Compression socks are the go-to socks for athletes, nurses, and travelers. With gentle support and broad wellness benefits, it’s no surprise you may want to sleep with them on.
But is it okay to sleep with compression socks on? Read on to find out.
What Are Compression Socks?
Compression socks (also known as compression stockings) apply pressure to the lower legs to support healthy blood flow, muscle recovery, and oxygen circulation. They fit snuggly and comfortably, made with a durable fabric that is supportive and flexible.
Compression socks use graduated pressure technology to provide maximum support and comfort. Graduated pressure helps maintain a healthy blood flow by providing extra support to your blood vessels as they push blood and oxygen from your feet to your heart.
When you wear compression socks, this blood flow can assist in many necessary functions. This gradual support can aid with poor circulation and soreness when running or on your feet for long periods. While standing and resting, compression garments soothe aches and pains associated with imbalanced blood pressure or muscle recovery.
The Benefits of Compression Socks
Compression socks are beneficial in creating balanced support for both activity and rest. Whether you are on your feet at work, training for a run, or looking for help with swelling or poor circulation, compression socks can help.
The gentle graduated pressure of compression socks supports strong blood flow. Oxygen travels through your body by your blood vessels and moves more readily when your blood flow is supported.
Many athletes look for ways to support oxygen flow while working out, as the presence of oxygen is known to supportmuscle growth. With a healthy blood flow, your body circulates oxygen into your muscle tissue, assisting in muscle recovery and healing.
Compression socks provide a gradual compression of your feet, ankles, and lower legs that combats natural fluid buildup. Compression socks provide comfort and soothe swelling by supporting a balanced movement of fluids in your body.
Having the additional support of compression socks provides a comfortable feel that can fight against fatigue and aches. Whether walking, running, sitting, or lying down, compression socks can bring soothing relief to your feet.
Just a few of the many benefits of compression socks include:
- Supported blood flow to soothe symptoms of cramping, soreness, and swelling
- Muscle recovery support through supported oxygen circulation
- Maintained comfort through gentle pressure
- Additional support and stability to the muscles and joints
- Combatted fluid accumulation under the skin
Types of Compression Socks
Compression socks are often used by people who spend a lot of time on their feet, whether from working long shifts, training for races, or general recreational activity. They are especially helpful in soothing swelling or discomfort in the legs and feet.
Compression socks are most beneficial when worn while on your feet, as they work alongside gravity to help maintain a healthy, strong blood flow. That said, compression socks can be worn during almost any activity or rest for additional comfort and support. The gentle pressure of compression socks provides a wealth of wellness benefits regardless of activity.
The type of socks that offer compression support can be broken down into three categories:
- Nonmedical support hosiery: An economical option, nonmedical support hosiery applies continuous pressure along the length of the stocking. These stockings do not have a specialized gradual pressure distribution as other compression socks do and are considered nonmedical.
- Anti-embolism stockings: Anti-embolism stockings are medically prescribed stockings designed to be used when you have decreased mobility, such as after surgery or while on bed rest. They have a defined gradual pressure change that is tightest at the ankle and decreases in pressure up the leg. These socks are often higher on the pressure scale and should only be used when recommended by a healthcare professional.
- Graduated compression socks: With an integrated gradual pressure design and long-lasting support, graduated compression socks are the most common and recommended type for day-to-day use. These socks do not need to be prescribed by a doctor, like anti-embolism stockings. Yet, they are made with cutting-edge pressure technology to provide maximum support and comfort, unlike nonmedical support hosiery.
The graduated compression sock is the most recommended type of compression support stocking for non-prescribed use. They offer versatile benefits and can be worn for many occasions, such as on runs, while resting, or at work.
The compression level refers to the pressure the compression sock will apply to your legs and feet. The higher the compression level, the more tightness and support you will experience in your limbs. Compression level is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), a unit of pressure also used to measure blood pressure.
Depending on the benefits you are seeking and the activities you are doing, the compression level you prefer may be different. Lower-level compression garments, ranging from 8-20 mmHg, are gentler and provide easy support while lounging, walking, or running. They are great for those new to compression socks and those seeking muscle recovery and strong blood flow.
High-level, medical-grade compression socks are great for next-level support while running, working, or working out. Between 20-30 mmHg, this higher grade of compression is especially recommended for those experiencing swelling or symptoms of vascular discomfort.
Above 30 mmHg should only be worn when prescribed by your healthcare provider and should be worn as directed.
When Should I Wear Compression Socks?
Compression socks can be beneficial for a wide range of activities and uses. The supportive technology and level of compression provide versatile wellness benefits that can soothe many common aches and blood flow issues.
Compression socks are most effective when worn while standing, walking, or sitting, especially for long periods of time. Compression socks support the body’s fight against fluid accumulation and poor blood circulation associated with being on your feet. When your feet are below your heart, your blood vessels may benefit from a bit of extra support pushing up against gravity.
That said, compression socks can be worn anytime you’d like to experience additional support and comfort in your legs and feet.
Some times that wearing compression socks may be helpful to you include:
Working out or running: Compression socks can support oxygen flow while working out, which supports muscle growth and recovery.
- On your feet at work: Long periods of time on your feet can lead to swelling, discomfort, and joint pain. Compression socks help soothe these common problems.
On a long flight: Strong circulation is maintained by wearing compression socks. This is important on long flights, as staying in one position for long periods of time can lead to blood clots.
- Resting:Compression socks can be worn when lounging or resting for additional comfort and assistance with muscle recovery.
Is It Okay To Sleep With Compression Socks On?
Yes, it is okay to sleep with compression socks on, though not all the benefits of compression socks effectively work when sleeping. Sleeping in compression socks can give your legs and feet an additional hug after a long day, and that comfort may be all you need.
But, if you aim to sleep in compression socks to boost one of their many wellness benefits, you may not see the same results. Compression socks' wellness benefits are due to their assistance in combatting the pull of gravity on the fluids in your body.
With graduated support, they help your blood vessels push blood back up to your heart with ease while combatting fluid accumulation. Yet, when you are lying down, gravity is no longer pushing these fluids toward your feet, like when standing up or sitting down. Your blood doesn’t need to fight with gravity to get from your feet to your heart.
Because of this, sleeping in your compression socks won’t necessarily support your blood circulation and oxygen flow in the same way. That said, if you are experiencing swelling or soreness, compression socks can soothe this discomfort even while you are sleeping.
If you are experiencing discomfort from symptoms of spider veins or other venous deficiency in the legs, then sleeping in compression socks can still be beneficial in soothing these symptoms. The gentle pressure is comfortable and soothing, no matter the time of day. Try menthol-infused compression socks to experience added benefits from an enjoyable cooling sensation.
The comfortability of compression socks can be enjoyed 24/7, so long as you are changing your socks regularly and washing your legs and feet in between uses, as you would with regular socks. If you start to experience discomfort from wearing them for long periods, take them off for the night.
Whether you choose to enjoy your compression socks on runs, at work, or in bed, you will experience the soothing and beneficial sensations of additional support. Once you enjoy the comfort of good-quality compression socks, you won’t ever want to take them off!