Health & Lifestyle

The socks and goggles that claim to heal you while you sleep – so do they really work?

Could we use the hours spent snoozing more productively to improve our health? This is the suggestion behind a range of new devices and products that claim to ‘restore’ different parts of the body overnight. Adrian Monti asked experts to assess some of these, and we then rated them.

FOR WRIST PAIN

Epitact Carp’ Immo-Night Use, £24.95 (epitact.co.uk)

CLAIM: This fabric brace is recommended for people with carpal tunnel syndrome as well as inflammation, musculoskeletal disorders or inflamed wrist tendons. The makers claim this support ‘holds your wrist in a neutral position for a peaceful night of restful sleep’.

A fabric brace is recommended for people with carpal tunnel syndrome as well as inflammation, musculoskeletal disorders or inflamed wrist tendons (File image)

A fabric brace is recommended for people with carpal tunnel syndrome as well as inflammation, musculoskeletal disorders or inflamed wrist tendons (File image)

EXPERT VERDICT: Gavin Schaller, a consultant hand and wrist surgeon at West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, says: ‘Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused when pressure is put on the median nerve [which supplies sensation to the fingers and thumb] as it passes through a narrow tunnel in the wrist. Symptoms include numbness, pain or a tingling sensation in the fingers.

‘Over time, weakness can develop in the thumb due to the muscle thinning as the lack of nerve supply causes it to atrophy.

‘There’s good evidence night splints can work for mild to moderate cases because they stop the wearer flexing their wrist.

‘I’d expect to see improvement within six weeks of use.’ 8/10

FOR DRY EYES

Eyeseals 4.0 Hydrating Sleep Mask with Clear Lenses, £43.50 (eyewear-accessories.co.uk)

These look like swimming goggles, and the maker says they work by protecting eyes from 'draughts, dust and low humidity'

These look like swimming goggles, and the maker says they work by protecting eyes from ‘draughts, dust and low humidity’

CLAIM: These look like swimming goggles, and the maker says they work by protecting eyes from ‘draughts, dust and low humidity’, creating a ‘moisture-rich space over your eyes’.

EXPERT VERDICT: Dry eyes can be worse at night because we don’t blink, which helps to spread tears over the eye surface, explains Bhavin Shah, a behavioural optometrist at Central Vision Opticians in Finchley, North London. ‘If you have dry eye syndrome — where you don’t make enough tears — these goggles may help because their sealed environment may prevent tears evaporating too quickly.

‘However, there’s a risk the moist environment is a potential breeding ground for bacteria. I would suggest trying more conventional methods — eye drops containing the lubricant sodium hyaluronate and warm compresses to open blocked glands — before trying these.’ 4/10

FOR FOOT PAIN

Powerstep UltraStretch Plantar Fasciitis Night Sock, £24.99 per sock (shoeinsoles.co.uk)

Designed 'for wearing during sleep or rest',  these nylon socks have two adjustable straps

Designed ‘for wearing during sleep or rest’,  these nylon socks have two adjustable straps

CLAIM: Designed ‘for wearing during sleep or rest’ to help ‘alleviate the heel pain associated with common overuse injuries such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis [pain in the tendon] when taking your first step in the morning’, this consists of a nylon sock with two adjustable straps — one attaches to the calf muscle; the other to the toe-end of the sock.

EXPERT VERDICT: Kumar Kunasingam, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Croydon University Hospital, says: ‘Plantar fasciitis [inflammation of the fibrous band of soft tissue under the foot] is very common and is usually seen in people carrying excess weight or in sportier people, such as runners.

‘Fat-burning’ pills for excess weight

Night Mega Burner, 60 capsules plus shipping from U.S., £39.90, (nightmegaburner.com)

CLAIM: This promises ‘fat-burning support while you sleep’ as it ‘stimulates metabolism’ says its maker.

Ingredients include Madagascar aframon — an African plant described as a ‘chemical compound that has shown weight-loss support properties’, ashwagandha root extract, green tea leaf extract, magnesium and vitamin B6.

EXPERT VERDICT: Cardiff-based dietitian Aisling Pigott says: ‘Many of the ingredients contained in this product are glorified herbs and spices. I’m not aware of any robust studies suggesting they will help you slim.’

