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Why you need to sleep in socks: scientists gave an unexpected answer

Yulia PoteriankoLife
Socks can help the body lower its temperature, which is necessary for quality sleep

People who have trouble falling asleep will do anything to make the process easier. And sleeping in socks can be a good life hack for them.

Livestrong has gathered scientific advice on this subject and told us what benefits this habit provides and who may not be suitable for it.

How socks can help you fall asleep

The first answer is the most obvious: they help keep your toes warm, and feeling cold in your feet can be a hindrance to falling asleep. So, warm feet mean no such discomfort and easier falling asleep.

Another explanation is a bit more complex and is based on the circadian (daily) rhythms of the body. Among other things, these rhythms regulate body temperature, steadily increasing it during the day and decreasing it at night. And when the body starts to lower its temperature, it is a clear signal that it is time to get ready for sleep. That's why a colder bedroom temperature is best for a good night's rest.

And for internal changes in body temperature to occur, the body must be able to effectively retain or lose heat. The main organ of heat exchange is the skin, which is permeated with small blood vessels called capillaries. Wearing socks on your feet allows you to relax the capillary muscles and expand them. This improves blood circulation and optimizes thermoregulation. The body begins to release more heat and cools down.

As a result, a person wearing socks can fall asleep faster and sleep longer. This conclusion was confirmed by a study published in October 2006 in the journal Physiology and Behavior. Back then, researchers tested different sleep strategies on participants with and without health problems. One of the disorders was, for example, chronic insomnia. It turned out that in both the experimental and control groups, people who wore socks at night fell asleep faster than those who slept barefoot.

In April 2019, the Journal of Physiological Anthropology published the results of a similar study. Its authors showed that six young men who went to bed with socks on fell asleep an average of 7.5 minutes faster and slept 32 minutes longer compared to those nights when they slept without socks on their feet.

Scientists warn that wearing socks alone is not a panacea for insomnia. In addition, this life hack can be harmful to people with circulatory disorders, as the elastic can pinch the blood vessels in the legs.

Other benefits of sleeping in socks

Sleep problems are not the only health disorder that can be helped by wearing socks to bed. This piece of clothing can also help manage the symptoms of Raynaud's disease. This is a circulatory disorder that causes certain parts of the body, especially the fingers and toes, to become cold, numb, and discolored. Socks will help keep your feet warm in this case.

Also, this accessory to pajamas can help women to relieve hot flashes during menopause. They are accompanied by excessive sweating and often occur at night, which interferes with sleep. They are caused by hormonal fluctuations that disrupt the thermoregulation system. Socks can help to cope with this problem.

Socks can also help to cope with dry feet. Before going to bed, apply a cream or lotion to your feet and put on cotton socks. They will create a favorable microclimate in which the product will be absorbed better and will care for your skin more deeply.

What types of socks are best for sleeping

Doctors and experts say that comfort is the main criterion for choosing. Socks should not irritate the skin or pinch the limbs. Therefore, they should not, for example, "bite" or be too tight.

Preference should be given to natural fibers such as cotton, cashmere, or merino wool. These materials provide the best heat and breathability. You should change your sleep socks every day. You should also wash your feet before putting them on. This will protect you from the development of unwanted microorganisms.

Earlier, OBOZREVATEL told you how to help yourself fall asleep in the heat even without air conditioner.

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