Sleeping difficulties: Insomniac diagnosed with suspected apnoea
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Many might believe wearing socks to bed is a bit strange, but it’s been touted as the way to cure sleepless nights. According to the Sleep Foundation, wearing socks to bed helps with the distal vasodilation process. The vasodilation process “refers to an increase of blood to your hands and feet that reduces your core body temperature”.
In preparation for sleep, the body produces the hormone melatonin, which reduces the core body temperature.
By putting on a pair of socks in the evening, the core body temperature cools more quickly.
The Sleep Foundation confirmed: “Increasing blood flow by warming the feet, either through wearing socks to bed or other means, can help you fall asleep quicker.
“In one research study, participants who used socks or other foot warming methods not only fell asleep quicker but they reported staying asleep longer.”
Evidence from researchers based at Seoul National University, South Korea, backed the notion that bed socks are a good idea for those struggling to sleep.
Recruiting six men (similar in age, height, and body weight) for the experiment, the participants went to bed with and without bed socks.
The environmental air temperature remained at 23C for the duration of the study.
During a seven-hour cycle, sleep quality was measured using wrist actigraphy.
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Other measures included sleep-onset latency, sleep efficiency, total sleep time, number of awakenings, and wake after sleep onset.
The results showed that people fell asleep, on average, 7.5 minutes faster if they wore bed socks.
When participants wore bed socks, not only did they fall asleep faster, they slept for 32 minutes longer, and their sleep efficiency was improved.
The authors concluded: “These results imply that sleep quality could be improved by manipulation of the foot temperature throughout sleeping.”
Does any type of sock work?
“Look for socks that are loose enough to allow proper blood circulation, and avoid compression socks,” notes the Sleep Foundation.
“Also, opt for socks that do not retain moisture, which could encourage bacterial growth.”
People who benefit from sleeping with bed socks are encouraged to opt for socks made with natural materials, such as cotton, wool, or cashmere.
“Bed Socks are made specifically for sleeping in,” says the organisation.
“They are loose, thick, and also prevent moisture and bacteria from growing. You can find them easily online.”
However, it cautioned that sleeping with socks may not be appropriate if you have circulatory issues or swollen feet.
Any health condition that would increase the likelihood of restricted blood flow to the feet needs to be cautious.
If this applies to you, speak to your doctor first about wearing bed socks.
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