Can I Sleep In Compression Socks Or Sleeves?

Compression socks and compression sleeves are amazing tools for recovery after an intense run, cycle, yoga session, or whatever your favorite workout is. Compression keeps your blood pumping to recovering muscle groups and clears away the lactic acid that causes soreness. But, NOT all compression socks and sleeves are designed for recovery, resting or sleeping. Let me explain...

First, let’s focus on compression sleeves. Compression leg sleeves or calf sleeves are similar to socks, but without the foot portion.  They come in a variety of compression levels. Mild compression leg sleeves provide 15-20 mmHg compression and are great for wearing before you run, during your run and after. This mild compression level helps to speed up muscle recovery so your legs don't hurt after a long run or gym workout. Moderate level compression sleeves that provide 20-30 mmHg compression should only be worn DURING your work out to boost performance and protect against injury like shin splints. The stronger level of compression is amazing for enhancing your performance, but it can actually cause foot swelling if you continue to wear it after your work out. The extra tight compression at your ankle can become a tourniquet, blocking blood flow from your ankle to your foot.  Bottom line: be careful to check your sleeve’s compression level before you use it for recovery.  These Core-Sport sleeves are perfect for recovery.

So, now you might ask – what about the moderate compression SOCKS you sell? Does compression level matter for those? Well, you CAN wear mild and moderate compression socks before, during and after your work out. Because socks have the foot portion attached, there’s no risk of foot swelling or cutting off circulation. Wear those bad boys all day long if you want.

Now - the most important question of all - can you sleep in your compression socks or sleeves? The answer is - No, not if you are a generally healthy person.  I know I’ve heard runners and athletes swear by sleeping in their compression socks before and after a big race day, but really it’s not safe.  Graduated compression is meant to be worn when you’re awake and moving around. It’s providing a constant amount of pressure to your circulatory system to fight gravity and pump that blood back to your heart. When you’re lying down, fully horizontal for a long period of time, your circulatory system doesn’t have to fight gravity. That pressure applied to your ankle and calf during the night can cut your circulation off. Now, some people do need to wear compression socks at night because of health issues or post-surgery. Even in these instances, you should only be wearing the lowest compression available (below 15 mmhg).  Do not wear your athletic compression socks and sleeves to bed – the compression level is too high.

If you have any questions, please let me know!

Brita on Google+

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gerald robinson - May 26, 2020

I wear 15 to 20 compression stockings during the day but at night when I take them off my legs hurt. Is it ok to switch to 8 to 12 compression all night

Stephanie - March 30, 2020

Hi Roberta – We would recommend trying a wrap, but also speaking with your doctor about your concerns. This wrap from Solaris is designed for sleeping:

ROberta aHmed - March 30, 2020

Cardiologist said wear 15/20 knee hi s for very swollen legs. Been severely injured 20 years ago left knee deranged inward no cartiledge. They feel great but in bed can only sleep 4 hours due to extreme pain much worse since wearing compression .i do wake up with normal looking legs instead of stuffed sausages! What should I do?

Stephanie - February 24, 2020

Hi Caz, you might want to try a compression wrap. They are often prescribed for leg ulcers and they are safe to sleep in. I am not a medical professional so it is recommended that you consult your doctor before starting any new course of action.

Caz - February 24, 2020

hi, i have varicose veins and bad circulation on my left leg, i had dvts in the past and last year my left ankle kept swelling up, my doctor told me to wear a compression sock every day 25mmhg….ive recently developed a venous leg ulcer on my left ankle, very painful ,,,ive just been instructed to up my compression to they have given me a 10mmhg liner to wear under my higher compression sock as the ulcer is not healing …when i take the socks off at night im ok in bed for a few hours but about 2 or 3 am i am waking up in severe pain! its awful..i wondered if i can still wear the 10mmhg liner just for bed…i thought it may help? ive also just purchased a leg raiser pillow…waiting for it to come…hoping that will help.

