Whether you wear compression socks as a way to improve your circulation, recover from athletic activity, or to treat a venous disorder, your legs feel better with compression socks on. So why not wear them around the clock, right?
Compression socks combat the effects of gravity on fluids in your legs. When you’re lying down, gravity is not pulling on your veins the way it does when you're standing. You’ve probably noticed this if you deal with edema and realized your legs are less swollen in the morning.
Although it’s not usually harmful to wear compression socks to bed, they aren't as necessary or as effective when you're lying down.
There's a slight chance compression socks could become twisted or bunched while you're sleeping which could limit circulation -- the opposite of what the socks are meant to do. The possibility of this rises if you're wearing compression socks with more than 20mmHg of pressure, if your socks are not perfectly fit, if your socks have lost some elasticity over time, or if you tend to move a lot in your sleep.
Because of this, we recommend using sleep time as a chance to give your legs a break from your compression socks.
Exception to the rule...
People with vein disease or venous leg ulcers may wear compression socks or stockings to bed to help heal open sores on their legs.
In this case, compression socks work much like bandages, and can help reduce pain and improve disease-specific quality of life. Some initial research has shown that wearing compression socks can help these wounds heal more quickly.
If this is your case, talk to your doctor about the right time to wear compression socks and the right level of compression.
Can compression socks help with sleep apnea?
People with sleep apnea, a sleep disorder involving breathing interruptions during sleep, often look into wearing compression socks and stockings at night as a solution.
Researchers are looking into wearing compression socks during the day to help reduce sleep apnea symptoms. The regulation of fluid in the legs may help prevent fluid moving to the neck, which contributes to the occurance of sleep apnea symptoms.
If you have sleep apnea, wearing compression socks during the day may help with your symptoms.
However, it is still not recommended for those with sleep apnea to wear compression socks to bed. If you think your apnea conditions may benefit from sleeping in compression socks, discuss it with your doctor.
Can compression socks help with insomnia?
Studies show that wearing socks to bed helps regulate your core body temperature, helping you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Many of the popular articles on this topic state that sleeping in socks will help "open the blood vessels" and "aid circulation". However, there are stipulations for people with edema and/or hindered circulation.
Wearing socks to bed is not recommended to everyone, and compression socks are always excluded from the approved list of sock types due to the risk of twisting and cut-off.
Tips for wearing compression socks:
Wear your compression socks as much as you can during the day, but it’s generally not recommended to wear them to bed.
Make sure your compression socks or stockings are the right fit and compression level for you. If you're unsure, talk to your doctor or speak with a certified fitter.
Take care of your legs and skin to get the most benefit from your compression socks and stockings.
Have fun with your compression socks. There are lots of different styles and materials to choose from, which can help you stick with the habit of wearing them every day.