The Naked Truth About Sleeping Naked: Benefits and Potential Risks
Over 50% of people admit to sleeping naked. And not everyone does it for the reasons you might think. Most people claim it’s simply more comfortable, makes them feel free, and keeps them cool. But does sleeping in the nude provide any health benefit or is it just a personal preference?
In this article, we’ll answer the question, “is it better to sleep naked?”, and explore some of the pros and cons of this popular practice.
Why Do People Sleep Naked?
Before we discuss whether or not sleeping naked is actually good for your health, let’s explore a few reasons why people do it, to begin with.
Nearly 70% of people who reported sleeping naked said they do so because it’s more comfortable. People feel less inhibited and constricted without clothes on. They don’t get tangled in their pajamas or wake up overheating in the middle of the night.
In addition to being more comfortable, some people claim that sleeping naked helps them relax and makes them feel free. At the end of a long, hard day, nothing is quite as relaxing as taking off all your clothes and climbing into bed. Another 15% said that their genitals also feel “free and happy” when sleeping in the nude.
This reason is still up for debate and one that we’ll explore fully in this article. But, some people believe that sleeping naked offers certain health benefits. Nearly 55% of people report that sleeping naked helps them sleep better by helping them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. As of this writing, there’s no scientific evidence to support this claim but, sometimes, achieving quality sleep is about having a positive attitude toward sleep. And if sleeping in the nude puts you in the right state of mind for sleep, then it may result in better quality sleep and fewer insomnia symptoms.
The Potential Benefits of Sleeping Naked
With so many people sleeping in the nude, it’s worth exploring why this trend is so popular and if it could actually improve not only your sleep quality but your overall health. Here are some potential benefits to shedding your clothes before slipping under the sheets.
Fall Asleep Faster
In a perfect world, you’d fall asleep within 15 minutes of getting into bed. Sadly, this is rarely the case for most people. Racing thoughts, tossing and turning, and other distractions often increase sleep latency (the time it takes you to fall asleep). Sleeping nude might expedite this process.
As your body prepares for sleep, your core temperature naturally lowers. This drop in temperature has to do with your body’s circadian rhythm or natural sleep-wake cycle. According to some doctors, the faster your body temperature lowers, the faster you fall asleep. By getting naked and lowering your internal temperature faster, you’re signaling your body that it’s time for sleep.
Improved Sleep Quality
Not only can sleeping naked help you fall asleep faster but it may improve the overall quality of your sleep, resulting in fewer instances of disturbed sleep. With a lower core temperature, you’re less likely to wake up due to night sweats. You can support this by keeping your bedroom at the right temperature as well. Sleep doctors recommend setting your thermostat to between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sleeping naked can also help you regulate your body temperature throughout the night, preventing you from getting too hot or too cold. This means improved REM sleep which is one of the most important sleep stages. During REM sleep, not only do you experience dreams but your brain and body repair themselves.
Balanced Circadian Rhythm
According to one doctor, the human body was designed to sleep in the nude. After all, that’s how you entered the world. By sleeping naked, you could be helping your body maintain its natural circadian rhythms, the way it did long before digital devices and artificial light interfered.
Centuries ago, people’s internal sleep-wake cycle was determined solely by the rising and setting of the sun. Now, with the introduction of digital devices, smartphones, and artificial light, our brains and bodies are easily confused about when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to be awake. Sleeping in the nude helps your brain and body reconnect to their natural state, and supports deep, restful sleep and adequate sleep durations.
Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are two leading causes of insomnia. When it’s time to lay your head down at night, it’s often difficult to stop anxious thoughts from flooding your brain. Increased anxiety over not being able to fall asleep can only make matters worse, creating a vicious cycle of insomnia and sleep deprivation.
It’s believed by many that sleeping naked could help reduce both stress and anxiety at night. If you’re someone who feels an overwhelming sense of relief and comfort by shedding their clothes, doing so before bed could help trigger feelings of calm and relaxation, making it easier to fall and stay asleep. Some people also feel constricted and almost claustrophobic sleeping in clothes or pajamas. By eliminating this distraction, you can lower anxiety levels and improve sleep quality.
If your partner also enjoys sleeping naked, try engaging in some skin-to-skin contact before falling asleep. (And no, we’re not talking about sex quite yet). The mere act of skin-on-skin contact triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin which is responsible for feelings of love and safety and may be associated with lower stress levels.
