Can You Sleep In Compression Socks?

Tired and swollen feet, fatigued calf muscles, leg cramps, and spider veins coming out. For sure, you need to be wearing compression socks or support stockings; any compression legwear that can help you to alleviate these symptoms.
At times these symptoms linger into the night, and if you have compression socks, you would, without care, keep those socks until you had fallen asleep. When this happens, you may assume that no terrible side effects can possibly occur, but it may happen, especially if you are wearing compression legwear at a higher pressure level.

1. Pressure Guide

As mentioned, there are different pressure levels for compression legwear. With each level, there are specific conditions that are recommended for use.
Here are pressure guides for compression hose, socks, stockings, and sleeves:

8 to 15 mmHg

  • Minor aches and tired legs
  • For general needs such as muscle support and encouraged blood circulation
  • Support for sitting or standing for long periods
  • Ideal for people with diabetes with peripheral neuropathy
  • Mild swelling

15 to 20 mmHg

  • Same uses as with the mild compression socks
  • Support for busy and active days.
  • Appropriate for minor to moderate swelling of legs and painful lower extremities.
  • Ideal for pregnancy preventing the growth of spider veins and varicose veins
  • Used for post venous treatments like after sclerotherapy

20 to 30 mmHg

  • For chronic pain and overly fatigued legs
  • Treatment of orthostatic/postural hypotension, which is a form of low blood pressure
  • Lessens swelling associated with mild edema
  • Used for therapy from spider and varicose veins
  • Management of vein ulcers and minor to moderate medical conditions

30 to 40 mmHg

  • Therapy of moderate to severe edema and lymphedema
  • Treatment for post-thrombotic syndrome and deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Alleviates severe varicose veins
  • Therapy treatment for orthopedic surgeries and bone fractures

40 to 50 mmHg

  • For treatments of severe post-thrombotic syndrome and DVT
  • Used for therapy treatments of severe venous insufficiency
The two lowest pressure compression socks can be purchased without a doctor’s prescription. However, when using product instructions should still be followed.

2. Should You Wear Compression Socks to Bed

The simple answer to this question is, it isn’t necessary. Not unless your doctor tells you to wear it for specific reasons, then you must. Otherwise, wearing compression legwear is not needed. It won’t do much for your blood circulation while your legs are elevated. There are no activities that require extra support for the muscles and veins.
During the day, you need to use compression socks the most where you’re on your feet most of the time. So there’s no use in wearing compression socks overnight.

2. Why Can’t You Sleep in Compression Socks?

It’s not a real problem if you sleep in your compression socks using the lightest pressure. However, if you are wearing prescription socks, you need to make sure that you can wear compression socks to sleep under your doctor’s advice.
There are possible risks if you continuously wear compression legwear at night.

Restricts blood flow to the feet

If you are on your feet during the day, there is no problem since gravity prevents the pressure from increasing, which keeps the blood circulating. It will only hamper blood flow when there’s no gravity, no mobility, and nothing to support.

It may trigger pulmonary embolism and DVT

Following the logic of the first risk, as blood is getting restricted from flowing, the chance of developing a blood clot is higher. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a medical condition where blood clot happens in the blood vessels. On the other hand, pulmonary embolism is due to blood clots that travel to the lung arteries. This can be fatal, causing very serious complications to the respiratory system.

Skin irritation such as Paresthesia

Any fabric with some kind of rubbery material may cause irritation to the skin, especially if worn for extended periods. It would be best to let the skin breath in intervals to avoid skin rashes and irritation. Another thing that needs to be considered is to have several pairs of this compression legwear to be washed and used alternately. Using any dirty or soiled garment may cause skin irritation due to bacteria that breed in the fabric if it’s not washed.

3. Can You Wear Compression Socks to Bed

Despite the risks, there are exceptions wherein compression legwear can be worn to bed. But these are closely monitored by health professionals or under strict instructions of a doctor. The use of compression legwear is needed only if:
After surgery, this will only be advisable for several days until activities will resume with no noticeable circulation problems.
Temporary immobility. Compression stockings are explicitly made for extended bed rest. If there is swelling and inflammation, wearing prescription socks will help as part of a post-surgery and non-surgical treatment. This will assist in blood circulation as walking and standing are not yet possible for an individual.
Suffering from orthostatic hypotension. This medical condition causes a person unexplained dizziness to the point of even losing consciousness from laying on the bed to standing up. Wearing compression socks during sleep encourages sufficient blood flow from the legs back to the heart, which decreases the risk of losing consciousness once you get up from the bed.
Suffering from sleep apnea. A study was conducted by a group of researchers at Clinique La Pitié-Salpêtrière in Paris during the treatment of varicose veins with compression socks. They made a surprising discovery that the use of compression legwear helped with varicose veins and addressed the problem of obstructive sleep apnea.
By wearing compression socks, the blood vessels at the legs were reduced to 62% and, along with that result, reduced the veins at the neck by 60%. The decreased blood vessels of the neck relieved the pressure at the airway, which reduced the snoring and breathlessness in patients associated with sleep apnea.

4. In Summary

Compression legwear is not necessary to be worn to bed. It may be a bad idea to wear it due to the risk that it can cause complications. Although, certain medical conditions need overnight support from prescription socks which would be advised by a doctor.
Ensure that when you use compression socks, stockings, or sleeves, be appropriately guided by the instructions of use or a health professional. Never compromise your safety, especially when dealing with your health.

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