People with diabetes need to be very careful about their blood sugar levels, but they also need to take extra care of their feet and toes.
This is because diabetics can often lose feeling in their feet, making it easy to become injured without even noticing.
This can lead to infection if the injury isn’t noticed, so diabetics must pay particular attention to their feet and the socks they choose.
One of the most common questions is, “Should diabetics wear socks to bed?” We’ll look at the benefits of sleeping with socks for diabetics and how to choose a pair of socks that’s right for you.
Should Diabetics Sleep With Socks?
Diabetics should sleep with socks to keep their feet safe, warm, and pain-free. However, you should be careful what socks you wear, as not all socks will be suitable.
You should also avoid wearing compression socks at night unless your doctor has specifically prescribed them.
Benefits of Sleeping With Socks
There are multiple benefits to sleeping with socks on when you’re diabetic. Here’s why you may want to consider it.
Keeps Body Temperature Stable
Wearing socks while you sleep can help to keep your feet warm. Your core body temperature drops while you’re sleeping, which means your extremities can become very cold.
Socks can help keep the warmth in, making your feet feel warmer, and making it easier to fall asleep and stay comfortable throughout the night.
Prevents Dry Skin
Foot care is important for diabetics, and you should be putting cream on your feet every night to keep them moisturized. Wearing socks can help to prevent the skin from drying out.
If your skin dries out, you may be susceptible to cracks in your heels or the padding beneath the ball of your foot.
Diabetics can often not feel cuts and cracks in their feet, which means it’s easy for dry skin to worsen and cause deeper fissures that can easily become infected.
When your body temperature drops at night and your feet become cold, it can affect your circulation. This is because the body draws warm blood to the core to support the organs.
If you aren’t wearing socks, this can lead to cold feet and increased pain due to impaired circulation.
However, when you wear socks, the warmth stays in, and circulation is maintained. This helps to reduce pain, which can flare up at night.
What Are Diabetic Socks?
Diabetic socks are special socks that have been carefully designed to cater to individuals with diabetes and its side effects.
They’re specifically made to keep your feet dry, prevent rubbing, and improve circulation.
What to Look For in Diabetic Socks for Sleeping
You should choose light-colored socks to see if there’s a hint of blood or fluid on them when you take them off. This will help you to prevent missing foot injuries that could become infected.
You should consider the following factors when you’re looking for socks for diabetics to wear to bed:
The fit is surprisingly important for diabetic socks. They should fit like a glove with no extra material that could fold or bunch up, causing a hot spot that may lead to injury.
The socks should also have stretchy cuffs that make them easy to get on and off and don’t affect your circulation.
Seams can cause hotspots that may lead to foot injuries like blisters or abrasions. If these go unnoticed, they may develop into ulcerations.
Diabetic socks are made with a seamless toe. Without realizing it, you don’t have to worry about your toes becoming blistered.
Less friction also means your circulation should be better throughout your toes and feet.
Rough fabric could cause abrasion and discomfort, so choose soft and comfortable socks.
Some diabetic socks are made of fabric like bamboo or Merino wool, which are antimicrobial and very soft to the touch, unlikely to cause chafing.
You should also choose a sock with extra padding in the heel and forefoot for light shock absorption and protection.
Moisture creates the ideal environment for bacteria to thrive, leading to blisters, foot conditions, and bad odors.
Diabetic socks should be moisture-wicking to pull sweat away from the skin and help it evaporate.
You should avoid cotton socks, as they often hold onto moisture instead of allowing it to escape.
The socks you choose should also have antimicrobial properties, which will help to reduce the chance of developing a fungal infection.
Breathable material will help to let air in, cooling the feet down and facilitating the escape of hot air and moisture.
This helps to keep your feet dry and safe and reduces the chance of odor-causing bacteria developing and potentially causing infection.
Diabetics are prone to diabetic neuropathy, which can manifest in strange symptoms, one of which is feeling cold.
To protect your feet and stay as warm as possible, you should choose socks that are thick and help to regulate body temperature.
Although this won’t necessarily prevent strange sensations due to peripheral neuropathy, it will help to improve circulation, reducing the chances of pain and discomfort.
Square Toe Box
The socks you choose should not be too narrow in the toes. Diabetic socks tend to have square toe boxes to allow the toes to splay naturally, reducing friction and avoiding a tight-knit environment in which bacteria breeds.
Socks with a tight toe box can compress the toes, leading to friction, blisters, and moisture build-up.
Can A Diabetic Wear Normal Socks to Bed?
You can wear normal socks—those not specifically designed for diabetics—as long as they have the above-mentioned features.
If you can’t find a pair of diabetic socks—or want a more affordable and accessible pair of socks—you can buy a pair of normal socks as long as they’re soft, seamless, have a wide toe box, fit properly, wick away moisture, and allow for great ventilation.
Like diabetic socks, the normal socks you choose should be light in color. However, if you have the means to buy proper diabetic socks, we highly recommend them, as they’re specifically designed to cater to sensitive diabetic feet.
Can You Sleep With Compression Socks On?
Compression socks are designed to place light but noticeable pressure on your feet and lower legs. This usually helps to stimulate circulation, reduce muscle pain and stiffness, and keep the feet warm.
However, diabetics shouldn’t wear compression socks unless instructed by a doctor.
This is because diabetics are more at risk of developing peripheral artery disease—PAD. This causes the leg arteries to narrow, affecting circulation and amplifying the effects of peripheral neuropathy.
With this in mind, diabetics should avoid wearing compression socks as they may impair circulation even further.
It’s worth noting that some diabetic socks offer mild compression. But you should check with your doctor first and avoid wearing regular compression socks that are not designed for diabetics.
You can usually wear compression socks for short periods during the day to relieve symptoms of neuropathy.
Why Is Sleep Important for Diabetics?
Sleep is important for everybody, but diabetics, in particular, have improved health and more stable blood sugar levels when they’re well-rested.
Being sleep-deprived—even just an hour each night—often leads to bad eating and exercise habits, which leads to weight gain. Obesity and excess weight can be dangerous for diabetics and lead to complications.
Chronic sleep deprivation can also result in insulin resistance, which can cause chronic high blood sugar levels.
When you’re well-rested, it’s much easier to control your blood sugar levels and manage your diet and exercise.