Why You Should Never Wear Compression Socks To Bed
In the vast world of wellness gear, compression socks are definitely having a moment. From athletes aiming to speed up their recovery, to anyone trying to reduce the likelihood of deep vein thrombosis on those long-haul flights, these tight-fitting foot-huggers seem to be the answer to a lot of leg-related woes.
They’re designed to improve circulation, reduce leg pain, and prevent swelling, and they can be an absolute game-changer for folks dealing with conditions like varicose veins.
Now, as marvelous as these socks are, you might be tempted to wear them 24/7, including when you hit the hay. But is it a good idea to wear compression socks to bed? Spoiler alert: Not really.
6 reasons why you shouldn’t wear compression socks to bed
1. Messing with your body’s natural flow
We can all agree that the human body is an amazing thing, right? It’s got its own ebb and flow, and one of the ways it regulates itself is through our blood pressure.
During the day, when we’re up and about, the pressure is relatively high to get that vital life juice to every cell that needs it. But when we sleep, everything calms down, including the blood pressure.
Now, compression socks are designed to counteract gravity and boost circulation when we’re standing or sitting. But when you’re lying down, gravity is not an issue and the body doesn’t need that extra push. By wearing compression socks to bed, you could be messing with your body’s natural flow.
2. Possible skin irritation and discomfort
Next up on the list is comfort, or rather, the lack thereof.
Face it, no matter how cozy those compression socks might be during the day, they can start to feel a bit like leg-straitjackets when you’re trying to snooze.
Apart from potentially disturbing your sleep, this discomfort can also lead to skin irritation or even rashes if the socks are worn too tightly or for too long.
3. Risk of impaired circulation
This might seem counter-intuitive given that compression socks are supposed to improve circulation, but it’s something to consider. When you’re up and moving, the socks help by applying pressure to your legs and aiding blood flow.
However, when you’re sleeping, your legs are on the same level as your heart, negating the need for that pressure. Wearing them to bed could, in fact, cause the opposite effect—impairing your circulation rather than helping it.
If the socks are too tight, they could restrict blood flow, thereby making your legs numb, which is the exact opposite of what you want!
4. Potential worsening of existing conditions
Now, if you’re someone who’s been prescribed compression socks due to a specific medical condition, wearing them at night might actually exacerbate certain issues.
For instance, individuals with peripheral neuropathy (a condition that results in numbness and tingling in the extremities) could have their symptoms worsen due to the added pressure and potential restricted blood flow at night.
5. Your feet need to breathe
You’ve probably heard it before, but it bears repeating: Your feet need some fresh air! By constantly swaddling them in socks, you’re creating a warm, damp environment that’s perfect for all sorts of bacteria and fungi to thrive. Yuck!
Furthermore, remember that your skin, including the skin on your feet, does a fair bit of respiration – releasing moisture and heat. Keeping socks on all night, especially the compression type, can interfere with this natural process, potentially leading to excessive sweating and overheating.
(For a deeper look into the cons of wearing any type of socks to bed, check out Why You Should Never Wear Socks To Bed.)
6. Insufficient evidence supporting nighttime use
Finally, it’s worth noting that there’s simply not a lot of scientific evidence supporting the idea of wearing compression socks to bed. Most of the research out there focuses on their benefits during the day, particularly for those who are active or spend a lot of time on their feet.
The old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and that certainly seems to apply here.
Compression socks are undoubtedly a useful tool in many scenarios, there’s no denying that. But bedtime isn’t one of them, at least not for a prolonged period. Sure, a night or two won’t lead to doom, but consistently donning these tight foot-huggers before drifting off to dreamland? It’s a no-go, my friend.
Think about it like this: It’s kind of like going to bed with your shoes on, or sleeping with a hat. Sure, it’s not catastrophic, but it’s just not quite…right, you know? And beyond just feeling a bit off, the science and reasons we’ve explored above explain why it’s not the best idea for your body.
Trust your body to do its thing while you snooze, and let those legs breathe!