The Sleep Laboratory took a group of healthy men and looked at the impact of warm extremities on their sleep. The heat in their extremities worked to the rest of their body through vasodilation, meaning the blood vessels dilate when warmed. This vasodilation to hands and feet actually allows the body’s core temperature to cool down faster when the feet and hands warm up, helping people fall asleep in a shorter period of time.
A person’s blood pressure drops as well, signaling the brain to relax and the body to prepare for sleep.
While not everyone loves the feeling of socks on their feet when they go to bed, there are ways to achieve this same effect without confining your feet.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests putting a heating pad or hot water bottle between your feet or piling extra blankets at the foot of your bed. If that’s still too much for your bedtime routine, try to pre-warm your feet in slippers before getting in bed or take a warm shower or bath. Additionally, an electric blanket is a good investment.
Those weighing in about wearing socks to bed on a Today show Facebook post about the topic had varying opinions, with one person commenting: “I can’t sleep with socks on! I also usually have my feet hanging out from under the covers because I’m always too hot, even in the middle of winter!!”
Another person noted that they try to wear socks to bed, but they somehow come up missing: “I have them on when I fall to sleep. But when I wake up they are no where to be found. Under the bed, down the hallway, under my pillow…you never know lol.”
This person has been following this method for years, writing: “Always ON for many years. My feet are perpetually cold and I cannot fall asleep unless I’m wearing socks to warm them up. Glad to know doctors say it’s okay.”
Another commenter goes the extra mile with keeping those toes warm at night, writing: “From reading the comments everyone hates to sleep with socks on. I am the opposite!!!! I HAVE to HAVE socks on ALL year around!!! I get cold easily and I have to have socks on and my feet all tucked in blankets.”
Yet another person weighed in with this opinion: “I hate sleeping with socks on. Even if its freezing cold I wake up with my feet feeling like they’re on fire and my ankles itching from the elastic. Can’t rip those suckers off fast enough!”