How sleeping with socks on could help you fall asleep faster 

It’s unlikely to be the biggest thing you can do to improve your sleep, but socks could help you drop off.

If you’re looking for a good night’s rest, sleeping with socks on could be the hack you need.

It’s a subject that creates a lot of debate, with as many saying it’s not a good idea as those who swear by it. However, according to research, donning a pair for a better night’s sleep could be of benefit. And wearing them may even help you get to sleep faster.  

Someone lying in bed with a pair of spotty socks onCredit: Shutterstock/BoldRabbit
Sleeping with socks on is a hack which could help you fall asleep

Evidence suggests sleeping with socks on could potentially help you enjoy a better night’s sleep, but it’s an area of science that requires more investigation. Here’s what we know so far: 

  • Wearing socks can help you maintain a comfortable temperature by taking heat from your core. 
  • Some of us will find wearing socks can make us feel too hot.  
  • It’s worth trying as it’s not harmful, although you do need to be wary of fungal infections. You can reduce that risk by wearing cotton socks and avoiding man-made fibres. 
  • There is no clinical advice currently for wearing socks or not, but if you’re having trouble sleeping you could try these 10 sleep tips from experts to help you rest better.  

The science of socks and sleep

In one study, scientists asked six men to put on a pair of socks and go to sleep, to see if there were any benefits.  

The results were encouraging. The scientists concluded that keeping your feet warm using bed socks helped participants fall asleep seven-and-a-half minutes quicker and stay asleep 32 minutes longer. The number of night awakenings was also seven-and-a-half times smaller, compared to those without socks on 

Another study, which included adults over 50, investigated whether warming feet (including using socks) decreases sleep-onset latency – the time it takes to fall asleep 

It concluded that wearing bed socks could help older people fall asleep quicker, if they don’t have any other sleep difficulties.  

However, both studies had a small group of participants, which makes it hard to be sure the results are reliable.

Could sleeping with socks on help us fall asleep quicker?

Saga Exceptional spoke with Dr David Lee, clinical director of Sleep Unlimited and author of Teaching the World to Sleep, to get his expert insight into the studies’ findings.

“The thought process behind sleeping with socks on is that warming the feet has the potential to take the heat away from your core, which, in turn, could help cool you down and signal to your body that it’s time to sleep,” Lee explains.  

“But is that true for everyone from a couple of small studies? Probably not. It needs to be repeated with a larger number of participants and studied for a longer period.”  

Lee says if you’re struggling to go to sleep, popping on a pair of socks might help you fall asleep faster, but it could also hinder your sleep by making your feet too hot. It’s about personal preference, and Lee adds: “It’s not advice we’d give out clinically, yet, as there’s not enough evidence available.” 

Two people in bed, one sleeping with socks on, the other in bare feetCredit: Shutterstock/Vladeep
Do you sleep with socks on or socks off?

Can it be harmful?

There’s currently no evidence to suggest that sleeping with socks on is harmful, but Lee says it could potentially trap moisture around your toes, leading to fungal infections like athlete’s foot. 

To avoid this, Lee says it’s best to avoid wearing man-made fibres. “Materials like polyester could make your feet sweat more, so wear wool or cotton socks.”  

Does sleeping with socks on affect the brain?

Research looking at different areas of sleep is still ongoing, but there’s currently no evidence to suggest that sleeping with socks on affects the brain.   

Recently there was a post doing the rounds on social media that allegedly originated from the World Health Organization (WHO), claiming that sleeping with socks on can cause a stroke. This has been dismissed as fake by the WHO, with no evidence to back it up.  


The verdict on sleeping with socks

Lee concludes that if you find sleeping with socks on beneficial, there’s currently no research to say that it’s harmful.

“It’s down to personal preference – put some socks on if you want, but if you’re having sleep issues, cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), is generally the first line of treatment.” 

What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another, so if you’ve tried sleeping with socks on and you didn’t think it made a difference, you could try these unusual sleep tips instead.  

Rebecca Frew

Written by Rebecca Frew she/her


Becky Frew has written various articles for newspapers and magazines focusing on fitness, is a qualified run leader, and a certified sleep talker trainer who loves to help advise people how they can nod off easier. When she is not writing or reading about fitness, she is at hot pod yoga, bounce class, training for an ultra-marathon or booking anything with a medal and free food at the end.

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