Growing up my parents always maintained that sleeping with socks on is detrimental to my good health and development. I’m sure many of you grew up under similar circumstances, with parents that believed in good old fashioned sockless sleep. But is sleeping with your socks on really bad? Does it influence your sleep in a negative way?
Some facts about sleeping with socks
When it comes to having a good nights’ rest, regulating your body temperature is vital. Contrary to popular belief, a person’s head is not the body’s main heat sink (don’t go out into the cold without a hat on and blame me when you get sick). Sure, we lose heat through our heads, but not the massive amounts that everyone thinks. And besides, who sleeps with a hat on?
Maybe we’ll discuss that in another post, but for now, let’s get back to the main idea. Where do sleep and socks meet?
Science has shown that good blood circulation through the feet speeds up the “falling asleep” process. This improves the quality of your rest. In a study on the “thermoregulatory cascade of events that precede the initiation of sleep” published in the 401st edition of Nature (2 September 1999), researchers Kurt Kräuchi and company show that warm feet promote the rapid onset of sleep.
According to their study the extent to which blood vessels in the hands and feet are dilated can be a good indication of how quickly a person will fall to sleep. Basically what they are saying is that when your hands and feet are warm, you sleep well.
Keeping your hands warm in bed is not really a problem; you can tuck them under the pillow, hold them close to your body and so on. Imagine trying to tuck your feet under the pillow! You would have to be a first class acrobat to manage that feat (pun intended), but even if you do manage to miraculously tuck your feet under the pillow, I’m ninety nine percent sure you won’t have a very comfortable night. You wouldn’t sleep much. Your body wouldn’t feel as well rested as it should after a good nights sleep. Instead, you would feel tired and drained.
Some things to consider before you sleep with socks
So what other alternatives are there to keeping your feet warm while you sleep? Hmmm… I have an idea! How about socks!? Please don’t use the same pair that you wore to work and sweated in all day. Yuck! Now is the time to take out that thick pair of knitted socks that grandma gave you for Christmas five years ago and that you tucked away at the bottom of the sock drawer. Or, after taking a relaxing bath while your feet are still warm and soft, slip them into a soft pair of cashmere socks to enhance the quality of your imminent sleep.
If you are like me and you like to drink a herbal tea infusion before bed, you might suffer from the same nocturnal internal conflicts as me: “Shall I go to the toilet and get frozen feet, or shall I lie here and try to convince myself that the pressure in my bladder is a figment of my imagination”? With a warm pair of socks on, you won’t have to face those frigid tiles. You’ll get back to bed to continue your beauty sleep in no time.
What if you get warm during the night? No sweat, just kick off your socks or take your feet out from under the blankets. With blood flowing freely through your feet, you’ll be off to sleep and a proper rest in no time.
Next time when you go linen shopping, be sure to check that your new sheets and pillowcases go well with your favourite pair of socks. You wouldn’t want to upset your spouse by getting into bed with a pair of socks that clash with the bedding.