Can You Sleep In Compression Tights?

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Compression tights can be quite beneficial, but can you sleep in them?

We’re going to answer this question, as well as explore compression tights in more detail so that you can make a safe and informed decision. 

Can you sleep in compression tights? Yes, you can safely sleep in compression tights. Go ahead and sleep in your tights if you are in reasonably good health and have no serious medical concerns. Sleeping in compression wear, or wearing one for 24 hours straight, isn’t recommended you have medical issues like DVT, edema, or peripheral neuropathy. 


Compression Tights vs Compression Socks

black compression tights vs black compression socks

Both compression tights and socks serve the same purpose – provide compression, improve circulation, and give relief for tired, achy legs. 

Tights are basically leggings that also cover the feet.

Compression socks do cover the feet and the legs. 

Tights cover the whole leg all the way to the waist, while socks typically go only up to the knees.

Compression tights are mostly used by athletes and runners to improve their performance and enhance recovery time; these tights have standard compression levels of 15-20 mmHg. 

Compression socks can have compression levels between 10-40 mmHg. Higher compression levels of 30-40 mmHg are considered medical grade and may require a prescription.


Compression Tights vs Leggings

Compression tights and leggings are not the same. 

There are compression leggings but they are not the same as plain leggings, the difference is attributed to the purpose of the garment, the tightness (compression it provides), and the material it’s made of.

Leggings are fashion wear and snug but do not provide muscle compression and support. 

Leggings can be sheer, opaque or thicker depending on the fabric used. 

Viscose, jersey, polyester, and spandex are some of the materials used for making leggings.

Compression tights are designed for activewear and athletic performance. 

It has a typical compression level of 15-20 mmHg and is helpful for relieving muscle fatigue, improving circulation in the legs, speeding up recovery, and reducing injury or strain. 

Compression tights and most compression wear are made of 20% spandex and 80% micro nylon.


Benefits And Risks Of Wearing Compression Tights

From a medical standpoint, compression socks and tights are worn to increase the circulation of blood back to the heart and prevent the legs from swelling due to the pooling of blood and lymph fluid.

Read the other benefits of wearing compression socks in our related article.

The benefits of wearing compression tights for athletic use are:

  • Keeps blood circulation consistent and improves oxygenation. Keeping circulation flowing helps in the recovery and keeps muscles nourished with fresh oxygenated blood.
  • Helps to reduce muscle damage by lessening muscle vibration during runs and prevents soft-tissue injuries and sprains.
  • Speeds up the removal of lactic acid in the muscles for a faster recovery process
  • Controls body temperature by wicking sweat away from the body; this keeps body temperature at a steady rate and improves endurance.
  • There is less wind resistance against clothes and skin providing comfort and making movement easier. A more comfortable fit also means less chafing and riding up when moving, running, or squatting.

The risks of using compression tights are low to none.

As long as you are free to move comfortably, it’s fine. 

Make sure you get the correct size to avoid constriction

Wearing the wrong size will not be helpful because it limits movement and will leave skin indentations or irritation. 

Do not roll the legs up to shorten the tights. 

Compression wear uses gradated levels of compression with the ankles having the highest levels, it lessens the higher up the leg the tights go. 

Rolling the legs up will add more compression where it is not needed and also cause skin irritation from too tight bands.

Performance-wear should be used for athletic performance and recovery. 

But, again, this is a case of personal preference.


Who Uses Compression Tights?

black mens compression stockings

Compression wear is for everyone – the healthy, the elderly, the young, and the active. 

Compression socks are associated with old people and certain conditions like varicose veins, edema, and DVT. 

However, many others wear compression stockings and socks, they include pregnant people, frequent long-haul flyers, and people whose work keep them on their feet all day. 

Lastly, we have performance athletes but they favor compression tights or shorts, and calf sleeves. 

Improvements in fabric choices and designs have allowed more options for color, sizes, and designs.

Pro tip: Some women wear compression tights as it smoothes out their curves, giving them a flattering silhouette. 


How Does Compression Work?

The heart pumps blood through the veins. 

Illness and trauma may damage the veins and capillaries causing it to lose the ability to contract and pump blood back to the heart. 

Add gravity to the mix and blood will have a tendency to pool in the ankles and legs.

Compression tights squeeze the leg’s tissue, muscles, and vein walls to keep its shape; the vein valves recover function again and pump blood back to the heart, restoring normal blood circulation. 

Here’s a visual explanation of how compression helps restore normal blood flow in the legs.


Is It Safe To Wear To Sleep?

It is definitely safe to wear to sleep but it might not be comfortable. 

Sleep and relaxation are closely related, tight-fitting clothing is neither relaxing nor comfortable so it will come down to preference and comfort level.

As long as you’re reasonably healthy and having no serious medical conditions like edema you should be able to wear your compression tights to sleep, but as usual consult your doctor first.


Can It Be Worn Overnight Or For More Than 24 Hours?

For healthy individuals, you could but it isn’t recommended. 

