Can You Sleep With Compression Socks on? – Benefits, Risks, and How to Choose

a pair of colorful socks sitting on top of a bed. can you sleep with compression socks on

Can You Sleep With Compression Socks on?

Compression socks are a popular choice for people who want to improve their circulation, relieve swelling, and prevent varicose veins. But can you sleep with compression socks on?

There are a few things you should know before donning your compression gear at bedtime. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits and risks of sleeping in compression socks as well as how to choose the right ones for you.

Is it ok to sleep with compression socks on?

It is generally safe to sleep with compression socks on, but it is not directly recommended and there are a few factors to consider. While compression socks can aid circulation during the day, wearing them at night may cause inflammation and disrupt circulation due to the lack of gravity when lying horizontal. It is also important to choose a pair with low compression (no more than 15mmHg) if you prefer to wear them to sleep.

person standing beside window. can you sleep with compression socks on

It is recommended to consult a doctor before wearing compression socks at night, especially if you have any muscle or venous problems. Additionally, it is crucial to maintain personal hygiene and change your socks daily.

Why compression socks should not be worn at night?

It is not recommended to wear compression socks while sleeping. Wearing them for extended periods of time can pose risks such as tourniqueting, which can cut off circulation when you cannot feel it. Compression socks can also strip your skin of natural oils, leading to dryness. Healthy individuals without venous disorders or muscle issues should only wear compression socks during the day while active.

However, sleeping in compression socks is not recommended and can lead to potential risks. Wearing the same pair of socks repeatedly can lead to a build-up of bacteria and fungus, which can cause infections like athlete’s foot or infected sores on the legs.

Wearing compression socks during sleep can cause discomfort and interfere with normal circulation and movement of the legs during sleep, potentially impacting sleep quality.

My experience: Kinesiology tapes can be used overnight you even can sleep with your KT tape.

What are the risks of sleeping with compression socks on?

1. Sock Withdrawal Syndrome also known as sock addiction or sock shock

Sock Withdrawal Syndrome is a condition that can occur when individuals become overly reliant on compression socks. The symptoms can include discomfort, pain, tingling, and numbness in the legs. This can lead to a dependence on the socks, and some individuals may experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop wearing them.

Symptoms may include feelings of anxiety or restlessness, discomfort in the legs or feet, or a strong desire to wear the socks again.

2. Socks That Squeeze Too Tightly

Wearing compression socks that are too tight while sleeping can be dangerous and lead to discomfort or even cut off circulation in people with vascular disease. It is critical to choose the correct size and compression level of socks to prevent any negative consequences.

  • Socks that are too loose will not provide any benefits,
  • while socks that are too tight can cause soreness, discomfort, itching, bruising, chafing, and skin irritation.

The best way to ensure a proper fit is to measure your foot and legs carefully and follow a detailed guide on how to find the right size.

3. Foot and Leg Discomfort

Compression therapy can be a great solution to alleviate foot and leg discomfort during the day. However, it is important to remove compression socks before going to bed to avoid potential risks and discomfort.

4. Lack of Blood Circulation

Compression socks are designed to improve blood flow throughout the legs and body by applying pressure at the ankles and calves. However, if worn incorrectly, these socks have the potential to reduce blood circulation in the legs and lead to blood clots, which can be life-threatening.

While compression stockings are recommended for people with certain medical conditions and family histories, it is essential to get the right size, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and continuously check in with your healthcare provider.

Wearing compression socks for prolonged periods while sleeping can lead to negative effects, including

  • reduced blood circulation in the legs, which can result in
  • feeling very tired,
  • having poor concentration and memory,
  • slower skin healing.

5. Risks Associated With Varicose Veins

Sleeping with compression socks on can be risky for individuals with varicose veins. Wearing compression socks for too long can increase blood pressure to swollen areas, exacerbating the condition. It is important to choose the right level of compression for your needs and to ensure that the socks are not too tight, as this can be harmful to circulation. It is recommended to consult with a physician before using compression socks for varicose veins.

Type of Compression SocksPressure (mmHg)
Mild compression socks8-15 mmHg
Medium compression socks15-20 mmHg
Firm compression socks20-30 mmHg
Extra-firm compression socks30-40 mmHg
Prescription-strength compression socks>40 mmHg
different types of compression socks and their pressure

6. Sleep Disturbances

Wearing compression socks while sleeping can cause sleep disturbances due to fluid displacement from the legs to the neck, which can negatively impact sleep quality and overall health. These disturbances can include

  • apneas and hypopneas, which are interruptions in breathing that can lead to snoring, gasping, and waking up frequently throughout the night.
  • Discomfort and pain can occur due to the tightness of the socks, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.

