January 24, 2022 / Sleep
Can Wearing Socks to Bed Help You Sleep Better?
Here’s a bit of information that could knock your socks on.
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Wearing socks to bed may help you fall asleep faster and snooze better during the night. Research shows that thawing out icy feet can adjust your body’s core temperature to put restful ZZZs within reach.
But the potential benefits of socking up for bedtime go beyond just warming toes and regulating your internal thermostat. It also opens the door for skincare pampering and maybe even (ahem) some extra zing in your love life.
Let’s break down the reasons to pull on a pair of socks tonight with behavioral sleep disorders specialist Michelle Drerup, PsyD, DBSM.
Why should you sleep with socks on?
Nobody likes cold feet, right? It’s just downright uncomfortable — and not a sensation that leads to sound sleep. (Chilly toes can even jolt you awake, a fact known by anyone who has kicked bare feet out from under the covers.)
But there’s a deeper, physiological reason for wearing socks to bed that goes beyond toastier tootsies, says Dr. Drerup. It’s a process called distal vasodilation. Here’s how it works.
Your body naturally works to lower your core temperature at night to help you sleep. This happens as part of your circadian rhythm, a 24-hour internal clock that manages your sleep-wake cycle. (That’s also why a cooler room temperature is better for sleep.)
But if your feet are too cold, your core temperature may actually click up a notch or two, says Dr. Drerup. That’s because your body is sending more blood flow — and the heat that comes with it — to your core areas.
So, what does adding in a fluffy pair of socks do? Those cuddly duds warm your feet, relaxing and widening blood vessels that constricted while cold.
This improved blood circulation in your overall body helps release more heat through your skin.
“By making your feet warmer, you’re opening up blood vessels to help cool down the rest of the body,” notes Dr. Drerup. “So increasing the blood circulation to your feet results in a lower core temperature. It seems counterintuitive, but that’s what happens.”