Should you wear socks to sleep during cold nights?

When cold weather sets in, keeping warm is essential for a good night's sleep, but should you wear socks to sleep? Experts said it depends. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- When cold weather sets in, keeping warm is essential for a good night's sleep, but should you wear socks to sleep? Experts say it depends.   

Media reported that Japanese physicians had advised against wearing socks to sleep because the soles perspire actively to regulate body temperature, making socks wet and the body feel even colder. Moreover, they are against wearing socks to the bed also because they will impede blood circulation.  

Kang Hung-ming (康宏銘), director of family medicine at Taipei-based ReShining Clinic, said that the Japanese physicians’ theory is somewhat different from traditional knowledge. In principle, body parts wrapped inside clothing are easier to keep warm as the body heat would not dissipate easily. As a Chinese saying goes, “When the limbs are kept warm, the body will be warm,” Kang said.    

However, even during a cold night, it’s not a good idea to go to bed wearing too much clothing, he said. The human body has a mechanism to modulate its need for energy, and the metabolism slows down during sleep; therefore, it’s not necessary to wear too many clothes when sleeping, Kang said.

Comfort is the number one rule for bedtime dressing, and with a heater turned on, sleeping can be very comfortable without wearing much clothing, he said.    

If you feel hot and have what feels like a swollen head after getting up, you could be suffering from symptoms of “overheating,” Kang said. Wearing too much clothing could make the body overheated during sleep, causing you to wake up and resulting in sleep deprivation the next day, he added.        

Chinese medicine doctor Wu Ming-chu said walking in the house without wearing socks makes body heat dissipate from the feet easily and that wearing socks can help prevent that from happening.  

However, Wu recommended socks made of natural materials such as cotton and wool and advised against socks made of synthetic fabrics like nylons, which usually have the characteristics of being tightly-fitting, flexible, and airtight. She said wearing socks made of synthetic materials to sleep will impede blood circulation and may cause numbness and tingling.