Why should feet be covered at night?

There are several important reasons why it is recommended to cover your feet at night while sleeping. Uncovered feet can lead to a variety of issues from feeling cold and uncomfortable, reduced sleep quality, and even potential health problems. Understanding the benefits of keeping your feet covered can help ensure you get a better night’s sleep.

Why is it important to keep feet covered?

Here are some of the top reasons why experts recommend keeping your feet covered while sleeping:

Regulates body temperature

Our feet play an important role in regulating body temperature. When feet are left uncovered, more body heat can escape leading to feeling cold. This can disrupt sleep and overall comfort levels. Covering the feet helps retain more body heat and regulate temperature.

Prevents overcooling

Along with regulating body temperature, covered feet prevent overcooling during sleep. The blood vessels in the feet will dilate as body temperature drops. Uncovered feet will therefore release more heat, causing the body to get colder.

Improves circulation

The muscles in the feet need proper circulation of blood to receive oxygen and nutrients. Sleeping with uncovered feet can restrict blood flow leading to poor circulation. Properly covering the feet encourages better blood flow.

Reduces stress on feet

Leaving feet uncovered can place extra stress on the feet while sleeping. Covering them provides comfort and reduces pressure put on the heels, toes, arches and soles as you sleep. This helps prevent next-day foot pain.

Prevents fungus/infections

Exposed feet are more prone to developing athlete’s foot and other fungal infections. The moist environment of uncovered feet in bed can allow fungi and bacteria to thrive. Covering the feet promotes dryer, healthier feet.

May improve sleep quality

For all the reasons above, covered feet can lead to higher quality sleep. Regulated body temperature, improved circulation and reduced foot stress can help you sleep more soundly through the night without disruptions.

What are the best materials to cover feet with?

If you want to enjoy the benefits of covered feet when sleeping, certain materials work better than others:


Wearing clean, breathable socks to bed is an easy way to cover the feet. Cotton or wool socks allow ventilation while also retaining heat. Make sure socks aren’t overly tight.


Wearing pajama pants helps keep feet bundled at night. Choose loose-fitting pants made of cotton, flannel or other breathable fabrics.


An extra blanket either tucked around or folded at the foot of the bed can provide direct insulation for the feet when needed. Go for natural materials like wool or cotton.


Some people prefer wearing slippers to bed to keep their feet warm and cushioned. Choose slippers that are roomy rather than restrictive.

Sleep socks

Specialized sleep socks are designed to keep feet warm at night without overheating. Features like moisture-wicking fabrics and ventilation panels regulate temperature.

What temperatures call for covered feet?

Experts advise keeping your feet covered in bed when ambient temperatures drop below 70°F. Additional factors like humidity, flooring material and circulation can also affect how easily feet get cold. People with poor circulation may need covered feet at higher temps. General recommendations include:

Above 75°F

Most people can sleep comfortably with uncovered feet when temps are 75°F and up. A thin sheet may be adequate.


Light coverings like socks or a light blanket would help retain heat in this temperature range.


Colder feet are likely without proper coverings. Wear socks and use a duvet or additional blanket to insulate feet.

Below 55°F

Feet will likely feel icy without ample insulation. Wool socks, slippers and thick bedding provide best protection.

Should feet be uncovered at any times?

While covering feet is recommended for cold temperatures, there are some instances where uncovered feet may be preferred:

Very warm nights

On hot summer nights, uncovered feet can help prevent overheating and sweating. Circulating air around bare feet provides cooling relief.

When elevated

If you sleep with feet propped on pillows or elevated above heart level, cooling benefits may outweigh warming covered feet.

With light blankets

Sleeping with a light sheet may suffice if you maintain a comfortably warm core and feet temperature.

Morning regulation

Some kick covers off feet later in the morning to help lower body temperature after several hours of sleep.

What problems can uncovered feet cause?

Sleeping with bare feet exposes you to potential issues including:

Cold feet

Feet can get painfully cold when sleeping uncovered in chilly environments. This disrupts sleep as blood vessels in feet constrict.


Prolonged exposure to cold can lead to chilblains, a condition where itchy, inflamed patches develop on the skin. Feet are prone to chilblains without proper warmth.

Fungal infections

Athlete’s foot and toenail fungus thrive in the warm, moist environment of uncovered feet in bed.

Dry, cracked skin

Heels, soles and toes can easily become dry and cracked without proper moisture and protection at night.


Unpadded feet laying directly on a mattress can put pressure on nerves, leading toes or feet to feel numb.