It is recommended to wear compression socks during the daytime to combat these disturbances and prevent fluid accumulation in the neck, rather than wearing them overnight.

7. Blood Clots

Compression socks are often used to prevent the development of blood clots, but wearing them incorrectly can actually increase the risk of blood clot formation. Compression socks create pressure on the legs, which can push fluid up the leg and potentially dislodge a clot.

If the socks are worn too tightly, they can impede blood flow and increase the likelihood of blood clot formation. This can be especially dangerous when sleeping, as the lack of movement can already slow down blood circulation.

According to a study published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery: Venous and Lymphatic Disorders, wearing compression stockings while sleeping can increase the risk of blood clots, particularly in individuals with pre-existing venous insufficiency.


Rabe E, Partsch H, Hafner J, Lattimer C, Mosti G, Neumann M, Urbanek T, Huebner M, Gaillard S, Carpentier P. Indications for medical compression stockings in venous and lymphatic disorders: An evidence-based consensus statement. Phlebology. 2018 Apr;33(3):163-184. doi: 10.1177/0268355516689631. Epub 2017 Feb 22. PMID: 28549402; PMCID: PMC5846867.

8. Increased Risk of Muscle Aches

Wearing compression socks during sleep may increase the risk of muscle aches if the socks are too tight or made with poor quality materials. Compression socks work by compressing the surface arteries and veins through the legs, preventing blood from pooling and promoting smooth blood flow, which can reduce muscle soreness and lactic acid build-up.

However, if the socks are too tight, they can cause

  1. discomfort and soreness
  2. improper fitting or low-quality materials can lead to bruising, chafing,
  3. skin irritation, especially in people with dry skin or compromised skin barriers.

9. Venous Ulcers, thromboembolic disease

Compression socks are an important tool in managing venous disease and preventing thromboembolic disease in the legs. For venous conditions compression socks can help better blood flow and protect areas from being bumped. This combination of benefits helps venous ulcers heal and prevents new ones from developing.

However, it is important to wear compression socks carefully, as inappropriately worn stockings for vein problems may cause significant problems, such as breaking the skin and causing pressure sores.

10. Risk of Compression Stockings Syndrome

Compression Stockings Syndrome also known as compression-induced paresthesia is a condition that can occur when wearing compression socks for an extended period, especially during sleep. It happens when the pressure from the socks causes blood flow to slow down, leading to discomfort, pain, and even tissue damage.

Symptoms of Compression Stockings Syndrome include pain, numbness, tingling, and discoloration of the skin. To prevent this condition, it is essential to wear the right size and strength of compression socks, as well as to ensure they are worn appropriately, without any folds in the fabric. To avoid the risk of Compression Stockings Syndrome, it is generally recommended to remove compression socks before going to bed.

Note that Compression Stockings Syndrome and Sock Withdrawal Syndrome are two different conditions related to the use of compression stockings. Compression Stockings Syndrome is a physical condition that occurs when the stockings are too tight or worn for too long, while Sock Withdrawal Syndrome is a psychological condition that occurs when individuals become dependent on wearing the stockings.

How to choose the right pair of compression socks for sleeping?

When it comes to choosing compression socks for sleeping, it is important to consider both the level of compression and the materials used. Look for

  • high-quality, comfortable materials that work well with your body and activity levels.
  • have separate socks for the day and night, so you can wash a pair while wearing the other.
  • Knee-high, thigh-high, and toeless socks are all available in a variety of styles and colors to support leg health and comfort while you are awake or asleep. You also can choose to sleep with a knee brace on.
  • To find the right size and fit, measure the circumference of your calf and ankle and consult with your physician for medical-grade compression socks.

Types of compression socks and their suggested applications

Type of Compression SocksApplication
Graduated Compression SocksThey are commonly used for people with mild to moderate swelling, varicose veins, or to prevent blood clots.
Anti-Embolism Compression SocksThese socks are designed to help prevent blood clots in people who are bedridden or have limited mobility.
Athletic Compression SocksThese socks are designed to help improve circulation and reduce muscle soreness and fatigue during and after physical activity.
Maternity Compression SocksThese socks are designed for pregnant women who may experience swelling in their legs and feet.
Travel Compression SocksDesigned for people who are sitting for long periods of time, such as during air travel.
Mild Support HoseThey are often used for preventive measures, during long periods of sitting or standing, or during travel.

