Should You Sleep With Socks On? An Expert Weighs In


For some, the idea of sleeping with socks on sounds like a sweaty, scratchy nightmare. For others, the warmth and coziness is pure bliss — and some even say it helps them fall asleep. It’s a nighttime preference that has the internet divided: Just look on TikTok, where “sleeping with socks on” has over 38 million views and a multitude of videos and comments vehemently supporting one side or the other.

The main argument — at least to sock fans — is that sleeping with socks on draws heat to the feet, which in turn lowers your core body temperature to help you fall asleep. According to Dr. Michael Breus, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the founder of The Sleep Doctor, there is some truth to this.

“The body must reach a certain temperature and then go down in order for melatonin to be released and start the sleep process,” he tells Bustle. “For people who are naturally cold, wearing socks may help them reach that point faster.” A similar theory supports taking a warm shower before bed to raise, then lower, your body temp. So if it seems like you immediately snooze whenever you wear fuzzy socks to bed, you really might be onto something.

Under TikToker @dr.karanr’s video on the subject, one person said “Everyone thinks I’m weird for [sleeping with socks on], yet I fall asleep instantly” while another practically yelled, “I KNEW I WASN’T CRAZY.”

On the flip side are the folks who can’t fathom sleeping with toasty feet. Under the same video, someone wrote, “I can’t even wear socks around the house let alone to bed” and another noted, “My feet always feel on fire at night! I can’t imagine wearing socks.” Personally, even if I try to go to bed with socks on — maybe to keep lotion in place — I always wake up with them off. So the practice is definitely not for me.

Should You Sleep With Socks On?

Ana Rocio Garcia Franco/Moment/Getty Images

According to Breus, whether or not you should wear socks to bed is truly a matter of biology and personal preference. If you’re always cold, then sleeping with socks on is a good idea. It’ll help raise and lower your body temp in a way that helps you catch some Zzzs — and it’ll also feel cozier. If you run hot, well, it’ll makes sense to go with what feels right and ditch your socks as you slide into bed.

As Breus says, sleeping next to a partner may also play a role in this conversation. “When I [work with] couples who argue about room temperature, one of my solutions for them is to have the person who likes it warm to wear socks and the person who likes it cold to have no socks and feet out from under the covers,” he tells Bustle. In other words, socks are an easy way to customize your sleep routine with nothing more than a piece of cotton.

The bottom line: There is no black-and-white answer. “If you have a hard time falling asleep, then socks can potentially help,” Breus tells Bustle. It’s also OK to slide into bed with naked feet and relish the coolness of the sheets.

Studies referenced:

Haghayegh, S. (2019). Before-bedtime passive body heating by warm shower or bath to improve sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Med Rev. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2019.04.008.

Liao, WC. (2013). Effect of a warm footbath before bedtime on body temperature and sleep in older adults with good and poor sleep: an experimental crossover trial. Int J Nurs Stud. doi:

Okamoto-Mizuno, K. (2011). Effects of thermal environment on sleep and circadian rhythm. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 31(1), 14. https://doi.org/10.1186/1880-6805-31-14 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2013.04.006

Expert:

Dr. Michael Breus, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, founder of The Sleep Doctor



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