Is Sleeping Naked Better For Your Health?

Jodi Helmer
by Jodi Helmer
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Is Sleeping Naked Better For Your Health?

Before crawling under the covers tonight, should you think twice before putting on your favorite pajamas?

One poll found more than half of Americans sleep au naturel. Studies are mixed on whether what you wear to bed matters. We waded through the research to provide some answers on the supposed benefits of sleeping sans PJs.

SLEEPING NAKED COULD

… Improve Your Sleep

Feeling overheated makes it harder to get a good night’s rest. Researchers at the University of Amsterdam found increasing skin temperature just 0.4ºC (0.7ºF) was linked with worsened insomnia and increased nighttime waking.

“You do sleep better if you’re cooler,” explains Dr. Daniel Root, a sleep specialist and medical director at Oregon Sleep Associates.

But layers are important to prevent heat loss, so Root suggests having an extra blanket on the bed in case you catch a chill. Performance sleepwear and sheets made of breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics can also help regulate your body temperature.

… Rev up Your Metabolism

Sleeping naked lowers your core temperature, which may help you lose weight. In a small study of overweight men, lower bedtime temperatures were associated with higher levels of brown fat, a healthy fat that burns calories and increases metabolism to raise your body temperature.

“We have known about this relationship for a long time,” says Dr. Chris Winter, a neurologist, sleep specialist and author of “The Sleep Solution.” “Sleeping naked or in cool environments has been shown to positively affect both sleep and metabolism [because] it takes energy to warm a cool body.”

You could get the same result from turning down the thermostat to 65–68ºF as well.

… Boost Your Body Image

If you think you’ll be too focused on the feeling of your thighs rubbing together or the roll of skin on your stomach to drift into dreamland, think again. Researchers found spending time naked led to significant improvements in body image and self-esteem.

“If the first step to getting comfortable with your body is sleeping naked, that’s a great step,” says Dr. Alyse Kelly-Jones of the Novant Health Women’s Sexual Health & Wellness practice.

It might not be practical to binge-watch your favorite crime drama without clothes on, but sleeping naked is totally doable, especially if it makes you feel more comfortable in your own skin.

… Improve Your Relationship

For couples, sleeping naked could increase relationship satisfaction. A survey of more than 1,000 adults found 57% of those who slept naked felt happy in their relationships (compared with 48% who wore pajamas).

“If you and your partner both sleep naked, the skin-to-skin contact will release the feel-good hormone [oxytocin],” says Fran Walfish, PsyD, a Beverly Hills, California-based relationship psychotherapist.

Research shows even non-sexual contact with the skin boosts levels of oxytocin. The hormone, also released during sex, is associated with lower levels of depression, stress and reduced blood pressure.

… Preserve Sperm Quality

In a 2015 study, researchers tracked 501 couples for 12 months to assess links between underwear choice and sperm quality. The data showed men who wore boxers during the day and slept naked had better overall sperm quality and higher fertility than those who chose tighter-fitting underwear, like briefs.

The connection relates to temperature, notes Root. When the testicles are too warm, it’s harder to make good sperm. Sleeping in briefs, he notes, keeps the testicles snug against the body, increasing their temperature. Sleeping naked — or wearing boxers — gives testicles more room to move, thus improving sperm quality.

… Protect Your Vagina

A whopping 70% of women have experienced yeast infections. Crawling into bed in silky underwear or tight-fitting pajama bottoms could increase your risk of yeast infections, according to Kelly-Jones.

“Moisture causes yeast to grow,” she says. “If you’re wearing something that harbors moisture next to your skin, you’ll be more susceptible to a yeast infection.”

If you don’t want to sleep naked, at least shed your panties to allow your vagina to breathe and reduce the risk of getting a yeast infection.

… Lead to Insomnia

Stripping down to avoid overheating could help you get more restful sleep or it could cause you to wake up repeatedly during the night. It all comes down to temperature.

Research found men who slept in cold temperatures spent more time awake and less time in stage 2 sleep, the stage associated with a lower core body temperature. Results were similar in research done on women: Cold stress impaired sleep led to less time spent in stage 3 (slow-wave) sleep, the cycle associated with drifting into a deep sleep.

THE VERDICT

The takeaway, according to Root: Sleep naked or wear pajamas.

“The most important thing is being comfortable physically and psychologically when you go to bed so wear [or don’t wear] whatever works for you,” he says.

