Wearing socks to bed – is it really good for your health?

Kaohsiung mayor insists on wearing socks and waist guard to bed for good health.
Photo from China Times

Taiwan Kaohsiung’s new mayor Han Kuo-Yu said in jest, he would rather bare his bottom than not wear socks to bed. His reason? Wearing socks to bed protects our body’s ‘yang qi‘ (yang energy), he says.

I have always worn socks to bed after childbirth. It may be because of the Asian health perception of keeping the mother’s body warm. I find that when I do not wear socks to bed, I feel chilly easily. I have always tried to persuade my husband and children to wear socks to bed, but they always refused, claiming Singapore’s weather is too hot for that.

I took an interest in the recent Taiwan local election in Nov 2018 and was amazed by 61 years-old Han Kuo-Yu’s stamina and good health. He ran a neck-to-neck election with DPP candidate Chen Chi-Mai and slept only a few hours each day for several weeks. Yet he appeared sharp and energetic in interviews and during his walkabouts. I heard him mention twice of his nightly ritual for good health, that is to wear socks and put on an S-waist guard to bed.

Wearing socks to bed aids in sinus problem

I then mentioned this to my husband and he decided to try wearing socks to bed. I thought he will give it up after a day, but every night, he will put on his socks on his own accord. After a couple of days, he told me that while he still hates wearing socks to bed, he finds that strangely he does not wake up with a sinus problem anymore. My 9 year-old heard him and decided to wear socks to bed as well. She told me her sinus symptom has gotten better as well.

I was really happy to hear this and went on to read up more.

Image from TCM wiki showing Yongquan acupuncture point.

Yongquan acupuncture point

An article from China Times interviewed a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioner on this. Apparently, there is an important acupuncture point at the sole of our foot called the Yongquan acupuncture point. The point is at the depression at the sole, about 1/3 of the distance between the toe and the heel. Yong means “to gush out” and quan means fountain. The qi (energy) of the Meridien flows upwards like a gushing spring. According to TCM, yongquan acupuncture point helps guard against sickness and quickens healing, so traditionally keeping the soles warm has been seen as important to uphold the yang energy in the body. The yang energy can be regarded as a warm flow in the body that helps in the body’s immunity.

The TCM practitioner in the interview, Mr. Yang Jinwei said however, that while wearing socks to sleep is a convenient way to keep the sole warm and protect the Yongquan acupuncture point, a more effective way is to use acupuncture on the Yongquan acupuncture point itself. Also, wearing socks to sleep is more effective for people who are of xuhan body constitution (xu means weak and han means cold). This applies to elderly people and women who lack exercise. The symptoms include cold hands and feet in winter, poor appetite, fatigue and diarrhoea in normal days or during menstruation.

Also, wearing socks to sleep is not recommended for people who has sweaty feet, athlete’s foot or conditions such as cuts and eczema on the feet.

If you choose to wear socks to bed, it is best to choose 100% cotton breathable ankle-length socks that are not too tight. Also, it is good to have a foot massage or warm foot bath, especially in winter before sleep to aid in sleep. This can help prevent insomnia, frequent urine at night, dreams and pain in setting foot in the floor in the morning.

Herbal tea to invigorate the mind and strengthen the spleen

If you want to increase yang energy, you can drink herbal tea in the morning. The 桂圆红枣生姜茶 (longan, red dates and ginger tea) is good tea to dispel han (cold).

Longan, red dates and ginger tea
Picture from fancai.com


Add 25g of longan meat, 5 red dates and some sliced ginger to 300ml of hot water and steep for 30 minutes. If you choose to boil the water, boil for about 10-15 minutes. Add crystal sugar (rock candy) or brown sugar to taste.

This tea is beneficial for the function of the spleen and symptoms such as loss of appetite, fatigue, cold feet and hands and tummy problems.

As for the waist guard, I have yet to try one myself though I am definitely keen. I will put up a post on it after I have tried on one. If you have experiences with wearing socks or waist guard to bed, please leave a comment!

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