No More Cold Feet in Bed – My Favorite Winter Foot Warmers
When the thermometer drops into the single digits and we keep the house temps on the chilly side to help save energy, I'm sometimes stuck with cold feet in bed.
I don't know about you, but if my feet are cold, I have an awfully hard time falling asleep. If my husband comes to bed after I do, I can't always cheat and warm my feet up on him. 🙂
Since I figured others might have cold feet at night in bed, I made up this list. Here are 6 ways to remedy your cold feet to help you keep your feet toasty, too.
Cold Feet in Bed – Remedy # 1 – Warm socks
Yes, sometimes I go to bed with socks on. Recently, I've been wearing socks in conjunction with using Herbalix detox deodorant on my feet, so I've been sticking to cotton, but wool and other natural fibers like alpaca or even silk are great for keeping in the heat.
Make sure your socks are loose enough to be comfortable. Don't restrict blood flow, as decreased blood circulation cools you down.
Before bedtime, I sometimes layer socks and slippers, to make sure my toes are toasty *before* I jump into bed. It's so much easier to keep your feet warm than to try and warm up feet that are already cold.
Recommendations – Heat Holders women's socks, wool socks, electrically heated foot warmer.
#2 – Hot Packs
My first microwavable hot pack was given to me by a friend of mine who works for Core Products of northwest Wisconsin. A hot pack is a fast way to warm cold feet. I think it might be the BEST remedy for cold feet at night in bed. The warm pack really makes a differe
The first winter I tried it I fell in love – and ordered more. The packs are filled with a non-toxic, biodegradable gel, and are heated briefly in the microwave.
They have a soft cover to make them comfy against your skin. Once heated, they stay warm all night.
I warm mine up, stick it in bed while I go brush my teeth and get my jammies on, and slip under the covers to a toasty foot reception. Aaaaaah! Targeted heat without cords.
Core Products makes all their products in the USA.
Recommendation: 10×13 inch CorPak Soft Comfort Hot & Cold pad
#3 – Heated Mattress Pads and Blankets
My sis has a heated mattress pad that she swears by when winter hits. Before bedtime, she preheats the bed, then shuts it off and climbs into a warm and cozy nest.
This minimizes her electricity costs and her exposure to EMFs. My husband's grandmother was a huge fan of electric blankets. She had more than enough for every bed in the house. Either option concentrates the heat where you need it – on you.
Team heating pads up with a programmable thermostat, and you can drop the temp 5 or more degrees at night and still wake up to a warm enough house to shower in the morning.
It takes a lot less energy to heat one or more beds than to heat an entire house.
Recommendations: Full sized heated mattress pads or plushy king sized pads
#4 – Hot Water Bottles and Heated Bricks
Oldie but a goodies, these heat providers don't need a microwave or electricity. New hot water bottles are less likely to leak than older models, and many come with easy to use covers (although you could use a pillowcase in a pinch, or sew your own).
Fill your bottle with very warm – not boiling – water, and use in a manner similar to the hot packs. These will not retain heat quite a long but are likely to be more than enough to help you fall comfortably asleep.
Recommendations – water bottle with a slipcover or a basic rubber bottle with no slip cover.
Heat clean bricks near a wood stove and cover them with something soft, such as an old, thick sock. You can also warm a throw-cover or comforter and use that.
Don't overheat – you should be able to handle it barehanded. You don't want to burn your feet, just warm them up.
#5 – Hot Foot Soak
Give those tootsies a warm bath before you head to bed to bump up their temp. Dry well when done. For an extra treat, follow with socks fresh out of the dryer. (Not the wool socks. Don't put those in the dryer. 🙂 )
#6 – Spicy Foot Massage
Everyone knows massages help to increase blood circulation. If you pair up your message with a bit of spice, the effect lasts longer.
Sprinkle a bit of ginger or cayenne into your favorite oil (such as coconut or olive oil) and mix well. Rub this mixture into your feet before bedtime.