Sleep plays an important role in the health and appearance of your skin. Studies show that lack of sleep and chronic sleep deprivation put you at greater risk of developing wrinkles, dark circles under the eyes, drooping facial skin, and swelling. Delayed sleep or reduced sleep times can negatively impact your immune system and, in turn, your skin’s ability to heal. This leaves you increasingly susceptible to cuts, bruises, and wounds.
Therefore, if sleeping naked helps you achieve better quality sleep, it may also improve the health and look of your skin. The longer you sleep, the more time your skin has to repair and regenerate itself. This can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and promote healthy, younger-looking skin. In some instances, sleeping nude may also reduce skin irritation or breakouts due to excessive sweating.
Prevent Weight Gain
If you’re hesitant about sleeping naked because you’re uncomfortable with your body or your current weight, we’ve got good news. Shedding your clothes at night could actually help you shed some pounds. Research suggests that poor sleep quality is associated with both weight gain and obesity. In fact, adults who sleep less than 5 hours per night are at a greater risk of weight gain. The more sleep you get, the easier it may be for you to maintain a healthy weight.
But that’s not all. Cooler body temperatures are also associated with increased metabolism. The human body burns more calories at colder temperatures. By sleeping naked and keeping your bedroom at the recommended temperature mentioned above, you could help speed up your metabolism, burn more calories while you sleep, and avoid unhealthy weight gain.
Lower the Risk of Certain Diseases
Chronic sleep deprivation and lower sleep duration have also been linked to certain serious illnesses including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. If sleeping naked helps you achieve better quality sleep, you could be reducing your risk of developing these dangerous conditions. Getting sufficient sleep also promotes a healthy immune system, helping ward off illness and other serious health risks.
Supported Vaginal Health
This one is for the ladies. Doctors suggest that sleeping in the nude promotes vaginal health and helps prevent yeast infections. Wearing sweaty underwear or tight-fitting clothing for too long increases your risk of developing a vaginal infection. One reason is that yeast grows in damp, moist, warm areas (yes, like between your legs).
While most women have to wear pants and underwear during the day, nighttime is the perfect time to give your vagina some much-needed breathing room – literally. By shedding your clothes and sleeping in the nude, you can help air out your vagina, keeping it dry, cool, and healthy.
Increased Male Fertility
Women’s genital areas aren’t the only ones that can benefit from sleeping naked. Countless studies have been done that suggest tight-fitting underwear in men is associated with a lower sperm count. Men who opted for looser-fitting underwear like boxer shorts had a higher sperm concentration and total sperm count than those who had worn tight-fitting briefs. For this reason, sleeping in the nude may increase male fertility.
Plus, it’s a great way to cool off the testicles and maintain a cool, healthy temperature that also promotes sperm health. It’s not just the tight undergarments that can impact sperm health, but increased scrotum temperature was also linked to a decrease in sperm count, vitality, and motility.
Now that you have healthier genitals it’s no surprise that you’ll also see an uptick in your confidence levels. Sleeping nude is a great way to become more comfortable and familiar with your own body. While it may take some getting used to at first, in time, you’ll feel more comfortable in your own skin and more confident both in and out of bed. Sleeping in the nude is a beautiful practice of self-love and appreciation. One study showed that the more time participants spent naked, the higher their self-esteem and overall body image.
Improved Sex Life and Intimacy
This benefit of sleeping naked should come as no surprise. After all, when you climb into bed without clothes on and share your bed intimately with a partner, you’re already halfway to having sex! In fact, studies show that couples who sleep naked have 75% more sex than their clothed counterparts.
But the intimate benefits of sleeping in the nude extend far beyond the physical act of sex. As mentioned above, skin-to-skin contact with your partner creates feelings of love, safety, and security. This can help you achieve a deeper, more intimate connection, reducing stress and helping you feel more fulfilled. Human touch is good for both the mind and body.
The Potential Downside of Sleeping Naked
Sleeping naked may not be all it’s cracked up to be. While many people report feeling more free, confident, and relaxed, there are a few potential downsides to this practice that you should consider before stripping down.
More Bacteria on the Bed Sheets
Sleeping naked isn’t always glamorous. When you remove your clothes before getting into bed, you’re also removing the barrier between your naked skin and the bed sheets. According to one study, the average person passes gas between 13 and 21 times per day, including in their sleep.
