Why Do My Varicose Veins Go Away When I Lie Down?

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Rahul Sood

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Varicose veins can be a difficulty that affects your daily life. They first appear as thin blue lines that make the leg veins visible called spider veins. However, in the case of severe varicose veins, they can grow into a more engorged appearance. There are some methods to reduce the surface of an enlarged vein like treatments and prevention steps. But, you may see that it disappears when you lie down.

So why do varicose veins seem to vanish if I lie down? Varicose veins are most visible during standing and sitting because a damaged or unhealthy leg vein cannot push blood up to the heart, forcing it to pool inside. If the blood stuck in the leg veins shift because of a change in position, i t will reduce the appearance of spider veins or varicose veins. 

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How Varicose Veins Change When You Lie Down

First, varicose veins must be defined. These are leg veins that are unable to properly siphon blood up to the heart. Since it must combat the force of gravity across a tall area, the blood will end up falling downwards and pooling into a vein, causing varicose veins or spider veins. This will be experienced in its initial stages through slight pain or the appearance of enlarged leg veins, visible spider veins, or numerous small lumps in the thighs or calves. 

By changing the position of the legs, like by lying down, can change the color, shape, and size of the varicose veins as the blood that was there has flowed out. However, this is only temporary as the affected vein is still subpar to properly deliver blood once the leg is upright. Direct treatment options and preventive measures are the best ways to alleviate varicose veins from the legs while stopping other complications like blood clots and venous ulcer.

Can Prolonged Lying Cause Varicose Veins?

No, but decreased physical activity, especially when standing, is a huge risk factor for developing varicose veins. Standing still, sitting down, or not properly moving the legs for an extended period of time will wear out the veins, eventually causing spider veins and then varicose veins. Other common risk factors include age, genetics, sex, and body weight.

However, prolonged lying, like before your sleep, can be when the symptoms of varicose veins intensify. Cramping, swelling, itchiness, discomfort, and pain can affect one’s sleep, even if the spider veins or varicose veins have visually disappeared, and can make the condition even more distressing. 

Episodes like these can be similar to restless leg syndrome and could signal other vein issues like chronic venous insufficiency. Consult a doctor or a vein specialist if this has been persistent. 

Other Ways to Reduce the Appearance of Varicose Veins

Though lying down may seemingly remove the problem of spider veins or varicose veins, this is only on the surface. Making varicose veins disappear means treating the vein directly, as well as helping any blood circulation in the legs. Follow these steps to naturally reduce the visibility of varicose veins or prevent it from growing any further. 

1) Move Often

The main cause of spider veins and varicose veins is the veins being damaged or weakened from pushing blood upwards. If the valves within the veins start to close, this will cause the blood to pool, leading to leg ulcers and other venous insufficiencies. By moving your legs around from a static sitting or standing position, this can help naturally increase the blood flow in the legs, aiding vein health and preventing vein damage.

Moving around often can also lead to a habitual exercise habit that can help with weight loss. A lighter body weight close to your ideal BMI can decrease the amount of pressure on the legs while helping maintain regular blood pressure. Additionally, it will strengthen the muscles in the legs, leading to better vein health.

2) Be Aware of Your Sitting Position

Extended periods of sitting can also develop to varicose veins as it makes the leg veins inactive. While making sure to leave the seat every now and then, ensure that you’re also in a proper sitting position. Keep your legs uniform and your feet flat on the floor. Don’t cross your legs because it will prevent proper blood circulation as the position will constrict the veins. 

3) Elevate Your Leg

Whether you’re lying down or sitting on a chair, it’s best to prop up your legs to help direct blood flow toward the body — reducing any pressure on the veins. If the varicose legs are causing pain and other discomfort before or during sleeping, place a pillow under your ankles to increase its elevation. On the other hand, you can lift your leg up to your chair while you’re sitting to boost the blood circulation there. Resting your feet on pillows or a small stool has a similar effect. 

4) Wear Loose Clothing

Unless you were prescribed compression stockings, avoiding any form of restrictive clothing on the legs and feet, like skinny jeans, heels, and leggings, will help increase blood flow, reduce pain and other side effects, and decrease the risk of a blood clot and developing other venous disease. Wearing looser clothing more often during work and at home can give more space for the leg to breathe, giving it more space to move around. 

5) Update Your Diet

Body weight plays a huge factor in the blood flow on the legs. Being overweight or having a poor physical foundation in the leg will put more pressure on the varicose veins. Eating closer to your specific calorie intake for your body will help you maintain the most optimal BMI.