A little goes a long way, so don't overdo it. Allow oils to soak in, and cover with cotton socks to absorb any excess oil.
If you're not sure about spicing your feet, warm your whole body by sipping some ginger tea.
If you have persistently cold feet (not just when it's cold), you may have a health problem such as hypothyroidism.
Some medicines, like beta blockers, can also cause cold feet. Talk to a health care professional.
Other options to warm up
There are remedies to keep your hands and feet warm when the outside cold temperatures hit.
If you've got cooperative pet, they make pretty good foot warmers, too. Wearing warmer clothes to warm up the rest of the your body, will help warm up your feet. Poor circulation can cause cold feet, so move around to get your blood flowing.
Please share if you find this post useful, and stay warm!
More Cold Weather Preparedness
Did you know we have over 100 preparedness posts on the site, including many on cold weather?
They're all listed on the Common Sense Preparedness page. They include:
- 4 Layers of Cold Weather Clothing Everyone Should Know
- Keeping Warm – Winter Prep List for You and Your Home
- 25 Cheap Ways to Keep Your House Warm in Winter
- Emergency Heat During a Power Outage and other Winter Storm Preps
- Thawing Frozen Pipes – 3 Ways to Safely Thaw Out Frozen Pipes
Originally posted in 2013, last updated in 2022.
You can also fill fabric rectangles up with rice or flax seed, sew it shut, and when you want it hot, microwave it for one and a half to two minutes for one that’s 6 inches wide, and a foot long. They make great heating bags for your back or shoulder, but one kept in the freezer will give a nice cold compress that doesn’t ‘sweat’. We keep one in the freezer and one in the closet. You can make them smaller for foreheads too.
Thanks, Debbie. Another friend of mine says she has one filled with corn, too.
Yikes! I can only imagine what happens when you microwave a corn-filled heating pad, LoL.
Pass the butter, please ÷0
Short bursts, no more than thirty seconds each, and you should be able to avoid snack time. 😉
Dry field corn & even dry beans will hold heat well & have a nice weight that conforms to the parts you’re heating. That is what we used in the 1970’s in our 150 year old Missouri farmhouse perched on a very windy hill.
We heated for 2 minutes nonstop, the 6″ to 8″ shoulder/neck bags. (Great for wrapping feet in too!) No popping or burning but they smell like…hot corn or hot beans. Not my favorite. White rice is what I’ve made our bags (“woobies”) out of for the last few decades. It doesn”t smell when heated, conforms & holds heat nicely. Plus, it’s cheap & non chemical.
The fabric you use does need to be microwave safe. Avoid those with pretty metalic threads or inks that may cause sparking or charred fabric. Test a piece of your chosen fabric before you sew if you’re unsure.
It’s also helpful to make an inner bag of good microwave safe fabric, with doubled seams for durability & rice retention, & an outer bag that is a little larger that you easily slip on & off. Since it doesn’t go into the microwave it can be made out of anything you want & can easily be WASHED as needed.
We have an “antique” Great Divide camping trailer perched on a mountainside at 8,000ft in CO. Our first winter weekend I was unprepared for how deadly cold that unheated mattress could be! There was no microwave nor any “woobies”! There IS a tiny oven, thank God & I had a small Black Granite Ware chicken roaster & you guessed it, dry Red Beans. Two bags of those dry beans went into that roaster & into the oven, lid off so I could stir for faster heating. If I remember correctly, it was almost 30 min before I was satisfied & put the roaster, lid on, & slid it between those icy sheets. We sipped a couple more mugs of hot tea & played cards as we waited & every few minutes I moved that little roaster around where we were now looking forward to laying our sore & hike-weary bodies. Though a little labor intensive, It worked beautifully…. & smelled like roasted dry beans. ?
Have a warm & blessed winter!
My feet are saved by Mr Woolly Socks. I found them by chance on line. I have been wearing them for bed for two years now and cannot imagine going to sleep without them.
