Sleeping with Socks On: What Science Has to Say

by Sophia O'Connor
May 18, 2022

There are a lot of topics that get couples heated, from where they squeeze the toothpaste tube to how they hang the toilet paper. Another great debate? Whether it’s acceptable to wear socks to bed.

Some people swear by covering their feet at night. They might love how warm and cosy it makes them feel. And according to scientists and a recent viral video from this doctor, wearing socks to bed may help you fall asleep faster.

And then, there are those who can’t stand to have their feet covered at night. They love the freedom of movement. They get too hot wearing socks, especially while under a doona and top sheet. Or maybe they’re not as sensitive to cold as the average sock sleeper.

No matter your reason, it’s clear that this topic is a sensitive issue for some. But who is right?

The data so far makes a compelling case for both. Here’s why:

Wearing Socks to Bed Could Mean Better Sleep

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with cold feet? Maybe it only took you a few minutes to go back to sleep. Or maybe you stayed up shivering for a while before you finally drifted back to dreamland. Whatever the case, it’s a disruption to your sleep—one that may be avoided by covering your feet at night.

This is one reason why sock wearers suit up before bedtime. Another reason: warm feet may help you fall asleep faster.

It’s hard to fall asleep when it’s warm or stuffy. Your body needs to cool down before it can go to sleep. And while wearing socks to bed might seem counterintuitive in this case, it’s actually not.

Socks warm up your feet, which can open the blood vessels. This helps to cool the body down, and when this process happens, it signals to the brain that it’s time to sleep. In her viral video, which has racked up more than 15 million views on TikTok, resident doctor Jess Andrade notes that people who wear socks to bed fall asleep 32 minutes faster, on average. That’s an extra 224 minutes of extra sleep each week!

Contrary to popular belief, wearing socks to bed doesn’t overheat the feet. Plus, it helps regulate your body’s temperature—a process called thermoregulation.

According to Medical News Today, our bodies’ core temperature drops during the night, reaching its lowest temperature around 4 am. It’s believed this happens as a way for the body to conserve energy. Socks help prevent your body from cooling down too much, especially in the winter.

Another explanation: some people feel more protected at night when wearing socks. If you love thick, warm blankets and cosy things, wearing socks fits right into your world.

Why Some People are Against Wearing Socks to Bed

On the other side of the coin, no amount of scientific evidence could make some people fall in love with the idea of covering their feet in bed. In response to Dr. Andrade’s video, many people commented that sleeping with socks is “so uncomfortable” and they “can’t breathe if [they] wear socks to bed.” Their bodies simply aren’t used to it and, therefore, it makes it difficult for them to fall asleep.

Others are horrified by the idea of bringing the same socks they’ve worn all day into a nice, clean bed. (The obvious solution here, of course, is to slip on a fresh pair of socks before bedtime.)

Regardless of the potential benefits of wearing socks to bed, the choice is often a matter of comfort and how you perceive space and temperature. Two people living in the same house can experience their climate in different ways.

Many people who can’t stand wearing socks to bed have high metabolisms, good blood circulation, thicker skin, or a combination of these things. If this applies to you, then your body is efficient at preserving heat and thus doesn’t need to be completely covered at night.

Finding the Grey Area in a Black or White Matter

Couples may never agree on the “right” way to do things. If that’s the case in your house, then it might be time for an old-fashioned compromise.

bedsmade has the answer: if partners have different preferences in covered or uncovered feet for sleeping, there’s a way to make both of them happy. Loosen one side of the top sheet for the uncovered party and tuck the other side for the snuggly sock sleeper. Everybody wins with a well-made bed!