Why You Should Sleep Naked, According to Experts

·5 min read

Everything about your sleep environment affects how much shut-eye you’re able to get—your bed partner, the temperature of your bedroom, noise and darkness levels, and what you wear. If you’re cold-natured, you may opt for cozy, flannel pajamas. If you often get hot at night, you may choose light, airy PJs or sleeping in the buff.

Nearly 30% of Americans report sleeping naked at least some of the time, according to a survey by mattress brand Casper. People say sleeping naked keeps them cool, helps them sleep better and is more comfortable for them. But, can sleeping naked also be good for your health?

Sleeping naked can offer some health benefits, but ultimately what you wear to bed is a personal preference, says Dr. Marri Horvat, MD with Cleveland Clinic’s Sleep Disorders Clinic.

“It’s all about comfort,” she says “Generally, wearing nonrestrictive things that you have the ability to move around in in bed comfortably or even sleeping naked will give you a better night’s rest.”

Many Americans don’t regularly get a good night’s sleep, which causes them to feel drowsy, irritable and low energy. Sleep deprivation could also increase your risk of depression, stroke and other health problems. So, here’s what you should know about sleeping naked.

The Benefits of Sleeping Naked

Sleeping in the nude can bring several health benefits. Here are a few reasons that you might want to consider slipping off your PJs:

It regulates your body temperature

Your body’s circadian rhythm regulates your sleep-wake cycle, and it can be affected by temperature. Sleeping naked could help your body maintain a healthy temperature. When you get too hot at night, you might be more likely to toss and turn.

Experts recommend keeping your sleep space between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, says Lauri Leadley, CCSH, RPSGT, founder, president, and clinical sleep educator at Valley Sleep Center.

Related: How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Really Need Every Night?

“To accomplish that, you can do things like use a ceiling fan or cooling pad in your bed,” she says. “We also suggest sleeping naked to allow your body temperature to drop even quicker.”

It can improve vaginal health

Sleeping nude could also reduce your risk of getting a yeast infection. Medical experts say sleeping in tight-fitting clothing and underwear can increase moisture in your vaginal area, causing the fungus candida to grow.

“There is evidence that sleeping without underwear can decrease the risk of vaginal infection in women, which can certainly make it difficult to fall asleep,” Horvat says. Sleeping naked or in loose-fitting clothing enables air to circulate around your vagina to keep the area cool and dry and help you avoid getting a yeast infection.

It might help with fertility

Wearing loose-fitting bottoms or nothing at all during sleep is good for men, too. Research shows that wearing tight-fitting underwear increases the temperature of the scrotum, which can decrease sperm counts. Keeping the scrotal area cool can improve sperm health and fertility.

Related: What Is a Sleep Divorce?

It could promote intimacy

Sleeping naked with a partner could improve feelings of intimacy and enhance emotional connections, Leadley says. Skin-to-skin contact has been shown to decrease stress levels, too.

“It can improve your sex life,” Leadley says. “Your bodies are in close proximity and skin touching. More oxytocin is released, and you're more likely to have better sex. More sex and better sex.”

It can boost your metabolism

Sleeping in a room with a cooler temperature has been shown to boost your metabolism. One way to cool off while you sleep is to shed your clothing. Leadley says improved metabolism could also reduce your risk for diabetes and other diseases.

Related: Research Finds That a Simple Sleep Hack Could Cut Depression Risk—A Cleveland Clinic Doc Explains What That Means for You

The Downsides of Sleeping Naked

Sleeping in the buff isn’t for everyone. If you’re someone who gets up a lot during the night or is prone to sleepwalking, you might want to give it a second thought, Leadley says. Here are some other downsides of sleeping naked:

You might get too cold

Cold-natured? Sleeping naked could be a challenge. It might be hard to get comfortable if you’re feeling chilly, which could make it hard to sleep. Leadley suggests adding more blankets or maybe a heating pad to make your bed temperature just right if you do want to sleep naked.

You may need to wash your bedding more frequently

Foregoing pajamas removes the barrier between you and your sheets, and that extra skin-to-skin contact could make your bedding get dirtier quicker. The skin cells that you shed each day can feed about one million dust mites, according to Cleveland Clinic. You definitely don’t want to be sleeping with all those mites!

The Sleep Foundation suggests that most people should wash their sheets about once a week. If you sleep naked, you’ll likely want to wash your sheets more frequently. Or, have a few sets on hand so you can change them every few days.

You might just not feel comfortable

Wearing whatever is most comfortable to you—or nothing at all—is the best way to get a great night’s sleep, which everyone needs, Horvat says.

“The only downside to sleeping naked would be your comfort,” he says. “If you are not comfortable or anxious while sleeping naked, then it's better that you sleep in a way you feel comfortable.”

Next, read about seven reasons to get a good night’s sleep.

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