I have always had trouble with cold feet! Before I got married to my wonderful husband who also lets me warm up my feet against him, (what a blessing he is!) I have been known to try at least 3 or 4 of the methods you mentioned here 🙂 Thanks for sharing – hopefully it can help more chronic cold feet-ers!
This one is free, easy, lasts all night with no electricity. Jyst run a coupke of really soft bath towels in your dryer til heated tgrough and toss ggem in bed ahead of you. When you get in you can snuggle your feet into them ir wrap against a sore joint. Cotton retains the heat amazingly. Excellent if you have one of those nasty cold temperpedic mattresses.
I love heavy weight flannel sheets; although, even the lighter weight flannel, to me, is better than cold cotton sheets in the winter. The bed is never chilly.
This next suggestion is probably going to sound very strange…lay an emergency blanket (reflective side up, of course) underneath a mattress pad—it keeps the crinkle sound to a minimum—and then top with a fitted sheet.
Years later……….. isn’t it great that helpful hints are always helpful.
When it gets colder – just beginning to now- Oct 2015 – I am going to put an emergency blanket under my fitted sheet (flannel or one of those T-shirt material sheets they have now).
And I usually always wear socks – around the house & in bed & stay bundled up when not in bed. That’s what you do when you live in an older house & keep the temp low.
I love the Internet! At the moment of writing this, I am “hidden” under my thick woolen covers with cold feet and typing this comment with my smartphone…on a cold and stormy December night. Because I couldn’t sleep because of the combination of having cold feet (despite wearing socks) and the rattling noises the stormy winds are making with the things in my neighbour’s garden, I decided o google for “no more cold feet on old winter nights” and chose to click here. Your page seems to be dedicated for women, but I don’t mind. Your tips are VERY welcome! Greetings from The Netherherlands! 🙂
I write what I know, so it’s a woman’s point of view, for sure, but gentleman are always welcome. With three older brothers, I have always been a bit of a tomboy, and with 5 1/2 years in college in male dominated fields (math/physics BS and mechanical engineering MS), I spent a lot of time hanging out with the boys. Now I’ve got two boys of my own, and of course my husband, so I am once again surrounded by testosterone. 🙂
Stay warm, and welcome!
Ok, i know you are not going to feel sorry for me at all, but i too have cold feet….all the time….in Florida. 🙁 lolol. Well not all the time, but a lot. I just ordered some of those core products, thanks.
It happens. I finally got the bed all warm last night, and then my hubby showed up and this time he had the icy feet. I graciously shared the hotpack along with a snuggle, and before long we were both warm. Not looking forward to winter, but glad he’ll be home every night.
We switched to sheet blankets and they are a lot warmer then cotton sheets.
Sheet blankets? Is that the same as flannel sheets?
Great ideas Laurie! I use flannel sheets, slipper socks and a couple of thick quilts and we also turn our thermostat down at night to save energy just like our grandparents.
I do miss the feather tick I had as a kid when the nights get cold, but I know it would make my husband overheat. 🙂
I LOVE all of these tips! Thank you so much for sharing! I read your emails all the time and never make a comment, so I thought today I would tell you how many changes I have made in my life from your articles! Thank you and keep them coming!
Thanks, Dawn. It’s so nice to hear from people who are happy instead of the grumpy people.
I’m floundering for inspiration this week in the cold and dark. So hard to take good photos without light! I just need to tackle something and call it, “Good enough!”
Hi Laurie! I’m one of those husband’s who get’s a cold shock when my wife presses her cold feet into my back to warm them up in bed! We started thinking about better ways to help solve the “cold feet in bed” issue and came up with a little product called Cozy Toesies. I’d love to get a sample to you so you can give it a try, if you’re interested. Let me know & thanks in advance.
