We get questions every single day about compression therapy, and that makes us so happy! We love talking about the benefits of wearing Compression Socks and how they can help in your everyday life.
One question we hear time and time again is, “Should I wear Compression Socks to bed?”
We are experts in all things relating to Compression Socks, so you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn whether or not you should wear Compression Socks when you sleep.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND COMPRESSION SOCKS
To best understand how Compression Socks work, it’s important to first understand how circulation impacts your legs.
Your heart works to pump blood constantly through your arteries and vessels to reach all the areas in your body. These arteries and vessels act like a hose that carries blood that is highly pressurized throughout your body, providing your cells with oxygen and other necessities.
Your veins, however, are not pressurized. This means that they have to work a lot harder to move blood and fluid from your limbs back to your heart because they’re working against gravity. Typically the muscles in your legs assist with this circulation, but they’re not always as effective. This can lead to fluid and blood from pooling in your legs and feet, resulting in swelling, achiness and a feeling of heaviness in your lower limbs.
Compression socks work to stimulate circulation in your legs and feet by helping push fluids and blood out of your legs and back up to the heart. They create a gradient of pressure by having a snug fit around the ankle, with the tightness gradually reducing towards the top of the sock which lands just below the knee. This pressure gradient helps prevent swelling and fatigue after a long day of work and activity, and creates better venous pressure.
COMPRESSION SOCKS: SHOULD YOU WEAR THEM TO BED?
Now, to answer the question, “Should I wear Compression Socks to bed?”
The short answer is: No.
Compression socks are meant to improve circulation by increasing blood flow. When you’re standing or sitting, blood pools in your lower extremities and fights against gravity to flow back to the heart. Assuming the majority of people sleep horizontally by laying down in a bed, Compression Socks typically aren’t needed to encourage blood flow.
When you’re laying down, your legs are at the same horizontal level as your heart. In this position, gravity doesn’t pull on your blood the same way that it typically would when you’re standing or sitting throughout the day.
With that being said, if you feel as though your body can benefit while you sleep from the increased circulation Compression Socks offer, speak with your physician. It is important to always consult your physician to determine the best course of action for your health.
COMPRESSION SOCKS: WHEN SHOULD YOU WEAR THEM?
While we don’t recommend wearing Compression Socks while you sleep, there are so many other circumstances where your body can benefit from compression therapy! Here are a few examples:
1. WHILE YOU WORK
Most of us either sit or stand for long periods of time during our day. Whether you’re working in an office or from home in front of a computer, or you’re a healthcare provider that’s constantly running around, Compression Socks can help.
Studies have shown that the blood flow in our legs can decrease up to 50% after just 60 minutes of immobility. This results in increased pressure in the veins of the lower leg as blood fights against gravity when returning to the heart. So for all of you working at your desk right now, this is your reminder to get up and stretch those legs!
For those on their feet for long hours of the day such as doctors, construction workers, teachers and nurses, compression socks can help alleviate the achiness and swelling, also known as Edema, that develops in your feet throughout the day by increasing the circulation in your legs and making you feel much more comfortable overall.
2. WHEN TRAVELLING
Any type of travel lasting 4 or more hours increases your chance of developing a deadly blood clot, also known as a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). While few people experience symptoms of blood clots, everyone has risks.
Blood clots can happen to anyone at any time. Studies found that up to 99% of those who developed a travel-related blood clot had one or more pre-existing risk factors and didn’t even know it.
Studies show that wearing compression socks while travelling effectively reduces your risk of developing blood clots, and increases your comfort by reducing swelling and leg pain.
Learn more about blood clots and Deep Vein Thrombosis here.
3. WHEN EXERCISING
Awareness of athletic performance and physical recovery go hand-in-hand with being an athlete. A big part of being an athlete is pushing your body to its limits, but also treating it with the respect it deserves to recover in a quick and healthy manner.
Athletes who wear compression socks have noted that they’re able to focus more on their athletic performance because they feel less swelling and leg pain associated with ligament, tendon injury and muscle tears, and their legs feel more energized overall. Not worrying about pain or soreness in their legs gives them the ability to concentrate on their game, giving them a mental edge.
Studies show that by increasing oxygen flow to the working muscles and flushing out lactic acid, athletes experience a faster recovery time with decreased muscle soreness and increased comfort overall.
4. DURING AND AFTER PREGNANCY
Many factors affect your circulation when pregnant. For example, a person's blood volume increases up to 50% when pregnant, the hormone progesterone relaxes the lining of the veins and slows venous return, and slower blood flow increases the risk of a Deep Vein Thrombosis and blood clots. Learn more about the risk of blood clots during pregnancy here.
Fortunately, wearing compression socks can help alleviate and prevent many common symptoms of pregnancy. This includes swollen feet and ankles, tired and achy legs, and varicose veins and spider veins which often present themselves due to poor circulation.
Various studies have been conducted about the prevalence of varicose veins during pregnancy. Estimates show that up to 70% of people will develop at least one type of varicose veins throughout their pregnancy.
Dr. Segal’s 15-20 mmHg Compression Socks provide the right level of compression for during pregnancy and after delivery.
Varicose Veins: What are they and how can they be treated?
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