The best way to appreciate your beautiful, freshly laundered bedding? Pair it with your birthday suit.
Choosing to go sans pajamas might sound risqué, especially if you make nighttime bathroom trips to pee, but don’t let that deter you. Not only is this the easiest sleep “hack” to try tonight, but there are also many benefits to sleeping naked. From physical health to relationship sparks, there are several ways opting away from clothing can help you get better sleep at night.
Not convinced about going commando? Here are seven compelling reasons to ditch your clothes tonight — maybe forever (and definitely on hot nights).
Going to bed naked can help you fall asleep faster
Feeling ready for shut-eye is part-bedtime routine and part-circadian rhythm (your body’s internal clock, which dictates your sleep-wake cycles). While your body’s internal temperature naturally shifts lower to get ready for bed — ideally below 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit — there are times when your signals might be more delayed than you like — due to late exposure to blue light, eating or drinking late, or any number of other reasons. Getting naked can help expedite your body's transition into that sleep-ready wind-down state.
As your body cools down thanks to cooler temperatures — a breeze or a cool bedroom temperature — your brain will get the signal to make melatonin, which shifts you towards a state of sleep. Researchers found this sleep improvement from cooler temperatures also leads to greater calmness, less difficulty in falling asleep, better sleep satisfaction, and more sleep adequateness.
Going to bed without clothes enhances sleep quality
If you find yourself kicking off sheets at night, sleeping naked may improve your sleep quality. One 2012 study found that in warm climates bedding and pajamas decreased both slow wave and REM sleep, which are critical for your physical and mental recovery and memory consolidation at night. The study also found that subjects experienced increased nighttime awakenings when wearing clothing to sleep.
Being more selective about what you wear (or what you don’t) can give you some further control on body temperature during sleep, says Dr. Chris Winter, Sleep.com advisor and author of “The Sleep Solution.”
“As body temperature changes throughout the night, it’s harder to strip out of a pajama onesie with footies than it is to shift some blankets around,” Winter says. “In the case of sleep, less clothing could mean better sleep quality, giving you the opportunity to better control your own body temperature.”
Pajamas can disrupt your circadian rhythm
Light, breathable pajamas can be a suitable alternative to sleeping nude, but not all nightwear is created equally.
It's important to avoid items of clothing that could inhibit natural movement or compress the body at any point during sleep, says Duffy McMahon, Ph.D., a behavioral sleep specialist at Valley Sleep Center in Arizona. “Even a nightie or something sheer can get bunched up at points,” she says. Research also shows that binding clothing can inhibit melatonin production, which plays an important role in managing the body’s circadian rhythm.
If you find yourself waking up tangled in your teddy, it might be time to go au naturel.
Sleeping naked can give you happier skin
Without clothing, your skin also has more opportunity to breathe, says McMahon. This can help with healing, as determined in a 2018 study of skin barrier recovery. It also means that you’re also less likely to perspire. Excessive sweating, which can be caused by overly heavy pajama materials, can not only cause itchy discomfort that can wake you up, but also increase the likelihood of rashes, breakouts, and other skin inflammation later on, not to mention damp sheets that could promote mildew or bacteria growth in your bedding and mattress.
If your pajamas bunch or constrict your blood flow, leading to numbness or pins and needles, ditching your PJs can help improve circulation for cellular repair and possibly minimize wrinkles caused by the friction and indentations of the fabric on your body.
Sleeping naked can promote vaginal health
Regardless of whether you sweat at night, your underwear can impede your vaginal health. The combination of tight underwear, moisture, and air can be a sneaky culprit for bacterial growth, especially if you're wearing synthetic materials like nylon, which can increase risk of yeast infections and urinary tract infections. McMahon explains that there is less of a chance for yeast or other bacteria to get trapped when you are in the nude — rather, it is an opportunity to allow air to circulate. Medical and gynecological experts, including the A.D.A.M medical encyclopedia advise against wearing underwear at night.
Sleeping naked can increase sperm count
Going to sleep in the buff can improve testicular health and sperm count. One study looked at 656 male partners of couples and saw that men who wore tight-fitting underwear had lower sperm count than those who wore boxers.
Giving your pelvic area “room to breathe” at night, also alleviates the potential for itchiness or irritation.
Naked bodies can boost intimacy with your partner
For many, stripping down may be an act that is reserved for intimate contact. But getting naked for sleep can bring you closer to your partner in a whole new way, says McMahon.
“We live in a very prudish society, where sleeping naked may not be something that’s necessarily promoted,” she says. “But, if you can overcome that discomfort, it can certainly help us learn how to be more open with each other. It’s freeing when you stop trying to hide your body from your partner.”
That nudity can also increase your own body image by boosting your self-esteem (more on that below), which can also increase sex drive and interest in intimacy with your partner.
Finally, the skin-to-skin contact that can happen with two individuals in bed — intimate in nature or otherwise — can also result in the production of oxytocin, often referred to as the “love hormone,” which can be beneficial for those struggling with anxiety.
Sleeping nude can boost your self-confidence
If you don’t have a partner, there’s still one relationship that can benefit from you getting naked in bed: the one you have with yourself.
Without clothes, things feel a bit freer. And that can do wonders for your self-confidence. One 2017 study found that spending more time in the nude can lead to improved self-confidence and self-love. By becoming more comfortable with one’s own body, researchers discovered that individuals had a greater sense of life satisfaction.
Why not get used to being comfortable in your own skin in the most comfortable place in the world: your bed!
What if you don't want to sleep naked?
Sleeping without your clothes on isn't a magic wand to fix sleep issues. Indeed, claims that sleeping naked can help with weight loss or lowering risk of disease are likely overblown. But there is a real and tangible health benefit that comes with getting enough sleep. So, if sleeping naked helps with your sleep problems, you can likely expect a cascade of boosts to other areas of your health and wellness.
But if you’re grossed out by the idea of your bare butt between the sheets or if you're worried about invasions of your privacy by children, roommates, or pets, there are other ways to achieve the same benefits listed above:
- Maintain a sleep-friendly bedtime routine to switch from active to relax mode.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing made of natural, soft fibers to keep cool. Linen is especially beneficial.
- Invest in bedding that has moisture-wicking capabilities or a mattress and pillow with cooling technology.
- Keep the window open at night for fresh air and temperature regulation, or close the windows and set the thermostat to somewhere between 65 and 68 degrees.
- Exfoliate two to three times a week in the shower before bed to get rid of dead skin and lingering sweat.
- Enjoy a warm shower or bath before bed to cue your body to begin cooling down.
4 tips for how to start sleeping naked
However, if hygiene is the only barrier to sleeping naked, keep these tips in mind:
- Take a shower before you go to bed. You'll feel cleaner once you bid adieu to daytime sweat and dirt from outside. You'll also cue your body to begin its wind-down.
- Splurge on high-quality bedding, sheets, and pillowcases. If you’re not going to wear jammies, why not make your bed feel softer than silk? Stick with soft, light fabrics like cotton or bamboo.
- Transition slowly by sleeping in an airy t-shirt (without undies) for a while before going fully nude. There’s no reason to go all the way when it’s just you and the bed.
- Keep a blanket nearby. If you like the benefits of sleeping naked and want to continue during colder weather, a blanket will solve your chilly problems.
Sleeping naked may take time to get used to from a comfort perspective, but, on the other hand, it’s also a quicker, more convenient way to trigger your body to begin winding down. Since many of us don’t often have time to laze around nude during the daytime, doing so in the evening, in the comfort of your own home, is a great way to experience being completely free.
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