Is it smart to wear calf compression sleeves while you sleep? The answer depends.
I followed this question to a thread on www.veindirectory.org where a young, pregnant lady asked if she could wear them to bed. These were the responses by 20 doctors:
The responses fall under four categories: yes, no, depends, and talk to your doctor. Applying common sense would mean that the best two options are to talk to your doctor and it depends.
One thing that was mentioned by several doctors is that it is generally considered safe to wear calf compression sleeves to bed. But let’s go one step further and discuss what the point of wearing them is.
The sleeves are used to apply constant pressure to your circulatory system to aid in the return of deoxygenated blood to the heart and lungs. It’s assisting you through fighting gravity.
The times when your legs are fighting gravity the hardest is when you’re on them. If you’re sitting or lying down, then chances are your legs aren’t having to work nearly as hard to get the blood back to your heart. By propping them up and relaxing, you automatically increase the blood flow going back to your heart and lungs.
By this logic, you wouldn’t need to compress them overnight (unless you’re doctor prescribed it) because your body isn’t having to work nearly as hard to provide continuous blood flow.
Especially if you are considered a generally healthy person, it might be best to relax them through propping and letting the body do its job of saturating the muscles of oxygen, removing lactic acid buildup, and getting deoxygenated blood back to the lungs and heart.
Calf compression sleeves also aid in stabilizing the calf muscles and minimizing muscle vibrations during walking, running, and standing. These vibrations cause muscle fatigue and shin splints. The sleeves help you work and run longer while minimizing the recovery time needed in between shifts or workouts.
One scenario where it might be more appropriate to wear them overnight includes being on your feet 8+ hours of the day and coming home late from work. Another scenario where wearing calf compression sleeves might be appropriate would be after a grueling training session that late that night before bed. In these two instances, it would be much more acceptable to wear a sleeve during sleep.
What kind of sleeves are appropriate for bed?
Calf compression sleeves are measured by the amount of pressure they apply to the calf. The categories include:
- Light: 8-15mmHg
- Mild: 15-20mmHg
- Moderate: 20-30mmHg
- High: 30-40+mmHg
The three accepted types to be worn to bed are the light, mild, and moderate categories. These will be enough to aid in the recovery of your legs while providing maximum comfort as you rest. Currently, the products listed on this site fall into the mild to moderate categories and apply pressures of 15-20mmHg and 20mmHg to 30mmHg respectively to the legs.
Popular Sleeves Worn
Two of our more popular sleeves that customers are consistently happy with are the BeVisible Calf Compression Sleeves and the Zensah Calf Compression Sleeves. They provide mild to moderate compression while being stylish and comfortable as well.
In conclusion, we learned if you’re really on the fence about wearing compression sleeves to bed then it is best to speak with your doctor. If you ordered them and are unsure, try wearing them during the day and see how they feel first. Get used to the compression and try to imagine sleeping with them on.
Although they are generally safe to wear, you won’t know for sure until you try. If you begin to experience numbness, tingling, swelling, or pain, be sure to take them off immediately. You might be compressing an artery or some nerves.