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Article: Can Compression Socks Help Sleep Apnea Patients?

Can Compression Socks Help Sleep Apnea Patients?

Many people in the US suffer from sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is when your brain fails to signal the right muscles in the right way to cause your lungs to inhale and exhale while asleep.

Those who suffer from the condition show symptoms such as loud snoring, gasping for air and periods when the individual will briefly stop breathing while asleep. When this happens, many patients report waking up with a headache. These headaches have been directly linked to obstructive sleep apnea as a result of insufficient oxygen to the brain while sleeping.

Consider wearing compression socks during the day for a better sleep experience through the night.


Connection between sleep apnea and blood flow

According to medical research, "obstructive sleep apnea decreases blood flow to the brain, elevates blood pressure within the brain and eventually harms the brain’s ability to modulate these changes and prevent damage to itself." Unfortunately, this higher blood pressure and lowered blood flow will also put those with sleep apnea at a higher risk for stroke while sleeping.

When someone suffers from sleep apnea, breathing is hindered because the upper airways can become blocked. This will cause blood oxygen levels to decrease and blood pressure to increase. It is likely that this temporary trauma is what wakes the person up, gasping for air (or oxygen).

During sleep apnea episodes, the upper airway becomes blocked, hindering or stopping breathing and causing blood oxygen levels to drop and blood pressure to rise. In most cases, the person eventually awakens and begins breathing, restoring normal blood oxygen and blood flow to the brain. Sleep apnea can be life threatening, so it’s important to discuss it with your doctor.

Do compression socks help sleep apnea?

While compression socks will not cure patients of sleep apnea, wearing compression socks during the day can reduce the severity of symptoms associated with obstructive sleep apnea. The obstruction associated with the disease is thought to be caused by a build up of fluid in the legs throughout the day.

If you're wondering, ‘is it ok to sleep with compression socks on?’, the answer is - yes. But, you should wear compression socks that feature graduated compression and are not too tight on the upper calf to prevent blocking blood circulation. Wearing the right compression socks to bed can help blood flow from the legs and reduce fluid retention.

With less fluid build-up in the legs, and good blood flow back to the heart, patients can experience better sleep, stop snoring and feel more rested in the morning.

Wearing compression socks for sleep apnea

There are different types of compression socks to choose from. If you are considering wearing compression socks during the day to treat your sleep apnea at night, it is suggested that you speak with a medical professional about the type and the amount of pressure or Hg the socks should have. Compression socks should not be worn to bed at night or while you are sleeping.

Graduated compression socks are a good choice for helping blood flow from your legs and back to your heart. Your goal in treating sleep apnea is to allow the socks to move fluids through the body and not pool in the feet and lower legs. This way, when you do go to sleep, you will experience less fluid obstruction that would block breathing paths.

Other medical conditions that benefit from the increased blood flow that is gained when wearing compression socks include:

  • Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)
  • Varicose veins and spider veins
  • Lymphedema
  • Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Edema (swelling)
  • Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS)
  • Plantar Fasciitis


  • The best compression socks for sleep apnea are graduated pressure and will not fit too tight on the upper calf
  • Compression socks may alleviate sleep apnea symptoms because they decrease fluid retention in the legs
  • Obstructive sleep apnea decreases blood flow to the brain and compression socks can help increase blood flow

Visit us at Dr. Motion to find a wide variety of colorful and classic compression socks for everyday wear!


Disclaimer: This article provides information solely for educational purposes, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, and other materials contained herein. This article is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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