Wearing socks in bed could give your health a substantial boost for a number of reasons.
A host of studies suggest that the simple act of donning socks before bed could help you sleep better and even make you a better lover.
Other advantages mentioned in these studies include reducing the symptoms of Raynaud’s disease and easing the menopause.
One study, from the University of Groningen and conducted in 2005, found wearing socks to bed actually improved the sex lives of couples.
The results of the study were presented at the European Society for Human Reproduction and Development in Copenhagen.
Of the 13 couples involved in the study, those who wore socks were more likely to orgasm.
The study notes that, among women, only 50 percent achieved orgasm without socks, while 80 percent achieved it with socks on.
It’s thought the result is due to women reacting negatively to the feeling of their partner’s cold feet – which is no longer the case once socks are on.
This finding was accidental: the study was actually looking at what happens to the brain during sex.
Get to sleep faster
A 2007 study from the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN), published in the journal Physiology & Behaviour, found that people who wore socks in bed managed to get to sleep faster.
It theorized warmer feet, conversely, cause the blood to cool down, by dilating the blood vessels around the body; a process known as vasodilation.
This recreates the temperature patterns in your body immediately before going to sleep.
‘In elderly subjects without sleep difficulties, sleep onset could be accelerated with neutral bed socks after lights-off and a warm footbath prior to lights-off,’ the researchers said. They note that the results did not extend to those with insomnia.
Typically, core temperature drops to 35.8 degrees Celsius, which is 1.2 degrees Celsius lower than the average body temperature of 37. It’s thought this is done to conserve energy. It is for this reason you are advised to keep your bedrooms cool.
These small changes in core temperature are part of our Circadian rhythm. For example, it accounts for the so-called ‘midday slump’, when your body reduces its temperature in preparation for sleep at around 2 pm.
Your body temperature is at its highest temperature after you wake up in the morning.
Some women report that wearing socks to bed reduces the effects of the menopause.
Specifically, it can help with hot flushes, by making it easier for your body to regulate its temperature at night.
The Cleveland Clinic in London supports this idea. ‘For some women, wearing socks to bed is helpful as it can help to cool core body temperature,’ it said.
The higher temperature may counteract the hormonal changes which lead to the flushes.
Wearing socks to bed may also prevent the onset of Raynaud’s disease symptoms.
Raynaud’s disease is a circulatory disorder in which the arteries or capillaries tighten in response to stress or cold. Your hands and feet may go numb and turn white or blue.
Generally, those with the disease should take care to keep their extremities (hands and feet) warm. Wearing socks generally is important in order to keep the body warmer during sleep, according to rheumatologist Dr. John Abruzzo, MD, from Pennsylvania, in a conversation with Prevention.
Besides socks, a warm bath or hot water bottle can partially recreate the same effects.
It’s important not to sleep in tight socks, as this will reduce circulation.
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