I never thought I would admit to this, but I love sleeping in socks with holes in them. Wearing normal socks always felt too constricting, but especially during the winter months, not wearing socks was just too cold. A sock with a hole — and the bigger the better — always felt just right.
I never really understood why until Panasonic published the “New Common Sense of Winter Sleep” report which sheds light on a few misconceptions when it comes to getting a good night’s rest. Since Panasonic has a range of air conditioning and heating appliances, such knowledge is important to them and their resident specialist Mayumi Kikuchi has found that socks tend to do more harm than good when it comes to preparing the body for sleep.
Naturally, in the winter we want to bundle up in bed and that is wise to do. However, for the human body to be in the right condition for sleep, its core temperature needs to be lowered. They way this temperature is normally lost is through the extremities of fingers and toes. So, by blocking that outlet for our core temperature our bodies don’t end up in an optimal state and may result in trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep.
For those who enjoy the warmth that socks provide, Kikuchi does suggest leg warmers as an alternative. They keep the general foot area warm while keeping the toes exposed to aid in optimal body temperature regulation.
▼ They also have that retro charm.
For this same reason, Panasonic’s report says, everyone should avoid sleeping with other warming equipment such as electric blankets or hot water bottles. Instead it is best to use these things to warm up the bed prior to going to sleep so you and the bed can gradually cool off together as you drift off to sleep.
Another potential problem is taking a hot bath too soon before going to sleep. That also jacks up the body’s temperature and can keep you awake if done just before bed time. On the other hand, if a hot bath is taken about an hour or two before sleep that spike in body temperature will also come down quickly which may help make you drowsy.
Most people assume summer is when it's too hot to sleep, and yet the findings by Panasonic suggest this is also the reason that 61 percent of people surveyed by them also can’t sleep during the winter months of December to February. It’s just that we don’t really notice it.
Many readers online seemed to agree that something was up with wearing socks to bed, even without quite realizing why.
“Sock always feel stuffy when I’m sleeping even though I’m always cold.”
“Sorry, as long as it’s cold, I need my socks.”
“I always like to warm the bed with my own body rather than using heaters.”
“Sometimes I wake up at 4 a.m. and it feels good to get out of bed and cool down a bit.”
“I always feel really sleepy after I cool down from taking a bath.”
“My grandma always said that only dead people sleep with socks on.”
“I wear socks and always go to sleep quickly.”
Of course, everyone is different and some of us may be especially good at getting a good night’s sleep regardless of what is worn. But for those tossing and turning without knowing why, taking a look at your footwear may be a good start. Based on my own experience, I’d recommend just taking a normal pair of socks and cutting a hole in the end for your toes to stick out. That should make a world of difference.
Either way, I’m just happy that the next time my wife complains about my own tattered sleeping socks, I have some scientific data by a major corporation backing me up. Thanks, Panasonic!
Sources: Panasonic, FNN Prime Online, Hachima Kiko
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