If you’re like me, you have trouble falling asleep. Worse, you might wake up in the middle of the night! Lying awake in bed, worried and tired, struggling to fall asleep with a niggling worm of anxiety that you you’re not going to get enough sleep is a terrible feeling. But will wearing socks really help me sleep better?
Cold feet are obviously the worse and there have always been anecdotal claims that warm feet—using a bath or socks—can help you feel cozy and sleepy. According to a study in Korea, wearing socks while you sleep can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Wearing a pair of special “bed socks” enabled the study’s participants to fall asleep faster, increased overall sleep time by an average of 30 minutes, and halved the number of times participants woke up during the night. Nature also reports that wearing a pair of socks to bed helped people fall asleep 15 minutes faster. But will this work for everyone? How does a pair of warm feet help you fall asleep?
Turns out there is a scientific explanation! During the day, your body has an average core temperature of 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit). But at night, your core body temperature falls by up to 1.2 degrees (2 degrees Fahrenheit) over six to seven hours asleep. The slow decrease in core body temperature is part of the natural process of falling and staying asleep.
One of the key ways the human body regulates temperature is through your hands and feet; the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet and your most important heat exchangers, with thin skin that helps release excess heat. If you wear socks before bed, the brain dilates the blood vessels in your skin to “cool down” and lowers your core body temperature faster. This can make you feel sleepy and helps your body fall asleep—and stay asleep.
What do you think? Will you try wearing socks to bed now?