0/10

‘These types of socks have been regarded as a useful treatment option for some time. Although plantar fasciitis is felt in the sole, often the cause is tightness in muscles further up the leg. You can help to relieve pain during the day by doing calf-stretching exercises. The idea is that this sock will also stretch the calf muscles while you rest.

‘You can rapidly see benefits from wearing socks such as these — you may even notice less foot pain the following morning because your calf has been stretched overnight. However, they are rather awkward to wear and most patients don’t like them.’ 8/10

FOR DENTAL HEALTH

Floe Dusk Lavender Mint Remineralising Natural Toothpaste, £5.50 for 75ml (hollandandbarrett.com)

CLAIM: This ‘evening toothpaste’ claims to help ‘protect and re-mineralise your teeth while you sleep’, with ‘a high concentration’ of hydroxyapatite (HA, a naturally occurring mineral in teeth). It also contains fluoride, coconut oil and lavender.

EXPERT VERDICT: Dentist James Goolnik, of Bow Lane Dental Group in London, says: ‘It’s not stated what percentage of HA this product contains. Some studies show that HA does remineralise teeth in a lab situation, but no one has tested it in the mouth with saliva present, so we don’t know how effective it is. ‘I could find no evidence that coconut oil or lavender helps in toothpaste. I am not a fan of the foaming agent cocamidopropyl betaine (which this contains); some people are allergic to it. The fluoride will fight decay and help sensitivity, but no more than many other toothpastes.’ 4/10

FOR CRACKED HANDS

O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Overnight, £10.50 for 80ml (boots.com)

The manufacturer says this product for extremely dry, cracked hands could give you 'visible results in one night'

The manufacturer says this product for extremely dry, cracked hands could give you ‘visible results in one night’

CLAIM: The manufacturer says this product for extremely dry, cracked hands could give you ‘visible results in one night’. Ingredients include glycerine, sweet almond oil and shea butter, providing ‘intense, restorative hydration’.

EXPERT VERDICT: ‘All hand creams can be used during the day or night,’ says Dr Hayley Leeman, a consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic, London. ‘However, you’re likely to benefit more from an overnight one because regular hand washing during the day interferes with allowing a cream to work consistently. For best results, wear cotton gloves in bed after applying the cream to allow it to penetrate deeper into the layers of the skin.

‘Glycerine is a very good humectant, which means it draws water from the air into the skin. Almond oil and shea butter are emollients which create a film over the skin, locking water inside.

‘You are more likely to see significant improvement with regular nightly use, but this cream is not superior to any others on the market.’ 9/10

FOR SWOLLEN JOINTS

Osmo Patch, £27 for ten patches (osmopatch.co.uk)

CLAIM: These adhesive patches, the size of a large sticking plaster, treat swelling around sore joints or muscles ‘while you sleep’; they’re designed to ‘gently absorb excess fluid from the body and reduce swelling’. The patch contains the mineral tourmaline — which, it’s claimed, has infra-red properties, heating the skin and causing fluid from the inflammation to be drawn into the patch.

EXPERT VERDICT: Physiotherapist Tim Allardyce, clinical director of Surrey Physio, says: ‘I’m sceptical of the claim that the patch soaks up the fluid in this way — I could find no research to back this up.

‘Inflammation is a complicated process and I find the theory that tourmaline causes the body to ‘sweat’ the fluid out unlikely. 

‘It’s very hard to know if this product is more effective than a bag of ice or a heat pack. It’s not cheap either — tourmaline is a gemstone.’ 3/10

FOR PAIN DURING THE NIGHT

Panadol Night Pain, £5.29 for 20 (chemist-4-u.com)

CLAIM: These tablets contain the painkiller paracetamol and di-phenhydramine hydrochloride, an antihistamine that causes drowsiness — ‘making it useful when pain is keeping you awake’. They offer relief for headache, toothache and muscle pain.

EXPERT VERDICT: Pharmacist Ashley Cohen of Leeds-based chain Pharm-Assist says: ‘These will help someone who struggles to sleep because of pain but drowsiness can persist the next day. I would prefer to tackle the pain separately on a 24-hour basis — there are numerous painkillers and anti-inflammatories available — then sleeping might improve.

‘I would only look for something to help with sleep — such as antihistamines Nytol or Sominex — after sorting the pain. Those are my caveats, but there’s no doubt that taken correctly, this Panadol tablet should quickly kick in and deal with the types of pain listed. 8/10

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