Sleeping au naturel, minus a stitch of clothing, isn’t a common choice, but for the many Americans who do (12%) and many more Britons (30%), this is second nature.1 Besides nudists, a lot of mainstream people choose to sleep in the buff, simply because they find it liberating or just more comfortable. But sleeping naked has benefits too. It lets your body achieve the right temperature to sleep well, allows for better air circulation to different parts of your body, and can also improve sperm quality. Don’t believe us? Here’s proof.
1. You Sleep Faster And Deeper
A good night’s rest depends on more than the comfort of your bed. It is hugely influenced by the ambient temperature, the fabric of your sleepwear, and your bed linen. All of these influence your core body temperature, which in turn regulates your sleep. When you fall asleep, your core body temperature typically drops and the skin temperature goes up as heat is dissipated from your core to the outside.
Going clothing-free could possibly help the process, allowing the heat trapped in your body to escape easily into the environment. In fact, insomniacs often have a higher core body temperature than natural at bedtime because their skin doesn’t lose heat easily.2
A group of researchers found that if the skin temperature is kept just 0.4°C higher, people sleep quicker, have more slow-wave deep sleep, and don’t wake up early.3
If you have exercised before sleep, shed your clothes before you drift off. This will lower the exercise-related rise in core body temperature.
If using an air conditioner or heater to keep the temperature right is not always an option, the answer could be as easy as switching what you wear (or don’t wear) to sleep. As one study found, choosing the appropriate sleepwear for the weather is important, and lower temperatures made sleep easier.4
According to the National Sleep Foundation, you need to get your body temperature down by half a degree to drop off to sleep. By slipping off your sleepwear, you allow your body to experience a cooler environment and may sleep quicker and deeper.
Deep sleep has many benefits for your body – it keeps the signs of aging at bay, improves your immunity, repairs the body, and helps release growth hormone, which produces proteins and utilizes fats, among other things.5
Of course, sleeping naked is not a year-round option in places with a harsh winter, for instance, unless you maintain your home at warmer temperatures.6
2. You Burn Calories In Sleep
Sleeping naked could also boost your metabolism and help you lose weight. How? Your body has a good type of fat called brown fat. It helps burn calories faster by creating heat and its levels are believed to increase at lower sleeping temperatures, like when you sleep naked.7
The levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, can also have a role to play here. In the lack of restorative sleep, cortisol levels remain higher the next day, making you prone to stress eating.
Moreover, lack of sleep can also raise the levels of ghrelin – the hunger hormone – making you pack in more calories. It is a proven fact that if you don’t get proper, restful, body-repairing sleep, you would be more likely to eat between meals.8 9
3. You Get A Stronger Metabolism
Good sleep can prevent many metabolic disorders, from diabetes to heart disease. Lack of sleep increases cortisol, the hunger hormones, and insulin, which messes up your blood glucose balance.
When you sleep in lower temperatures, such as when you sleep in your birthday suit, your body responds to the cold by producing more brown fat to burn more calories and produce heat. And brown fat also helps with glucose metabolism, reducing the risk of metabolic disorders like diabetes. In fact, one study found that healthy test subjects who slept in a colder room gained a metabolic advantage over time.10
4. Your Body Gets Better Air Circulation
Tight fitting clothing, jeans, and slinky underwear might create the perfect silhouette by day, but your body will be crying out for a breather by night.
Sweat around places where your undergarments come in contact with your skin, especially at the joints or in the natural folds of the skin, can give you bad body odor. Skipping the pajamas and going to bed nude gives your body a chance to “air,” and rid itself of odor.
In women, a warm, moist vagina is often a breeding ground for harmful bacteria or fungi that may disturb the healthy balance of vaginal microbes. Airing your privates, as you go au naturel, can keep you feeling and smelling fresh the next day.
5. Your Sperm Quality Improves
Happily for men, they may reap more benefits when it comes to sleeping naked. A higher temperature in the scrotum is often associated with poor semen quality in men. Wearing tight-fitting clothes and underwear during the day and at night can increase the scrotal temperature further. This may in turn affect sperm quality and reproductive health in men.11
6. You Get A Happier Sex Life
Sleeping naked can make for a better sex life. Of course, you didn’t need us to tell you that. Here’s the science. Skin-to-skin touching is a major trigger for oxytocin, the love or cuddle hormone that floods you with affection for your partner.
A Cotton USA survey on 1,000 Britons finds that couples who sleep naked are happy in love, compared to those who wear pajamas, nighties, or onesies to bed. Oxytocin being a good stress-buster can also keep cortisol in check and fight its fattening effects.
Who May Not Want To Go Naked
Your sleepwear plays it role in giving the body thermal insulation as well as a certain degree of comfort. For anyone with sensitive skin who may find problems with letting their skin come in direct contact with bed linen and duvets, sleeping naked may not be a good idea.
Older adults or those with declining muscle mass or low basal metabolic rate could also experience discomfort without sleepwear.
Ultimately, whether you shed your clothes or happily don your pajamas or floaty nightwear is a personal choice that depends on your own variable heat and the sleeping microclimate in your home.12
So what would you choose? To shed or not to shed?
|↑1||2013 International Bedroom Poll: Summary of Findings. National Sleep Foundation.|
|↑2||Getting to the core of insomnia. University of South Australia.|
|↑3||Raymann, Roy JEM, Dick F. Swaab, and Eus JW Van Someren. “Skin deep: enhanced sleep depth by cutaneous temperature manipulation.” Brain 131, no. 2 (2008): 500-513.|
|↑4, ↑12||Shin, Mirim, Mark Halaki, Paul Swan, Angus H. Ireland, and Chin Moi Chow. “The effects of fabric for sleepwear and bedding on sleep at ambient temperatures of 17 c and 22 c.” Nature and science of sleep 8 (2016): 121.|
|↑5||Growth hormone, athletic performance, and aging. Harvard Medical School.|
|↑6||2013 International Bedroom Poll: Summary of Findings. National Sleep Foundation.|
|↑7, ↑10||Lee, Paul, Sheila Smith, Joyce Linderman, Amber B. Courville, Robert J. Brychta, William Dieckmann, Charlotte D. Werner, Kong Y. Chen, and Francesco S. Celi. “Temperature-acclimated brown adipose tissue modulates insulin sensitivity in humans.” Diabetes (2014): DB_140513.|
|↑8||Schmid, Sebastian M., Manfred Hallschmid, K. A. M. I. L. A. JAUCH‐CHARA, J. A. N. Born, and Bernd Schultes. “A single night of sleep deprivation increases ghrelin levels and feelings of hunger in normal‐weight healthy men.” Journal of sleep research 17, no. 3 (2008): 331-334.|
|↑9||Molecular ties between lack of sleep and weight gain. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑11||Jung, A., and H‐C. Schuppe. “Influence of genital heat stress on semen quality in humans.” Andrologia 39, no. 6 (2007): 203-215.|