Laura - January 14, 2020

Gerald Robinson, please follow up with your doctor. If you recently had trama it puts you at a higher risk for blood clots, even more so if you are also on bed rest or less mobile than normal. Blood clots can also cause swelling that might be missed if your legs already have a reason to be swollen.

I’m a nobody. Not a doctor but I DID have blood clots myself and it was excruciating to try walking without my legs being wrapped. I would wrap my leg and could get up moving around again. It was like night and day.

Best of luck to you and hope you are feeling better soon.

John - January 14, 2020

Received toeless-thigh Coviden “TED” thus morning for L3-L4 surgery and if they have anything to do with my fewer complaints (and there aren’t many)…two thumbs up.
I’m wondering if they may work at night (over-night ?) for my very bothersome Restless Leg Syndrome.

Annie - January 14, 2020

L have bad leg pain at night when I sleep can I wear compression socks to bed

Beverly Dobi - January 3, 2020

I have been experiencing severe calf muscle cramping (charley horse) while sleeping at night. This has been happening in both legs. Is it okay to wear compression socks to bed for leg cramping? I’m afraid to turn during the night and stretch my legs.

Brita - December 1, 2019

Hi Gerald – I would recommend trying a light compression wrap to wear at night instead of the stockings. It applies a safe amount of compression at nighttime. This is a great option:

gerald robinson - December 1, 2019

I have swollen legs from a high fall, and wear compression stockings with no problem during the day but at night my 15 to20 hurt . If I take them off at night the pain is severe , what should I do?

David - November 12, 2019

I wear compression socks during the day but not to bed. My feet have a tendency to feel as if the blood is pooling and they get sore in bed. Should I wear the socks in bed?

Mark - November 7, 2019

Stacia make sure to keep your legs warm at night . Cold can cause cramping.

Sandie - October 31, 2019

I have Diabetes II
I have dad what look to be fluid retention or edema around my Right Ankle X’s 10 days. Sudden onset w/o injury and this is my first episode. I have Neuropathy for several years.
What’s up?

lisa - October 20, 2019

compression socks also help in diabetic problems.

Bill - October 20, 2019

Just had leg surgery to clear blocked artery. Dr said to wear compression socks but no mention of how long.

Brita - October 20, 2019

Hi Stacia – This is definitely something to speak with your doctor about before experimenting.

Brita - October 8, 2019

Hi Michael – you should definitely speak with your medical professional, but there are 20-30 mmHg compression wraps that are safe to wear at night time. See:

Stacia Moore - October 8, 2019

I have diabetes and had a stroke. I have very bad night leg cramps. Can I wear compression socks at night. I don’t suffer with cramps during the day

MICHAEL DAWSON - October 8, 2019

I wear 20 30 socks for lymphedema I have to sleep with my chest elevated would it still be bad to wear them while sleeping

Brita - September 20, 2019

Hi Jules – You need to speak with your doctor ASAP. As we said in this blog post, most traditional compression garments should NOT be worn at night time and it sounds like the garments you have are cutting off your circulation at night. I believe that traditionally 20-30 mmHg is what is recommended for sclerotherapy, so you may be in a compression that is too strong. Again, most physicians would not recommend you wear these at night – you should be wearing a wrap or some other garment that provides dynamic compression.

Jules - September 20, 2019

I’ve been instructed to wear Grade 2 – 30-40 mm compression stockings for 2 weeks after sclerotherapy. They’re foot to groin, both legs and tight as. I’m struggling to comply because of the level of discomfort. I’m also losing feeling in my legs to the point I can’t walk properly. This happens after I’ve been sitting down and also lying in bed at night. I’ts affecting my sleep. The only relief is to get up and force myself to walk and then feeling returns and I feel better.
I reckon they’re the wrong size for me. I’ve got tiny ankles which indicated ‘small’ on the nurses fitting guide but my foot bones and knee bones are not small at all.
I woke up last night at 3am and was poised with a pair of scissors ready to cut them off, but then remembered the advice that I must wear these 24/7 for 2 weeks or I may not get a good result and the procedure cost thousands.
Can any harm come from losing feeling in your legs?

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