As if that’s not unpleasant enough, when you pass gas, your body excretes small amounts of fecal matter. When you’re wearing underwear and pajamas, they help catch this bacteria. When you sleep naked, any fecal matter your body eliminates lands directly on your sheets. Or, even worse, whoever is sharing your bed. Because of this, it’s suggested if you sleep naked that you change your sheets every few days, the same way you would your pajamas.
Another thing to consider is how many skin cells you shed in a day (1.5 grams or enough to feed 1 million dust mites). Without a barrier between your body and the bed, your skin cells are collecting directly in the area where you sleep. You’re also creating a feast for dust mites, which is an unpleasant thought as you climb into bed.
Sleeping naked can also increase your risk of developing certain allergies. That’s because sleeping in the nude instantly increases the number of bacteria found in your bed. Beds with naked occupants have higher levels of mold, mildew, dust mites, and pet dander that permeate into the mattress. Over time, these can trigger allergies in some people. Sensitive skin is another factor to consider. Without comfortable, loose-fitting pajamas to protect your sensitive skin from the bed sheets, you may experience a rash or skin irritation.
Risk of Getting Cold
While staying cool at night promotes quality sleep, you want to maintain a comfortable temperature that’s not too hot or too cold. Sleeping naked can help prevent overheating and night sweats but it may also result in you getting a little too chilly.
When your body temperature gets too low it can weaken your immune system, putting you at greater risk of getting sick. Although cold temperatures alone don’t often trigger illness, some studies suggest that certain viruses, like the rhinovirus, replicate more quickly when exposed to cooler temperatures. If you plan to sleep naked in the winter or colder climates, be sure to invest in warm bedding or engage your partner in skin-to-skin contact.
Embarrassing Encounters for Sleep Walkers
Sleepwalking is fairly common, with nearly 5% of adults experiencing it regularly. If you’ve ever found yourself in the kitchen, living room, or another room during the middle of the night with no recollection of how you got there, you may have had an episode of somnambulism that occurs during non-REM sleep.
While these encounters are disturbing enough, if you sleep naked, you may find yourself in an even more embarrassing or compromising position. This is especially true if you live with roommates or have children. Waking up naked anywhere other than your bedroom could be traumatizing for all those involved. If you’re prone to sleepwalking, you may want to reconsider sleeping in the nude.
Things to Consider Before Sleeping Naked
Are you intrigued by the idea of sleeping naked and might want to give it a try? Here are a few things to consider before ditching your PJs for your birthday suit.
- Adjust your thermostat to keep the bedroom cool enough but not too cold
- Make sure your bedmate is comfortable with your choice or see if they want to join you for some skin-on-skin contact
- Invest in quality bedding that helps regulate your body temperature and prevent skin irritation
- Have extra sets of sheets handy since you’ll be washing and changing them more often
- Considering taking nighttime showers to prevent unwanted dirt and bacteria from transferring to your sheets
- Parents with small children should consider keeping a rob nearby in the event of unexpected nighttime visitors
- Think twice if you’re prone to sleepwalking and don’t live alone
Tips for Sleeping Naked
Are you ready to take the plunge, ditch your clothes, and try sleeping naked? It can be quite an adjustment to go from sleeping fully clothed to sleeping in the nude. Check out these tips for making the transition.
- Start by sleeping in a loose-fitted shirt or just underwear for the first few nights as your body gets acclimated to wearing fewer clothes.
- Make sure you have the right bedding. It should be comfortable against your bare skin, light enough to prevent sweating, but heavy enough to keep you warm.
- Talk to your partner or bedmate about your plan and see if they’re interested in joining you.
- Start lowering your body temperature slowly before getting naked and getting into bed. Things like taking a warm bath or shower, cooling off your pulse points using an ice pack, and keeping your bedroom cool throughout the day are all effective techniques. Make them a part of your nightly wind-down routine.
- Try sleeping nude and see how you feel. If it’s uncomfortable or causes you more stress than relief, then perhaps it’s not the right choice for you.
Lose Your Clothes and Gain Better Sleep Habits
With at least half of the adult population sleeping in the nude, there must be something to it. While there’s no scientific research to support the claim that sleeping naked is good for your health, if losing your clothes also helps you shed stress, anxiety, and excess weight, it could also be benefiting your health.
Any practice that makes it easier to fall and stay asleep is worth looking into. But it’s also important to only engage in activities that make you comfortable. Even if your bedmate swears by it, sleeping naked may simply be too uncomfortable (or cold) for you – and that’s okay!
The good news is that there are plenty of other ways to achieve quality sleep and improve your sleep habits. Click here to discover more.