I’m not sure it would work on our bed, because we have a crazy tall mattress. We ordered it from a local bedding manufacturer and had it made double sided so it could be flipped and last longer, but when it showed up it was much thicker than we anticipated.
One method I didn’t see in the post or the comments is what I would call the Infantry method – wear a hat. I have heard this one from lots of armed forces guys. Even when you have to get into the sleeping bag with your boots on, your feet can get cold at night. Wearing a beanie or other kind of winter hat traps the heat, and your head is usually the only thing sticking out of the covers at night to lose that heat. Trap it with a hat and your feet will get warm and stay warm.
There’s a reason folks always wore sleeping caps to bed, too. 🙂
When I was breastfeeding my second child, I read in of my new mother booklets that Raynaud’s (ray-NOHZ) disease, phenomenon or syndrome causes some areas of your body — such as your fingers and toes — to feel numb and cold in response to cold temperatures or stress. I believe that why my hands and feet are always cold in the winter.
Thanks for the great ideas! My feet are normally warm when I go to bed because I have two fluffy yorkies who manage to work their way to the bottom of the covers around my feet and behind my legs. It’s when I’m sitting at the computer when I’m cold. I have a warm blanket under my desk and I fill up two 2-liter soda bottles with hot water, dry them off, then put them on top and under the blanket under my desk. It works wonders–until the bottles cool down.
My mom used to fill a long sports sock with rice and tie it at the end then heat it up in the microwave. She would put them in her jacket pockets when feeding the animals, too.
My husband has allergies, so no critters in the bed. The soda bottle idea is a good one, for short term heat at least. I’m still trying to train the cats to lay on my feet.
I keep a blo-dryer by the bed, since it is just me feet that get so cold! When they are too cold to fall asleep, Ireach under the covers and zap both my feet and the covers above and below them. It lasts long enough to fall asleep and then they stay warm!
Vicks on your feet! Wool socks (not too snug) over top. Warms up the feet and clears a stuffy head (if needed).
I love rocks I collect them and I leave some choice rocks on my heater that conduct heat and when my feet are cold I put one at the foot of my bed it emanates enough heat to warm my feet up 🙂
Handknit socks warm me twice–while knitting them and I wear them to bed. The sock yarn is a blend of wool and nylon so it really does the job. I also have put rice in old socks and tied them around the top tightly; they can be kept in the freezer for bumps and sprains and can be heated in the microwave when heat is needed. Either of these are so much better than buying the latest thing at the store,.
I sleep warm, if that makes sense. I can’t use a heated mattress pad or electric blanket because I’ll get too warm. My cold feet solution came off a clearance rack last summer… It’s an electric fleece throw blanket. The beauty of that throw is that it automatically turns off after 15-20 minutes which is long enough to warm my feet & then fall asleep. Some heating pads are the same, with an auto off function.
We too experience spousal thermocline. Even with a pretty active homestead lifestyle, I sleep a little cold. My husky, hard-working husband is too hot to sleep comfortably above 60F, and sleeps comfortably without a blanket down to about 45 degrees. My strategy is to slip wool blankets folded in half tucked into a twin duvet cover under the rest of or bedding, and in addition to wool socks, keep a knit wool cap handy for and extra nippy night.
While treating sciatica, I discovered that sitting up in bed, gripping my toes and alternately flexing my knees and toes and relaxing them ,repeating 15 or 20 times, then gently gripping my toes and rotating them a few times clockwise and counterclockwise a few times, my feet warm up nicely. Sciatica is now managed but I still do the flexing and rotating for the warmth. For all I know, it helps keep sciatica at bay.
My favorite wool socks are a fabulous pair of cashmere and lambswool blend knit in England. By only wearing them in bed, they have lasted over 30 years. They are too warm for Fall or Spring, but work their magic all through the sub-zero phase of Winter.
A note regarding ginger tea before bed. according to some Ayurvedic instruction I received, for some physiologies, more than a very tiny amount can result in wakefulness or testiness if taken before about 3 pm.