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Sleeping in Compression Socks: Healthy or Harmful?

High-Knee Compression Stockings

Compression socks or stockings are medical underwear made of elastic knitwear, which has a compressive effect on the legs. They are hypoallergenic, breathable, seamless, and look like most ordinary stockings. Compression stockings exert distributive pressure on the lower extremities. They contribute to a more active outflow of blood from the legs to the heart, which reduces the likelihood of stagnation of blood and the occurrence of swelling. Only a specialist can determine the degree of compression required by the patient and under what circumstances you can sleep in the compression socks.

Since the main characteristic of varicose veins is a restriction of blood flow, the main goal of therapy is to regulate blood circulation and strengthen the walls of blood vessels. To prevent the progression of the pathology and restore the veins, doctors prescribe to patients not only medication but also the use of special compression underwear. As research has shown, special compression socks with regular wear help treat varicose veins and can be used for preventive purposes.

Why Wear Compression Socks?

Phlebology is the branch of medicine related to veins, and the study of veins has shown how effective compression socks are at treating varicose veins. While wearing compression socks with varicose veins (and other types of products), the tissue areas affected by varicose veins are squeezed, resulting in increased blood circulation in the deep veins. The regular wearing of compression stockings eliminates stagnation.

What Are Compression Socks for? 

Compression socks are used for the regulation of the venous valve system. Compression socks or stockings help in restoring the structure of deformed vessels. Blood flow during physical exertion will increase, which will contribute to its movement in the upper body. 

The use of compression hosiery has many positive effects and helps to normalize blood flow. However, in many cases, it will not help to get rid of varicose veins completely. Those struggling with varicose veins may also have to undergo a course of drug therapy.

Why Is Sleeping in Compression Socks Harmful?

If you use compression socks to prevent varicose veins and wear them during everyday life, you need to remove the socks at night. Moreover, even if you are already using them for the treatment of venous diseases, doctors recommend removing compression knitwear at night.

Reasons Why Sleeping in Compression Socks Is Not Advisable

Woman wearing Compression socks

Your skin needs rest too

Even though modern technologies have created compression hosiery that is breathable, removes moisture, and has antibacterial properties, it is crucial to allow the skin of the legs to breathe and rest from the compression hosiery. 

Legs do not get tired at night

In the horizontal position, the outflow of blood from the veins in the lower extremities is much better than in the standing or sitting posture. Therefore, you can comfortably sleep without compression socks because, while asleep, the load on your veins is reduced.

Compression socks also have to relax

At night, your compression stockings should also relax a bit. Further, they will need time to dry after washing. After all, daily washing is the key to preserving the compression properties of this medical product.

When Is It Necessary to Sleep in Compression Socks at Night?

First of all, nighttime use of compression socks is necessary for tropic disorders, especially when they appear in the form of ulcers. There are special products (Mediven ulcer kit) for the treatment of such diseases, and these products are intended for use 24 hours a day. This specific compression hosiery was created using exclusive technologies that allow for moderate resting pressure, which is well tolerated by patients at night.

Moreover, the specific schedule for the use of such a product should be agreed with by the attending physician. It will depend on the characteristics of the patient, treatment regimen, duration of the disease, and its severity.

Black Compression Stockings

Compression socks of 20-30mmHG can be used at night (usually no more than three days) in the case of various operations, including operations on the veins of the lower extremities (phlebectomy, phlebosclerosis, surgery for large safe veins – v. saphena magna). In such cases, it is imperative to maintain pressure on the walls of the veins in the first days after surgery. Only your doctor can determine the specific period for round-the-clock use of compression hosiery.

Thus, in most cases, it is recommended to remove compression socks at night. In some cases and specific operations, compression socks can and should even be used at night, but always in consultation with the doctor.

Features of Compression Socks and Stockings

What role does healing knitwear play in male and female veins? The main signs of varicose veins:

  • The expansion of the vascular walls of the veins
  • Violation of venous blood flow
  • Swelling and pain in the legs

All these signs increase the risk of thrombosis, thrombophlebitis. Medical compression socks can help the venous system of the lower extremities and protect it from the manifestations of these formidable signs of varicose veins. Compression socks distribute pressure on the walls of the veins, protecting them from stretching. The low pressure is in the upper part of the product; the highest is in the ankle. This increases the ability of the veins to pump blood against the law of gravity upward to the heart. Wearing male and female compression products restores blood flow in the veins, and reduces swelling, the feeling of heaviness, and pain in the legs. Compression products are recognized by modern medicine as the primary means of preventing or treating male and female varicose veins.

Why Should You Not Sleep in Compression Socks?

Compression socks for sleeping

There is no need to sleep in compression socks. In a horizontal position, the blood does not stagnate in the legs. The expansion of the veins becomes less pronounced, and the patient’s well-being improves. However, after operations, the doctor may recommend the patient to be in compression socks around the clock. In such situations, it is worth following the doctor’s prescriptions. For hygienic reasons, it is advisable to change daytime socks or knee-high socks to a different pair each night before going to bed.

How Can the Service Life of Compression Socks Be Extended?

Compression socks have a specific service life; on average, it is six months. After this time, anti-varicose socks lose their elasticity and healing properties. If you do not follow the instructions, the product may lose its original characteristics even earlier. To prevent this from happening, you must: 

  • Care for the socks as described in the instructions: daily wash in warm water with a slightly alkaline detergent, squeeze slightly but do not twist, and hang to dry. 
  • Do not put socks in the dryer.
  • Do not wash in the washing machine.
  • Never iron compression socks.
  • Do not bleach.

Varicose veins affect people, regardless of age and gender. This is a pathology that is accompanied by deformation of veins, the appearance of edema, and pain in legs. Veins seem to protrude on the surface of the skin. It takes time to develop the disease. Therefore, timely prevention and treatment initiated can prevent undesirable consequences.

Compression socks are beneficial in the early stages of varicose veins. They can improve the condition of the patient. For the right product selection, you should know what types of compression hosiery exist and how they differ from each other. Before purchasing such an item, you should visit a phlebologist and discuss the implications of compression socks. The doctor will tell you which version of the product is the most optimal, taking into account all the individual characteristics of your body.

Conclusion

Sleeping in compression socks is harmful unless your doctor suggests doing so under certain circumstances.