A doctor may prescribe wearing compression tights for longer periods of time, even overnight to people who are under treatment for a medical condition.

It is not recommended to wear compression tights for extended periods because the stockings are designed to work against gravity and help with circulation for people who are upright and mobile. 

You are immobile lying down and there is no gravity to work against, circulation may actually slow down.


When’s The Best Time To Wear Compression Tights?

The best time to wear compression tights is anytime you will work out so you enjoy the benefits of muscle compression, avoid strain or injury, and experience faster recovery. 

If you’re wearing compression tights for medical purposes–swelling and tired, achy legs–it’s advisable to put them on in the morning when the legs and feet are not yet swollen from fluid retention. 

Wearing tights in the morning also keeps the soreness at bay, especially when you are on your feet most of the day.


How Long After Exercise Can You Wear Them For Recovery?

Athletes wear compression tights during their training and several hours after to aid in muscle recovery, increase blood circulation to limit soreness, and speed up healing of any microtears.

Some athletes wear compression-wear for 12-24 hours after a grueling workout. 

Others use pneumatic compression pants for post-workout recovery.


Will It Be Too Tight To Wear Undergarments With?

There is no set rule for this and comes down to personal preference. 

It is recommended to wear sports underwear if you will wear tights for athletic training since plain cotton underwear will only absorb and hold sweat.

Use regular underwear if you are using compression tights for medical reasons and always follow doctor’s advice on when to put it on and the correct compression gradient. 


What Is The Right Compression Gradient?

Compression levels are measured in millimeters of mercury or mmHg

There are 4 compression grades for compression socks and stockings with the lowest being 15 mmHg and the highest is 40 mmHg which is considered medical grade.

  • 10-15 mmHg is ideal for mild leg soreness and aching legs.
  • 15-20 mmHg is for mild to moderate edema, flying on economy class, pregnancy, spider and varicose veins.
  • 20-30 mmHg is for moderate to severe DVT, Orthostatic Hypotension (feeling lightheaded when standing from a seated position due to low blood pressure), post-surgery treatment, and varicose veins.
  • 30-40 mmHg is medical grade and may require a doctor’s prescription.

For severe cases, check with a doctor first to determine the best course of treatment.


How Much Do A Pair Of Compression Tights Cost?

beige compression tights

The cost of compression tights run between $40 to $120 depending on the brand, style, and material used.

Best Compression Tights

We have looked at and tried a few compression tight, here’s 2 we recommend.

For men, the DRSKIN dry cool sports tights are consistent performers. with stretch, support, and compression. The fabric also adapts to the weather – keeping you cool in the summer and wicking away sweat and moisture and retaining heat during the cooler months.

For women, we recommend the Yogipace. It’s an all-in-one and can be used for running, skiing, cycling. it’s best for cold weather, it’s thermal and fleece-lined. But what we really like about these tights are the zippered pockets.


Does Compression Tights Help Remove Cellulite?

There is not enough evidence to make an accurate assessment of this. 

Wearing compression tights will not remove cellulite but it may help to reduce its appearance since water retention is a factor in cellulite and compression tights help to alleviate water retention.

Read: 7 Alternatives To FasciaBlaster ro learn about tools to reduce the appearance of cellulite.


Compression During Pregnancy

Pregnancy changes the body and one change that all pregnant women go through is swelling of the feet, ankles, and legs. 

One way to treat this is to keep the feet elevated. 

Another way is to wear compression socks or compression tights. 

As was mentioned in the previous section, a gradient of 15-20 mmHg is best for pregnant women. 

If in doubt, ask your obstetrician which would be best for your condition.


Compression Tights And DVT & Edema

For mild to moderate DVT and edema, compression gradients between 15-30 mmHg are used depending on the condition, and other medication and treatments employed. 

Compression tights will not cure DVT or edema but it will help ease the discomfort and the risks of the condition from worsening so it is best to work with your health professional to get the best possible treatments.


References

Barone J. (2016). Compression Stockings: A Guide. Retrieved from https://www.berkeleywellness.com/self-care/over-counter-products/article/rough-guide-compression-stockings

Bhatt D. (2014). Ask the doctor: Compression stockings for long-distance travel? Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/ask-the-doctor-compression-stockings-for-long-distance-travel-

WebMD staff. (n.d.). How To Choose And Use Compression Stockings. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/dvt/choose-compression-stockings#1

Bappanad R.and Dandavate N. (2017, Feb 24). Management of DVT by Compression Stockings. Retrieved from https://natfonline.org/2017/02/management-dvt-compression-stockings/

Lim CS and Davies A. (2014 Jul 8). Graduated compression stockings. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4081237/

Thuve-Dam et al. (2019). Effects of preventive use of compression stockings for elderly with chronic venous insufficiency and swollen legs: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Retrieved from https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-019-1087-1

Editorial Staff
 

Editorial Staff at MindBodyPal is a team of experts led by Tyson Chiu. We love tacos, lattes and Funky Fridays.

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