In popular culture, we tend to associate sleep and pajamas. These comfy clothes provide a cozy outfit that many people love. For this reason, sleeping naked may not even be on many people’s radar as something that could be of benefit. To help introduce this topic, we’ll cover both the potential benefits and downsides of sleeping in the nude.
What Are the Potential Benefits of Sleeping Naked?
There are several possible benefits to sleeping in the buff. These include:
As part of our body’s natural systems, the body and brain work together to manage your temperature throughout the day. This is known as thermoregulation. Often, this means heating up or cooling down depending on your context. For example, on a hot day or with activity, your body produces sweat, which, when hit by moving air, helps to cool down the skin and the body.
Sleeping naked is likely a better choice for promoting this natural process of temperature regulation. At night, your body starts to produce melatonin, which helps make you sleepy and decreases your body temperature. As morning comes, other hormones kick in to help wake you up and increase your temperature. Wearing clothes, especially heavy clothes, can disrupt this natural thermoregulation and may decrease your Circadian rhythm’s alignment with the day’s light-dark cycle.
If this occurs, then it can potentially reduce the quality of your sleep. Overheating at night can also reduce sleep quantity and comfort. If you don’t get enough sleep or if your Circadian rhythm is thrown off, it can affect your energy levels, appetite and weight management, mood, cognition and mental focus, and other bodily systems.
Places where the “sun don’t shine” have a greater tendency to have bacterial infection. Trapped moisture can make an environment conducive to bacterial growth, so being naked and letting your whole body “air out” at night can help counteract this. There is also some research that suggests that men who have less restrictive clothing (including boxers during the day) and no clothing when they sleep have higher-quality sperm.
Touch is a powerful sensation, and having more exposed skin can increase both physical and emotional intimacy for couples who share a bed. Knowing a partner is already in the nude may also induce sexual activity among couples.
Feeling of Freedom
Sleeping without clothes can offer a sense of liberation after being dressed the entire day. It may also make it more comfortable to move or shift around in bed without the concern of clothes becoming bunched up or constricting.
There’s no doubt that our society sends lots of negative messages that can make people feel bad about their bodies. Sleeping in the nude may be part of a process of becoming comfortable “in your own skin” and better getting to know your own body.
What Are the Potential Downsides of Sleeping Naked?
Sleeping naked isn’t a clear-cut choice for many people because there are some possible drawbacks including:
Some people just aren’t comfortable without clothes. This may just be a general feeling or it may be that soft pajamas or other clothes feel more inviting than having the skin directly against sheets and blankets.
Feeling Too Cold
Thermoregulation is different for everyone, and some people may have a tendency to feel cold if they aren’t wearing clothes. They may compensate for lack of clothes by just using more blankets, which would likely have the same effect on thermoregulation. Or being too cold may make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Clothes or pajamas can provide a barrier between the body and your bedding and mattress. This means that things like sweat, skin particles, hair, and dirt are less likely to soil your sheets and blankets, reducing the need to wash them as often.
Sleeping Naked or Clothed: What's Right For You?
Sleeping naked can definitely offer benefits and may be the preferable choice in the abstract. For people looking to switch up their sleep habits, it is worth exploring. But at the end of the day, what’s important is that you’re comfortable. If you have found that with your PJs on, you are able to maintain a stable temperature and good nightly sleep, don’t feel like you need to start sleeping naked.
If you do sleep with clothes, try to choose clothes that are loose, soft, breathable, and moisture-wicking. Examples include silk and thin wool or airflow-enhancing synthetics. Clothes that are made with 100% cotton are generally not the top choice since they can retain moisture and heat. It can also be helpful to make sure that your sheets and blankets are also made with breathable and moisture-wicking materials to improve airflow and thermoregulation throughout the night.