Socks or no socks: Sleep experts solve the age-old debate

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
Sleeping in socks is good for you, according to experts. [Photo: Getty]

Socks or no socks? Surely one of the biggest sleep debates of all time, the question of whether to wrap our feet up warm or let our toes roam free has, quite literally, kept us up at night.

Some find socks in bed restrictive or too stuffy, preferring to fling them off before they nod off. Others couldn’t possibly get to sleep without them, and are spoilt for choice with an array of cashmere, wool and fleece socks available specifically for bedtime.

Whichever camp you are in, you’re probably pretty set in your ways by now. But it turns out for sleep experts there’s only one correct answer, and that’s wearing socks.

That’s right, sock-covered feet are scientifically proven to be conducive to a better snooze, according to a 2007 study which linked warmer feet with falling asleep faster and being less restless during the night.

Neil Robinson, Sealy UK’s sleep expert, explains to Yahoo Style UK how this process works.

He explains: “Having warmer feet causes vasodilation (dilation of the blood vessels) throughout the body, which actually causes your body temperature to drop slightly.

“This decrease in temperature then mimics the body’s natural pattern as it prepares itself for sleep, helping to induce tiredness.”

What kind of socks are best for sleeping in?

While you might be more prone to sleeping in the socks you’ve been wearing all day, Robinson suggests investing in a sleep-specific pair may reap benefits.

He says: “The best socks to wear at night would be a pair of woollen socks, as wool is a great insulator and will keep your feet toasty warm throughout the night. Not only this, wool fibres also have naturally anti-bacterial properties.

“Cotton socks are best avoided at night as these can actually lead to you having colder feet.”

Not only this, wearing socks in bed can also help to prevent hot flushes throughout the night, and even help to keep your feet in good condition by keeping the skin from drying out!

Robinson recommends popping your socks on an hour before bedtime for maximum benefit, for the vasodilation process to begin and to lower your overall body temperature before you sleep.

Is it sleeping in socks better for everyone?

If you simply can’t sleep in socks, do not fret – there’s no reason to change your habits if you are already nodding off easily.

Robinson says: “Socks in bed isn’t for everyone – some people don’t find it comfortable to sleep with a pair of socks on.”

If you are firmly part of the no-socks camp, it’s probably to do with your natural body temperature, he says.

“People’s ability to sleep in socks largely depends on whether they’re prone to warm or cold feet. Some people have better circulation than other, a faster metabolism or thicker skin, meaning they have a biological predisposition to generate heat.

“People with a faster metabolic rate tend to have a higher body temperature than those with a slower metabolism, and therefore find that wearing socks in bed leaves them feeling too hot to sleep.”

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