Sleep is the same for all people in all places. However, some individuals have different sleeping habits or behaviors than others. One common habit is sleeping with shoes on.
Is it okay to sleep with your shoes on? If it happens once or twice, it shouldn’t be a cause of concern. But, if it becomes a habit, then you might want to stop doing it. This is because sleeping while wearing your shoes not only stains your bed sheets but is also unhealthy for your feet.
Perhaps, at first, it was a convenience after a long day at work and then eventually became a routine. Whatever your reason may be, this detailed post will give you a good explanation as to why you should quit this habit before it’s too late.
Why You Shouldn’t Sleep With Shoes
It is very easy for laziness to take over us. So, whenever we do something convenient or easy, we tend to keep doing it, even if it does us harm. Here are some negative reasons for sleeping with shoes on.
1. Hundreds of Thousands of Bacteria Can Be Found in Shoes
In some cultures and countries, it’s outrageous to walk into the house with shoes on. This is due to the amount of dirt you can bring into the house. People might not think much about it, but our shoes can also contain harmful, disease-causing bacteria that could be dangerous to health.
In fact, a particular study revealed that about 421 thousand bacteria were found on the outside of shoes. Imagine transferring this amount of bacteria on your bed! Just because you do not see mud on your shoes does not mean they’re clean.
The bottom of your shoes is the primary thing that separates your feet from the ground and who knows how much dirt, mud, animal poop, and germs you step on each day. I’m sure that if people knew how much invisible filth they had, they would think twice about sleeping with them on. A great solution to reduce the temptation of keeping them on would be to have a shoe rack or doormat to easily put away your shoes after coming home.
2. It Is Unhealthy and Unhygienic
Aside from the harmful bacteria that could get on your bed, you also have to keep in mind that the skin on your feet needs to breathe to stay healthy. Leaving them uncovered overnight often can increase their likelihood of having fungal infections, such as Athlete’s foot.
The Athlete’s foot often begins between the toes, and it usually occurs when the feet have become so sweaty. It requires a moist and warm environment, so the inside of a shoe is the perfect place to grow. Keeping your feet dry and taking your shoes off before bed is a significant step to avoid having this type of fungal infection.
Not wearing shoes during sleep is important in helping your feet get airflow. They need air to repair, and the sweat and odor can cause many painful diseases that could be avoided when you leave your shoes where they should be while you rest.
3. It Can Be Uncomfortable and Painful
Sometimes, there really is no scientific reason why you should avoid sleeping with shoes on other than discomfort. If you feel abnormally warm or hot and uncomfortable at night, or experience some foot pain the next morning, then the culprit might be your shoes.
Some kinds of pain are just hard to avoid, but foot pain is largely preventable, especially if you don’t allow yourself to sleep while wearing shoes. The soreness can be because of the type of shoes you’re wearing, or they may be too loose or too tight. They may also feel comfortable at first and when walking with them, but the case would be different if you sleep with them on. Besides, regardless of the type of shoes you have, wearing them for long periods is never advisable.
What Are the Best Alternatives to Shoes?
No one really sleeps with their shoes on just because it is stylish. Maybe you’ve seen your friends or some celebrities post pictures of them in bed. But, remember, neither your stiletto heels nor sneakers could be a complement to your sleep.
Commonly, some might have done it because they didn’t have the strength to take them off and just crashed into bed. They probably had a long day at work, and the last thing they want is to deal with their footwear. Others, on the other hand, wear shoes in bed because their cold feet prevent them from having a good sleep.
Indeed, your cold feet could be the reason for your restless nights. Having extremely cold feet constricts the blood vessels, causing slow blood circulation. This is why it’s vital to warm your feet before going to bed. It can also help the brain have a clear signal that it is bedtime.
However, wearing shoes in bed is not the best solution to having a comfortable sleep in cold temperatures. The excellent news is that there are plenty of alternatives you can try to have a clean, dirt-free, and restful sleep.
Alternatives to Shoes
- Thermal Socks – If you are one of those who get extremely cold feet at night, wearing shoes is not always the best answer. Instead, wear high-quality thermal socks like the Feet Warmer Insulated Thermal Socks (view on Amazon). It’s the simplest and most convenient way to warm your feet. It is also safe and helpful for cooling your core body temperature throughout the night.
In addition to keeping your feet comfortable and warm, it’s lightweight and designed for everyday activities. Dry your feet thoroughly before putting on socks after showering, though. This will prevent any bacteria build-up that could lead to fungal infections.
- Rice Socks – A foot bath or hot bath may not be enough for extreme cold weather, so if you want to have a heat source that lasts long in your bed, try rice socks instead. Making your own rice socks is simple and easy. All you need to prepare are your sturdy old socks, rubber bands, and rice. Just make sure you don’t have too much skin sensitivity to prevent you from getting a burn. You must also not heat the rice socks in the oven because this can be a fire hazard.
- Foot Warmer – In case you are looking for a safer alternative to rice socks and avoid the unpleasant downside of wearing your shoes in bed to keep your body warm, then a foot warmer can be your best alternative. You can use an Electric Foot Warmer (view on Amazon), a popular item on Amazon, which you can easily use not only in bed but also under your desk at work. It is child and elderly-friendly and can warm your feet and toes up to five hours. Made of comfortable and soft fabric, it can certainly help you have a good night’s sleep.
It is not these items themselves that bring tremendous sleep benefits but the effects they have on the body. Warming the feet before bed helps regulate body temperature and prepares us for sleep. While cold feet can actually drain the body, the warmth from these items can help with blood circulation, thus promoting the situation to slow down our mind and rest for the day.
If none of these items attract you, there are also some easy practices you can follow. These may seem very easy, but they can play an important role in helping you have a healthy sleep.
- Bathe or shower in warm water before going to sleep. When the body temperature lowers, this will signal the brain that it’s time for sleep.
- Place extra sheets, pillows, or blankets at the foot of your bed.
- Wear good, insulated slippers as part of your routine an hour before bed.
Conclusion – Is It Okay to Sleep with Your Shoes On?
On average, adults need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night to rejuvenate and be ready to work the next day. Insufficient sleep can affect not only your physical well-being, but also impact mood, memory, and concentration. If you consistently lack sleep, it can negatively affect your overall quality of life.
However, sleep is much more complex than just lying in bed and entering the unique realm of dreams. Many factors affect our sleep quality; fortunately, most of them are not beyond our control.
We all know that comfort is an important aspect of falling asleep, and some prefer to wear shoes in bed as it helps them sleep better and feel comfortable. Nevertheless, this is not a good practice, and the drawbacks outweigh the benefits. Therefore, finding a good alternative is essential so you can sleep well without putting your health at risk due to a dirty pair of shoes. Investing in high-quality socks or foot warmer and making your own rice socks can regulate temperature while allowing your feet to breathe.