A close-up photo of a woman sleeping with socks. Her socks are gray and her feet are popping out from under the covers on her bed.

© Jodie Johnson Photography / Stocksy United

Can Sleeping with Socks On Help You Snooze Better?

Experts explain why a pair of socks could help send you off to dreamland.

By L'Oreal Thompson PaytonMarch 25, 2024


There are two types of people in this world: those who sleep with socks on and those who don’t. (For the record, I am firmly in the second category.) But as it turns out, those who do may be onto something. 

Sleeping with socks can support your body’s internal temperature drop that happens when you nod off, potentially improving the quality of your snoozing. That’s because the warmth you get from wearing socks to bed may help with distal vasodilation. This physiological process enhances blood dilation and circulation in your hands and feet and, in turn, lowers your core body temperature.

“This can help you get to sleep faster, especially if your feet are commonly cold at night,” explains Shelby Harris, PsyD, a licensed psychologist who is board-certified in behavioral sleep medicine and the director of sleep health at Sleepopolis.

But is sleeping with socks really worth the hype? Well, that depends.

“Wearing socks to bed can help some people sleep better by keeping their feet warm and improving blood flow,” Harris says. “But for others, it might be uncomfortable and disrupt their sleep if the socks get too hot or feel too tight.”

So should you add socks to your bedtime routine or not? We spoke with sleep experts to get the information you need to decide. 

Is Sleeping with Socks Good for You?

In short, sleeping with socks on may help you fall asleep and get better, deeper Zzzs. “Wearing socks to sleep can help you with thermoregulation by retaining heat, vasodilation for better peripheral circulation, and preventing heat loss through the extremities,” Dr. Harris explains.

Temperature—of both your body and the room you’re sleeping in—is crucial to getting a good night’s rest. “Temperature plays a significant role in sleep quality, sleep patterns, sleep stages, and body temperature regulation,” Harris previously told The Output.

Our body temperature changes throughout the day and helps regulate our circadian rhythm, which acts as our “internal clock” and cues our body for rest. If you’re too hot or too cold at bedtime, you may have trouble falling and staying asleep. If you’re in the latter camp and run cold, sleeping with socks may come in handy. 

“Socks create trapped heat around your skin so you don’t lose heat very quickly,” explains Abhinav Singh, MD, medical director of the Indiana Sleep Center and author of Sleep to Heal: 7 Simple Steps to Better Sleep. When your feet are warm (thanks to your socks!), your blood vessels dilate. “When the blood vessels are dilated, you lose heat more easily,” Dr. Singh explains, “and if you’re losing heat from your skin, then your core body temperature is also being reduced,” which, remember, is what you want to happen when you’re falling asleep. 

Conversely, when your feet are cold, your body sends more blood to your core areas, the Cleveland Clinic explains. As a result, your body temperature can actually go up, hampering sleep.

All that said, sleeping with socks on isn’t going to instantly solve all of your sleep issues overnight. And if you prefer sleeping barefoot, that’s totally fine, too. But if you’re prone to running cold, slipping on some socks may be an easy fix to help you get a better night’s rest.

Who May Benefit from Sleeping with Socks? 

Wearing socks to bed can be especially helpful for people with cold feet, circulation issues, or those who often feel chilly at night to the point where it wakes them up or disturbs their sleep, such as older adults or people who live in colder areas, Harris says.

Additionally, if you’re going through menopause and your temperature regulation is hampered, you may also benefit from wearing socks to sleep, as it can help fend off hot flashes

That said, other conditions such as diabetes or foot infections where you need the foot to breathe can be made worse by wearing socks, Harris says. If you’re unsure, it’s a good idea to ask your doctor first for personalized guidance on whether or not you should sleep with socks on.

Are There Any Drawbacks to Sleeping with Socks On?

As with most sleep aids, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to wearing socks to bed. While sleeping with socks could be a game-changer for some snoozers, it may do more harm than good for others. 

Specifically, Harris notes that sleeping with socks on could lead to: 

  • Overheating

  • Restlessness

  • Potential circulation issues if your socks are too tight

  • Hygiene concerns from wearing the same dirty socks for a long period of time or wearing socks with no ventilation for too long

  • Allergic reactions to materials in the sock

  • Disruptions to sleep routines, such as getting used to wearing socks where you can’t sleep without them

What Type of Socks Are Best to Sleep In?

Before you throw on just any old socks, know that experts recommend paying close attention to the material, as all socks aren’t created equal.

“The wrong socks may overheat your legs and cause discomfort,” Dr. Singh says. “It may also cause sweating in between your toes and promote cutaneous fungal infections and irritation.”

Lightweight and breathable materials are your best bet if you want to experiment with wearing socks to bed. “If you’re trying to sleep with socks for the first time, go for soft and comfortable options made of materials like cotton,” Harris says. “Make sure they’re not too tight, and you can try different thicknesses to see what feels best to give you a good night's sleep.”

Ultimately, you want a pair that “traps just enough heat to dilate your extremities’ blood vessels, but not too much heat to make you sweat either,” Dr. Singh says. “There’s a balance and every person has a different preference.”

Generally, stay away from sleeping with socks made from manufactured materials, such as polyester, which isn’t breathable. And unless your healthcare practitioner tells you otherwise, avoid sleeping with compression socks on, as it could damage your skin. (Ask your doctor if you have questions about what’s right for you.)

Finally, remember that if you sleep with socks on, keep your feet clean and put on a fresh pair every night to prevent bacteria growth.

The Takeaway

Sleeping with socks isn’t for everyone, but if you’re someone who constantly runs cold, then wearing socks to bed may help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. But if you give them a try and discover sleeping with socks simply isn’t for you, that’s fine, too. (There are other ways to get ready for bed and optimize your sleep environment, such as lowering your room temperature, keeping your room dark, using a weighted blanket, or trying a sleep meditation.

“What socks indirectly do is become part of a ritual, like showering, journaling, or doing a breathing exercise before bed,” Dr. Singh says. “Whatever your ritual is signals to your brain that it’s time for sleep.”

If you’re still struggling to sleep more often than not, then you may want to consult your primary care doctor. “Don’t sleep on your sleep problem,” says Singh. “Socks are not meant to solve insomnia.”

This content is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute individualized advice. It is not intended to replace professional medical evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of your physician for questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. If you are having a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.


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