Originally published May 2018, updated with additional reporting

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About the Author

Jodi Helmer
Jodi Helmer

Jodi Helmer writes about health and wellness for publications like WebMD, AARP, Shape, Woman’s Day, Arthritis Today and Costco Connection among others. She often comes up with the best story ideas while hiking with her rescue dogs. You can read Jodi’s work or follow her on Twitter @helmerjodi.

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27 responses to “Is Sleeping Naked Better For Your Health?”

  1. Avatar Bruce Dunn says:

    What about reading articles naked?

  2. Avatar funkybro says:

    Sleeping in the buff makes it much easier to start off the day with a bang.

  3. Avatar Anniepi67 says:

    Have slept naked forever. So much more comfortable. No clothing to get bunched or tangled My hubs wears only his jockey shorts. So no PJs in this house.

  4. Avatar Amba says:

    I can’t stand sleeping without pajamas on (shorts and shirt usually). I hate the feeling of my thigh skin rubbing, and I get hot and sweaty anywhere i have skin to skin contact. I also have to have at least a sheet to sleep, something about the weight helps

    • Avatar Oracle Delphi says:

      I agree. Sleeping naked lets me sweat in areas that are usually covered and then the sweat dries and leaves me sticky. By morning, I am completely uncovered trying to get rid of the stickiness. We don’t sleep in a 68 degree room (which is recommended). Maybe if we did it would be OK, but I don’t wanna be naked when its 68.

    • Avatar Melayahm says:

      I can sleep topless but not bottomless. Even when I was a kid, I hated nighties, always preferred pyjamas. Sleeping naked would mean not sleeping, unless it was extremely hot, in which case, no sleeping anyway.

  5. Avatar John Xeno says:

    Only one of these studies is about sleeping naked; it’s thirty years old and had four subjects. They others are about maintaining slightly cooler temperatures (e.g. .4 degrees Celsius) and having non-sexual skin to skin contact with a partner.
    It just seems a little intentionally prurient to say that this is about sleeping naked.

  6. Avatar Charles says:

    I read another article that said there is also an economic component. The majority of wealthy people surveyed slept nude, while poorer folks slept covered up. Perhaps because those with limited financial resources had less privacy, needing to share their lodgings with roommates or non-intimate relatives.

  7. Avatar UK Canuck says:

    I haven’t owned any pyjamas since I was a teen. As for sperm quality, I had my 2 p̶o̶i̶n̶t̶ ̶4̶ more than 20 years ago so I’m not too concerned with my swimmers’ motility.

  8. Avatar David Turner says:

    What a pointless article. Conclusion : do what you like. Wish I’d stayed in bed instead of reading this tosh

  9. Avatar Woman says:

    For women it is definetely more healthy to sleep naked!

  10. Avatar Mathias Bjorkman says:

    Personally I’ve always slept naked since I was in my 20’s. I can’t stand sleeping in clothes unless it’s just a nap.

  11. Avatar thespanishbandit says:

    “She often comes up with the best story ideas while hiking with her rescue dogs” ha,ha,ha,ha, ha….

  12. Sleeping naked improves relationships???? I think the primary cause and effect is in reverse. People who have nice bodies are more likely to sleep naked and have good relationships. The good relationship is more the result of a nice body than it is being naked. In fact, sleeping naked might make a relationship worse for people with unattractive bodies. I would have to see the research protocols to have a better idea of the cause and effect issues.

    As usual, the click bait doesn’t cite references.

  13. Avatar GoalGirl says:

    Does MyFitnessPal have a spot to track sleep? If sleep is a real concern, shouldn’t the hours be tracked right along with food and exercise?

  14. Avatar nmbr1son says:

    I use Sleep Cycle and after reading this article, I think I’ll add ‘sleep naked’ and ‘sleep clothed’ to my sleep notes. I can then see if there is a negative or positive trend for each. Thanks MFP!

  15. Avatar srikar says:

    Uyhf Gives You A Practical, Easy-to-follow Program You Can Use To Instantly Release Your Hip Flexors For More Strength, Better Health And All Day Energy.

  16. Avatar Will Smith says:

    I dont always sleep naked. But when I do, I leave the door unlocked.

  17. Thanks for sharing such a nice blog. It is really a nice blog. The theme of the blog is from our day to day life. As you mentioned the benefits of sleep without cloths sounds healthy according to your points.

  18. Avatar MrWakiki says:

    I wonder if the chicken or egg
    maybe couples who are already happy with each other are more likely to be naked

  19. Avatar Will Jones says:

    So basically the article was useless

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