In most Western countries, wearing shoes at home is deemed appropriate. Owing to this cultural appropriateness, people are comfortable wearing shoes at home, even sleep with them on. But it is considered “rude and dirty” to be wearing shoes at home for Easterners, much more to sleep with them on. Which one is correct? Is it better to sleep with or without shoes?
Let us explore both sides in this article, and also a few alternatives for sleeping without shoes – Read on!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
|Shoes On||Shoes Off||Alternatives|
WHY SLEEPING WITH SHOES IS BETTER
All right, let us start with exploring when it makes sense to sleep with shoes on, and why it is better.
COLD CLIMATE PROTECTION
This is one of the main reasons why most people in Western countries are more comfortable sleeping with their shoes on. Unlike Eastern and Asian countries, some Western countries can be very cold – With temperatures dropping even lower during the night. That is why most individuals prefer to leave their clothes and shoes on, to protect themselves from the cold when they sleep.
While this may seem difficult to believe, some people sleep with shoes for the very reason of cleanliness. The best examples are – Going out on a camping trip and sleeping in a not very decent motel. Yes, shoes make sense in these unclean areas to prevent possible rashes and infections.
Someone had a bad foot sprain. It’s not bad enough to be put into a cast, but the foot is swollen and cannot suffer “another hit”. Wearing a shoe to sleep makes the perfect sense to provide some support and protection.
The entire family sleeps with shoes on, the neighbors sleep with shoes on, nearly the entire region sleeps with their shoes on. No, nobody finds it strange nor dirty. The only “strange fella” is the one that sleeps without shoes on.
Call it psychology, norm, or cultural appropriation. But being the “odd one out” kind of hurts, especially when the majority cannot accept a practice that is the complete opposite from theirs – Even when it makes sense sometimes.
WHY SLEEPING BAREFOOTED IS BETTER
While some individuals insist “sleeping with shoes is justice”, it isn’t always the right decision. Note that this transcends cultural significance. Wearing shoes to bed IS unhygienic and may end up soiling your bedsheet.
Keeping shoes on for long hours may also be uncomfortable, results in various health issues such as foot sores and infection. Let us walk through why sleeping with without shoes is better in this section.
Imagine wearing a new pair of shoes that you are not used to. It’s tight, it’s stuffy, and your foot is grinding against the shoe. Insist that “sleeping with shoes is correct”, and keep up with the pain overnight.
What happens the next morning? Sore feet, blisters, and the stink… So just why? Any sensible human being will just take off the shoes and sleep barefooted. If it’s cold, just wear socks and use a thick warm blanket.
HYGIENIC & HEALTHY
When you wear shoes while sleeping, you keep your feet in a closed environment. As the result, it becomes a thriving ground for harmful bacteria. Remember, like every other body part, the feet require a proper flow of air for breathing and staying healthy.
So, when we cover the feet at night with a tight shoe, it inadvertently increases the chances of experiencing fungal infections like the Athlete’s foot. For the uninitiated, Athlete’s foot is a type of infection and in simple terms – “Stinky feet”.
How do we prevent all of these nasty things from happening? Just sleep barefooted, give your feet get the needed airflow. This will also ensure that the feet can heal and repair themselves better.
As with the previous point, sleeping with shoes makes the feet susceptible to various infections. Footrot is a higher level of infection where the foot… rots. This is especially common in warmer, tropical countries where the air is hot and humid. So no shoes, healthier and happier human.
KEEPS THE BED CLEAN
A stark reminder – You walk with your shoes on and tread across various streets throughout the day. As you do this, the shoe collects all sorts of dust, dirt, debris, and funky stuff. Now hop onto the bed with those dirty shoes.
Just how is this an “appropriate thing” to do? Dirty your own bed, who will suffer ultimately? So please no – A least change to pair of clean flip-flops at home if you must sleep with shoes on.
ALTERNATIVE TO SHOES
If you live in a cold country and require some protection for your feet, here are some good alternatives to consider.
This is one of the best alternatives to wearing shoes to bed. You can either wear thermal socks or rice socks for the kind of insulation you need. Both offer ample protection while also keeping your feet thoroughly warm. If you’re still cold, use a foot warmer before wearing the socks.
If you feel chills along your feet at night, you can protect them with a warm blanket. If a cotton blanket doesn’t make the cut, use a woolen, microfiber, or mesh blanket. This way, you get to protect your feet while also offering them the required airflow.
PLACE A PROTECTIVE SHEET ON YOUR BED
If you’re extremely comfortable wearing shoes to bed and aren’t willing to swap them with anything else, place an extra protective sheet on your bed before lying with your shoes on. This will prevent dirt and bacteria from making their way to your bed. Although it might make sense to wear shoes to bed in colder countries, people in warmer countries should avoid this practice.
SHOES OR NO SHOES?
Both sides have their own reasons to sleep with and without shoes. But personally, I am leaning towards the side of “sleeping barefooted is better” on the grounds of health and hygiene. As with everything else, your feet require a break too. So, don’t wear shoes all day – Let them breathe during sleep. If it’s cold, wear socks, use warm blankets.
Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end of this short guide. Hope it has helped to answer your doubts. Good luck and have better nights of sleep!
LINKS & REFERENCES
- Should You Wear Shoes While Working From Home? – www.houstonmethodist.org
- The Case for Sleeping with Socks On – Healthline