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Can I wear compression socks to bed?

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The benefits of progressive compression are strongest when you are standing or sitting in an upright position. When you lie down, your blood doesn't need to flow from your feet to your heart against gravity.

For this reason, most doctors agree that it is not necessary to wear graded compression stockings while you sleep. However, there are some exceptions to this rule:

In some cases, doctors prescribe special compression garments designed for nighttime use, such as ulcer kits and anti-embolic stockings.

Many healthcare providers agree that it's safe to wear compression socks while lounging or napping.

Compression socks have important health benefits when you're traveling on a long-haul flight.

Be sure to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor before applying pressure overnight.

Your socks may become bunched or twisted when you fall asleep. If this happens, the compression cuts off blood circulation to the legs and feet. Obviously, this can be very dangerous.

Wearing compression stockings throughout the day, especially when standing, sitting, or exercising, usually provides you with ample medical benefit. Aside from the use cases mentioned above, there's really no need to wear compression socks overnight.

How do compression socks work?

Compression stockings or stockings gently squeeze your legs to help blood flow, like a helpful hug to your legs.

Compression stockings are most commonly used to treat patients with chronic venous insufficiency. In this condition, the valves in the veins do not work properly. Blood has difficulty returning to the heart, causing swelling, pain, and heaviness in the legs. By squeezing your calves, compression stockings counteract the increased pressure in your veins. This helps blood flow back to your heart.

Compression stockings are also suitable for people who do not have vein problems. Compression stockings can reduce leg swelling in people who stand all day or sit for several hours (such as on long flights).

Can I wear compression stockings to bed?

Can you boost the benefits of compression stockings by wearing them day and night? The benefits come when you stand up and move and gravity acts on your blood vessels, and when you lie down you remove the effects of gravity. Therefore, there is no reason to wear compression socks when lying down or sleeping.

Compression stockings should not be too tight. Still, it feels good to take them off to give your legs a break. Wearing them all day can also be harmful to your skin. Night is a great time to peel them off, rub on some lotion, and let your skin breathe.

But wearing a compression garment while sleeping isn't necessarily harmful, especially for short periods of time. For example, if you don't want to get rid of them before dozing off and pulling them again afterward, it's fine to let them nap for a while.

rest and nap

It's perfectly safe to hang out in compression socks as long as you don't feel too sleepy. Assuming you're still conscious, you'll be able to notice any bunching or twisting in the sock fabric. And, according to the Cleveland Clinic, it's also safe to wear compression socks during naps. Be sure to set an alarm! For more safety advice, you can read our article on the proper way to wear compression stockings. As an example of best practice, compression stockings should always fit snugly against your skin, and you should wear the correct size. Wearing clean socks is especially important for people with venous ulcers or other abrasions.

Compression socks are safe to wear throughout the day during a variety of activities. The best time to wear them depends on why you're trying compression socks in the first place. To recover, you may want to wear socks during and a few hours after your workout. To relieve discomfort and soreness from chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), you can wear moderate or mild pressure throughout the day.

In fact, many health care providers, such as doctors and nurses, wear compression stockings during long shifts to avoid leg fatigue, spider veins, and varicose veins. When healthcare providers have the opportunity to take short breaks during a 16-hour shift, they can nap safely while wearing compression socks. The use of compression stockings in standing workers is associated with lower levels of oxidative stress and leg swelling, so the benefits outweigh the risks.

long haul flight

Long flights can cause excess fluid to collect in the lower legs. The risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) increases whenever you are stuck in the same spot for hours at a time.

As blood circulation slows, blood clots can form in the deep veins. Research has also shown that flying more than 3,100 miles is a risk factor for pulmonary embolism, which occurs when a blood clot travels from a deep vein in the leg and blocks the lung. Fortunately, wearing compression stockings can help you avoid deep vein thrombosis on long flights, as well as prevent dangerous complications.

Because the benefits of wearing compression stockings on night flights outweigh the risks, many doctors recommend wearing compression stockings or stockings during long flights, even if you plan to catch some Z. Compression therapy not only reduces your likelihood of developing dangerous blood clots, but it also helps you avoid the muscle pain and edema that often occurs when you hold the same position for long periods of time.

Sleeping in sports compression socks: good or bad?

Compression socks or sleeves—often called "recovery socks"—have become popular among runners and athletes in recent years. Some studies have shown that using them during a run can improve your next performance on the pavement.

Would wearing them after a workout -- even all night -- improve recovery?

"Recovery" in this context doesn't refer to what happens after you stop exercising. They're called recovery socks because they improve circulation and help your muscles recover faster during activity. The effects appear while you're exercising, so there's no reason to keep using them afterward or while you sleep.

Is there any reason to wear compression socks to bed?

There is one exception to the "no pressurization required at night" rule. People with venous disease may develop open sores on the legs. Wearing compression stockings at night can help them heal.

For such medical use, discuss with your healthcare provider when to wear compression stockings and the proper tightness. For athletes or people looking to relieve swollen legs from sitting or standing, over-the-counter options abound. They come in a variety of styles for daytime use.

You can find different fabrics, thicknesses and designs - from argyle and stripes to tights or sheer stockings, you can pair them with business attire.

The effect of stress on sleep

A 2011 study of men with obstructive sleep apnea showed that compression stockings and stockings don't have to be worn overnight to affect sleep quality. The findings suggest that wearing compression stockings during the day can reduce the number of nighttime apnea and hypopnea.

Sleep disturbances are often caused by fluid entering the neck from the legs when a person is in a horizontal position. Compression stockings also prevent fluid buildup in the neck by reducing the total amount of fluid in the legs. The study measured the displacement of fluid from the legs to the neck by the patients' neck circumference, as well as apnea and hypopnea per hour of sleep. Daytime use of compression stockings improved both measures.