding, Edward C., Franks, Nicholas P., Wisden, William. “The Temperature Dependence of Sleep”. Frontiers in Neuroscience. 2019. –
- 6. “Circulatory System”. Cleveland Clinic. Last modified September 21, 2021. –
- 7. Ferguson, Sarah. “Is Air Conditioning Bad for Your Skin? Here’s What You Should Know”. Skincare.com. 2022. –
- 8. “How To Heal Your Cracked Heels”. Cleveland Clinic. 2022. –
- 9. “Raynaud’s disease”. Mayo Clinic. Last modified November 23, 2022. –
- 10. “Fabric Guide: What Is Merino Wool?”. MasterClass. Last modified September 29, 2021. –
- 11. “Fabric Guide: What Is Cashmere? Learn More About the Luxurious Wool”. MasterClass. Last modified September 28, 2021. –
- 12. “All your questions about cashmere answered”. Brodie Cashmere. 2022. –
- 13. “What is the Best Fabric for Sensitive Skin?”. Baptist Health. 2022. –
- 14. Neilson, Susie. “A Warm Bedtime Bath Can Help You Cool Down And Sleep Better”. National Library of Medicine. 2019. –