To sock or not to sock, that is the question.

By Meghan Overdeep
January 4, 2019
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There are two types of people in this world: those who sleep with socks on, and those who cringe at the very idea. On one side of the proverbial bed you’ll find those that require socked feet to get a good night sleep, while on the other lie those whose naked feet are the key to restful slumber.

So, what is it about a person that leads them either towards the sock sleeping lifestyle or away from it?  It is a difference in biology or psychology? Are there people who can take or leave socks in the bed?

The answer to what’s behind a person’s sleepwear orientation, it turns out, is a little bit of both. Science says there are a few reasons people sleep with socks on, either because socks help to regulate their body temperature, because it’s just more comfortable for them that way, or some combination of the two.  And some people, believe it or not, go both ways. 

According to a recent study cited by Apartment Therapy, 44% of Americans hate going to bed with socks on, 28% love it, and the remaining 29% have mixed feelings.

Before you say that 44% of Americans can’t be wrong, here’s a little bit of science for you. As Mike Kisch, CEO and founder of sleep-tracking wearable Beddr explained to Apartment Therapy, when it comes to regulating sleep temperature, it’s the sock lovers who might be onto something.

"The human body undergoes changes as it drifts into the early phases of sleep, and the body's temperature slightly fluctuates throughout the night," Kisch explained. "Although your temperature drops ever so slightly—a completely natural phenomenon—a pair of socks on your outermost extremities can help maintain balance."

In fact, a study from 2007 reported that adults who wore either normal or heated socks in bed got to sleep faster. That’s because warming up the feet and hands triggers a response in your blood vessels called vasodilation that sends tells your brain that it’s time for bed.

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Ultimately, what it comes down to for many is personal preference.

"I can wear them all day long and it feels totally normal, but at night I become very conscious of extra clothing, including socks. I also feel that when I wear socks, my feet become harder to move around under bedding," Kisch told Apartment Therapy. "It's a very small difference, but one that is magnified when attempting to sleep because we become more sensitized to our bodies as our stimuli go away."

So, when it comes to sleeping with or without socks, experts agree: do what works for you.

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