Since feet are an oft-ignored body part, it can be difficult to figure out how to best care for yours. Patients often come to our Austin podiatry practice with questions about what to do with their feet. While you could let social media comments, friends’ unqualified advice, or your own guesses define your answers, Dr. Jeffery LaMour and our team would be delighted to help. One of the most common queries we get is what to do with your feet during sleep. The important inquiry: socks or no socks? In the following blog, we answer the question, “Is it okay to wear socks to bed?”
Sleeping in Stocking Feet?
Cozying up in socks for slumber actually has quite a few health advantages. By making this a habit, you could:
- Fall asleep faster. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “heating cold feet causes vasodilation—dilation of the blood vessels—which may tell the brain that it is bedtime. After the blood vessels open in the hands and feet, heat is redistributed throughout the body to prepare for sleep. In fact, some research has shown that the more vasodilation in the hands and feet, the less time it takes to fall asleep.” A little feet heat could help you sleep the whole night through.
- Improve your circulation. As Healthline points out, “wearing socks at night can help prevent [Raynaud’s disease, which creates inflammation and discomfort due to lack of circulation] by keeping your feet warm and blood circulating.” Keeping blood flowing well can keep your feet healthy.
- Regulate your temperature. Some people may worry that wearing socks might make the too warm, but Healthline explains that this can “prevent hot flashes. Some women find wearing socks helpful for cooling their core body temperature.”
- Moisturize your skin. Overnight and exposed to the air, your feet could be more likely to dry out. For this reason, Healthline argues that sleeping with socks on could “improve cracked heels” if you put cotton ones on “after you moisturize.”
These are all convincing arguments for nighttime sock-wearing.
The Argument Against Socks
Despite the potential medical advantages of socked sleeping, some remain staunch supporters of stripped feet for slumber. In a passionate opinion piece, entitled “Sleeping with Socks on Is a Crime Against Humanity,” Dan Katter writes: “the heat, the toenail scratch against cotton, the inevitable morning footbath of sweat.” In addition to arguing that this habit is uncomfortable, Katter cites centuries of popular culture: “sockless sleeping has been the standard for quite some time. Pajamas come from Bengal, where the hot climate made socks unnecessary. When Victorian colonists brought pajamas back to Britain, they kept socks out of the picture…Looking through sleepwear advertisements from the 1870s to the present, virtually every ad features exposed feet or the occasional pair of slippers.” Basically, Katter asserts that you shouldn’t wear socks to bed because most people don’t.
The common reasoning against socks seems to be primarily one of comfort and popularity. Of course, there are additional arguments. If you don’t wash your socks or feet regularly, these garments could harbor infection. Furthermore, tight socks can constrict your feet, cutting off circulation.
Our recommendation for sockful or sockless sleep will depend on your particular feet. Dr. LaMour will examine your feet, diagnose any conditions, and provide customized counsel on daily foot care. For example, if you are prone to Athlete’s Foot, we might suggest keeping your feet bare, but if you need assistance with poor circulation, we’ll probably advise you to keep your stockings on all night.
Do You Have More Questions About Your Feet?
Dr. LaMour and our team are available to answer any and all of your podiatric queries. To find out more and schedule an appointment, contact our Austin practice today!