It’s important to note that the level of compression and application can vary depending on the individual’s needs and medical condition, and it’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider before using compression so

Compression socks and compression bandages difference

FeatureCompression SocksCompression Bandages
ApplicationCan be worn for extended periods of timeUsually applied by a healthcare professional for acute conditions
Compression levelCome in various levels of compressionCan be tailored to provide specific levels of compression
DesignTypically made of breathable, moisture-wicking materialsCan be made of elastic or non-elastic materials, and applied in layers
ConvenienceEasy to put on and take offCan be more difficult to put on and require assistance
CostGenerally less expensive than compression bandagesCan be more expensive, especially if applied by a healthcare professional

What Are the Safety Guidelines for Sleeping with Compression Socks and a Heating Pad?

When it comes to sleeping with a heating pad, it is important to prioritize safety. If you also wear compression socks, keep in mind a few guidelines. Ensure the heating pad has an automatic shut-off feature and is free from damage. Avoid placing the heating pad directly on the compression socks to prevent excess pressure or overheating. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and be careful not to fall asleep while using the heating pad. Prioritizing safety will ensure a comfortable and restful night’s sleep.


What are the benefits of wearing compression socks?

Compression socks and compression sleeves are especially beneficial for individuals who spend a lot of time sitting or standing, athletes, and travelers.

Compression socks and compression garments offer a variety of benefits that can improve overall health and wellbeing. These benefits include

  • reducing fatigue and swelling in the feet and legs,
  • supporting and revitalizing varicose veins,
  • preventing blood clots and deep vein thrombosis,
  • relieving joint pain, aiding in recovery after surgery or physical activity, and enhancing blood flow.

Compression bandages, on the other hand, are usually used for more acute conditions, such as post-surgical swelling, venous ulcers, or severe edema. They are usually made of elastic or non-elastic materials and are often applied in layers to provide the necessary pressure.

How do compression socks improve circulation?

Compression socks work by

  1. applying pressure to the legs,
  2. which reduces the diameter of veins
  3. and increases blood flow.
  4. This helps to efficiently return blood to the heart,
  5. reducing the risk of blood clots
  6. and promoting the circulation of fresh, oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.

Compression socks can also improve lymphatic drainage and reduce swelling, making them a popular choice for people who are on their feet all day or who suffer from chronic venous insufficiency. Compression socks are beneficial in providing good circulation of the feet and legs.

Compression stockings can be helpful for managing symptoms of pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolism is a condition where a blood clot forms in the lungs, which can lead to shortness of breath, chest pain, and other symptoms. Compression socks work by applying pressure to the legs, which can help prevent blood from pooling and clotting.

Compression socks come in a range of compression levels, typically from 15 to 50 mmHg. The compression level is measured in millimeters of mercury, which is also used for measuring blood pressure.

For those new to wearing compression socks or seeking relief from mild symptoms, a compression level of 15-20 mmHg is recommended. This level is also appropriate for those with foot and ankle swelling during air travel or pregnancy.

For more severe symptoms, a compression level of 20-30 mmHg is commonly recommended by physicians and can provide relief from varicose veins, edema, deep vein thrombosis, and recovery from vascular surgery. The pain and discomfort is similar to sleeping after shoulder surgery which can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Compression socks with higher levels of compression should only be worn under medical supervision.

Can I sleep with compression socks on?

While it is technically safe to sleep in compression socks, there are few benefits to doing so and some potential risks. Moderate to firm compression socks can cause inflammation if worn at night, as lying down eliminates the need to fight against gravity. However, if you choose to wear compression socks to sleep, select a pair with low compression, no more than 15mmHg. Compression items with 20 to 30 mmHg pressure should only be worn during the day. There is currently no medical or physiological evidence to support any benefits of wearing compression socks to bed, so it is best to consult a doctor before making any decisions.

Type of Compression SocksPressure (mmHg)Suggested to wear while sleeping?
Mild compression socks8-15 mmHgYes
Medium compression socks15-20 mmHgYes
Firm compression socks20-30 mmHgYes, but check with a healthcare professional first
Extra-firm compression socks30-40 mmHgGenerally not recommended to wear while sleeping
Prescription-strength compression socks>40 mmHgGenerally not recommended to wear while sleeping
different types of compression socks and their pressure

Where does fluid go when you wear compression socks?

The areas of strongest compression are at the foot and ankle, gradually decreasing as it moves up the leg. The compression construction helps support good blood flow, preventing fluid build-up in the lower limbs.

The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and nodes that help to remove excess fluid and waste products from the body. When there is excess fluid in the legs, such as in cases of lymphedema or venous insufficiency, the pressure from the compression socks can help to push this fluid back into the lymphatic vessels and facilitate its movement through the lymphatic system.


By lezt

Lez Taylor, Founder and CEO of Corala Blanket. She tried every sleep system and trick to conquer her insomnia for good.