Reduced circulation

As mentioned, uncovered feet lead to more constricted blood vessels and inadequate circulation while you sleep.

Tips for keeping feet covered

Here are some useful tips for making sure your feet stay covered all night:

– Invest in comfortable, breathable sleep socks to wear. Look for moisture-wicking materials.

– Use an additional blanket just for your feet area if needed. A folded throw or duvet works well.

– Try a high-quality fitted sheet to tuck in feet securely without restrictive pressure.

– Spray feet lightly with antiperspirant before bed to discourage sweating in socks.

– Wear loose-fitting pajama pants over feet or tuck pants into socks.

– Check that feet are covered before dozing off and when half-asleep if waking at night.

– Place a hot water bottle at feet if they persistently feel cold with covers on.

How to transition to covered feet

If you are used to uncovered feet, it may feel odd at first sleeping with socks and blankets. Here are tips for an easier transition:

– Start by wearing just socks to get used to the feeling before adding bedding.

– Use lightweight breathable covers at first to avoid sudden overheating.

– Uncover feet for a bit if waking overheated until you adapt to the change.

– Wear socks and progressively thicker bedding over a few weeks for a gradual adjustment.

– Share your plan with a partner so they understand if you overheat initially.

– Remind yourself of the benefits like better circulation each night.

– Be patient with yourself as regulating temperature takes some time to adapt.

Which contributes more to warm feet: Socks or blankets?

Both socks and blankets play an important role in keeping feet warm at night. However, they offer distinct advantages:


– Fit snugly, eliminating air pockets that lose heat

– Made of insulating fabrics that hold in warmth

– Moisture-wicking materials keep feet dry

– Provide cushioning and reduce pressure points


– Offer additional insulating layer for feet

– Prevent cool air from reaching feet

– Can be adjusted as needed for temperature regulation

– Provide warmth for entire legs and core

Overall, socks seem to provide slightly better thermal regulation and direct foot insulation. But blankets are necessary for protecting the feet from chilling air exposure. Using both together delivers the greatest warming and comfort benefits for the feet.

Covering feet if you sleep hot

If you already tend to sleep hot or sweat excessively at night, keeping feet covered may seem counterproductive. Try these useful tips:

– Choose lightweight, breathable covers like cotton socks and sheets.

– Uncover feet for a period if waking overheated.

– Look for moisture-wicking socks to discourage sweat.

– Use a fan or open window to promote air circulation.

– Freeze a water bottle to roll under feet if they become too warm.

– Keep the thermostat slightly cooler an hour before bedtime.

– Limit bedding layers and use lightweight materials.

– Avoid insulating slippers and sweatpants that may overheat feet.

– Keep feet elevated on a pillow which can have a cooling effect.

Should children’s feet be covered?

Properly covered feet are just as important for children as they sleep. Kids’ feet are prone to getting cold given their circulatory systems are still developing. Follow these tips for keeping kids’ feet warm all night:

– Have your child pick out fun socks or slippers to get them excited to wear them.

– Use kids’ bedding with ample length to tuck in feet.

– Add an extra blanket or quilt folded at the foot of bed.

– If they kick off covers, gently re-cover later at bedtime.

– Dress kids in footed pajamas on very cold nights.

– Let children keep a stuffed animal by their feet for comfort and warmth.

– Use bedtime stories involving covered feet to highlight the idea.

– Lead by example by keeping your own feet bundled at night.

How foot warming benefits sleep partners

Covering your feet at night doesn’t just help your own sleep; it also benefits your sleeping partner:

– Prevents you from pulling all the shared covers to your cold feet

– Stops you from accidentally cooling their feet with your icy toes

– Reduces disruptive tossing, turning and shivering from cold feet

– Minimizes relationship frustration over thermostat disputes

– Allows you both to sleep better without frequent midnight wakeups

– Eliminates need to fight over who gets more of the blankets

– Lets you synchronously enjoy the ideal sleep temperature

By properly insulating your own feet first, you can both enjoy a sound night’s sleep comfortably.


While sleeping with bare feet may feel nice on hot summer nights, in chillier conditions uncovered feet can lead to disrupted sleep and health issues. Following the simple practice of bundling feet in socks, blankets or other bedding provides better temperature regulation, circulation and overall sleep quality. Adopting the habit of covered feet takes some adjustment but pays off with more restful nights for you and your sleep partner. Just be sure to allow ventilation if feet overheat. With a little planning, you can keep your feet cozy and say goodbye to icy toes!

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