There are also certain foods and substances that can impede natural blood flow and could contribute to vein disease. Eating processed meats, deep fried foods, and an overtake in dairy products will cause the veins to swell up and cause blood flow to lessen. Alcohol consumption will also dehydrate the veins and take nutrients from it, dampening the function of the veins. Generally, don’t consume foods high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, and salts.

Effective Treatments for Varicose Veins at Vein Center Doctor

While there are prevention steps to hinder the progression and effects of varicose veins and spider veins, specialized vein treatments are the most effective way to reduce these effects. At Vein Center Doctor, we offer minimally invasive surgeries to treat any existing varicose veins before any other vein problem occurs.  

1) Venous Compression Therapy

Before considering vein surgery, compression therapy can be used to target spider veins or varicose veins in its earlier stages to reduce their visibility and pain. Through the use of medical equipment like compression socks, stockings, and bandages, targeted and ample pressure can naturally increase blood flow.

This treatment can be done to reduce the feeling of venous veins during work and other activity. It’s particularly effective for those with chronic venous insufficiency and other vein disease. However, it can also be done after vascular surgery to lower downtime and increase the healing process.

2) Radiofrequency ablation

This treatment is commonly used to directly treat the damaged vein. After using ultrasound to identify the affected vein, a vein specialist will use a micro needle to puncture the vein and a catheter is inserted into it to transmit heat. There will be anesthesia applied to every step of the procedure so that the patient will feel minimal to no discomfort during the procedure.

The catcher generates enough heat to close off the vein and prevent any blood from pooling in that area. The damaged vein will slowly be absorbed into the leg muscles, reducing any pain, swelling, discomfort, and visibility of varicose veins in the area.

3) Sclerotherapy

This treatment is similar to radiofrequency ablation with its use of an injection. Instead of utilizing heat, a sclerosing agent is injected into the target vein, causing it to scar and seal itself off. It’s effective for closing off any spider veins and varicose veins before any vein disease is developed or simply reducing its appearance.

4) VenaSeal

Venaseal is a relatively new FDA-Approved vein surgery that has nearly zero downtime as you can get back to regular activity the next day. It involves applying a medical adhesive that immediately closes off the damaged vein. It’s best for visible veins that may be a precursor to other vein disease or those suffering from pain, swelling, and discomfort due to varicose veins or spider veins. 

How to Lie Down With Varicose Veins After Treatment

Whichever treatment you receive, it can affect how you lie down as you need to consider how to change your sleeping habits to best comfort your leg muscles. Since most people spend nearly a third of their day sleeping, taking the necessary precautions will help decrease the effects of venous veins and boost the healing process after vein surgery.

1) Light Exercise Before Lying Down 

As discussed earlier, ample physical activity is effective in lessening the effects and risk factors of vein disease. A short walk around the house or a light stretching routine can help strengthen the leg veins to provide the right amount of blood flow as you sleep.

2) Use Compression and Heat

Compression stockings or socks may be recommended by the vein specialist to aid the healing process of the vein surgery. Wearing them at night while applying a warm compress can help loosen the muscles while reducing any pain or discomfort that may occur after the vein surgery.

3) Lie On Your Back

The best sleeping position for those with varicose veins or who underwent a vein treatment option is lying on your back with leg elevation through a pillow. This position is the most optimal for increasing blood circulation in the legs while sleeping. If any pain or swelling persists despite the use of compression stockings, the use of an ice pack and medication can help your leg muscles get comfortable while you sleep. 

Premier Vein Care at Vein Center Doctor

Varicose veins or spider veins can be a worrying condition to monitor as it can look, and sometimes feel, debilitating. With the right treatments and exercises, you can fortify your legs and vein health to prevent other complications like a blood clots from occurring. It’s only a matter of finding the right medical provider that can treat your legs with the utmost care and expertise.

At Vein Center Doctor, we know the best treatments that can sufficiently ease your varicose veins. Our board-certified staff has the most updated knowledge and medical technology to sufficiently treat any vein insufficiency you may have. Book an appointment online to start taking care of your vein health.

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Find exactly what you need to get rid of your vein-related problems. Dr. Sood and the rest of our team at Vein Center Doctor are ready to help: schedule your free consultation today.

Rahul Sood


About Rahul Sood

Dr. Rahul Sood is a triple board-certified physician who specializes in cosmetic vein treatment, namely spider veins and varicose veins, as well as any accompanying issues related to venous insufficiency such as leg pain. He has carried out over 10,000 leg procedures during 10-plus year career and is highly regarded throughout Westchester County and New Jersey.

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