You may have heard that you should be sleeping for 7 or more hours daily, but if you are like most people, you might still struggle to get a good night’s rest. According to one study, sleep deprivation can significantly impact your health (1). However, wearing socks to bed might just be the solution you need.
Strong evidence (2,3) shows that people who put on socks to bed fall asleep 15 minutes earlier than those who don’t. Sock wearers are also less likely to wake up during the night. The study concludes that this happens because of how our body regulates its internal temperature.
Throughout the day, our body temperature fluctuates around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius. During the night, it drops 1 -2 degrees lower as we fall asleep. The reduction of your body’s temperature is part of a complex neurological system that determines your sleep pattern; which is known medically as the circadian rhythm (4).
Why Wearing Socks to Bed Helps You Sleep Better
The body depends on blood vessels located on our skin especially the extremities (hands and feet) in order to regulate our internal temperature.
When your body’s temperature is warm, your blood vessels expand in a process known as vasodilation. This helps to boost blood flow and circulate the warmer blood through-out the body; producing a cooling effect. On the other hand, if your body’s temperature drops, the blood vessels shrink, increasing blood pressure and forcing it to flow to the surface in a process called vasoconstriction (5).
Your palms and feet are hairless, so, they are not as insulated as other organs. According to one study (6), keeping your feet warm before going to bed boosts the process of vasodilation. This helps your body relax and fall asleep easier.
Further research (7) says that the best way to determine a person’s sleep pattern is by measuring their distal-proximal temperature gradient or the DPG. This refers to the temperature difference between your extremities (hands and feet) and your core body. The evidence suggests that helping a person regulate their DPG by wearing socks is a more powerful means of falling asleep than hypnosis or melatonin supplements (8).
Wearing socks can also positively affect your mental health. One study from Asia found that people who wore specially made sleeping socks which is popular in South Korea fell asleep faster than others who did not wear the socks. What’s more, the people who wore the socks woke up half the time and slept for 30 mins more than the others.
It turns out that wearing a pair of socks won’t just warm your feet, it can also improve your sex life. One study finds that 8 out of 10 couples who wore socks before bed had an orgasm but only 50 percent of couples who did not wear socks had the same experience (9).
Socks also help to retain moisture on your feet during the night which prevents dry feet and treats cracked heels.
If you want to get the most benefits from wearing socks without overheating at night, make sure you buy the ones made of natural breathable fibers.