Many people believe they were born with the only pajamas needed for a good night’s sleep, but here’s the naked truth: No research directly confirms that sleeping in the buff leads to better slumber.
There is, however, some validity behind the idea of sleeping naked — namely regarding how a cooler skin temperature improves sleep quality.
So, should you consider stripping down at bedtime before sliding under the sheets? Let’s look at the potential benefits (and risks) with behavioral sleep disorders specialist Michelle Drerup, PsyD, DBSM.
Is sleeping naked better?
There are some possible perks to nude sleeping … so, maybe? Here are a few reasons why you might want to slip off your clothes before slipping off to sleep.
Falling asleep faster
Your body naturally works to lower its thermostat to doze off at night through its circadian rhythm, which regulates your sleep/wake cycle. The faster you cool off, the faster you typically catch some ZZZs, says Dr. Drerup.
That’s also one of the reasons why sleep experts recommended that you keep your bedroom temperature between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celsius to 19.44 degrees Celsius) for optimal snoozing.
Improved sleep quality
Ever toss and turn in bed because you’re too hot? Sleeping naked certainly removes any possibility of pajama-induced overheating interfering with a good night’s rest. It’s the absolute final move in shedding layers to stay cool.
“There’s no question that cooler is better than warmer for overall sleeping,” says Dr. Drerup.
And getting enough rest is key to … well, just about everything in day-to-day life. Waking up refreshed can help you manage stress more effectively, improve focus, boost performance and make you a more pleasant person.
For women: reduced risk of yeast infections
Tight-fitting underwear can trap heat and moisture between your legs. What makes a yeast infection thrive? Yep — heat and moisture.
Sleeping naked (or even in loose-fitting cotton bottoms) allows for some air circulation around your vagina. Keeping the area cooler and drier may help reduce your chances of getting a yeast infection, too.
For men: potential fertility boost
Heat isn’t a friend of male fertility. Regular exposure to higher temperatures for your testicles can cause sperm counts to drop. Wearing underwear that keeps things packed tight doesn’t exactly offer a cooling effect.
Studies show that men who wear boxers have a higher sperm count than their buddies in briefs. So if loose-fitting boxes help that much, imagine what 8 hours of no clothing might do.
Reasons to keep your PJs on
Sleepwalkers may want to give the idea some extra thought to going au natural to avoid any potential awkward encounters, notes Dr. Drerup.
And if you’re not a fan of doing laundry, consider this: Your washing schedule for bedding may need to increase with more skin-to-sheet contact. (Gross fact: The skin cells you shed in a day can feed 1 million dust mites. You don’t want to turn your bed into their buffet.)
Can you be cool and clothed?
Going to bed “nearly” naked while wearing lightweight and loose-fitting garments can bring you similar quality sleep results as taking everything off. “Tank tops and boxer-style briefs don’t possess a ton of warming qualities,” says Dr. Drerup.
And while being cool is desirable for sleep, you also don’t want to be cold. There’s even evidence that wearing socks to bed to warm your tootsies can help you drift off to sleep.
So, which is it: off or on?
Ultimately, what you wear to sleep is a personal choice. “There’s no proven benefit or harm to sleeping naked,” says Dr. Drerup. “Just do what feels right and then rest easy with your decision.”