Did you know that sleeping naked can lead to a happier relationship and better physical and mental health?
Yet it seems relatively few people are capitalizing on these fantastic benefits, with a 2012 survey reporting that a mere 8% of Americans sleep au naturel.
Here are eight reasons why the other 92% should ditch the pajamas:
1. Better Sleep Quality
Although you might prefer to snuggle up in a warm and cozy bed, a whole host of research has proven that being cooler leads to a more restful night’s sleep!
According to UniSA’s Centre for Sleep Research, the body needs to drop its core temperature in order for sleep to initiate normally, and failure to do so can lead to insomnia.
What’s more, researchers at the University of Amsterdam found that lowering skin temperature increases the depth of sleep and reduces the number of times you wake up during the night.
Sure, you could wear a ‘cooling cap’ like participants did in a study at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, but it makes much more sense to ditch the flannel pajamas in order to enjoy a peaceful and lengthy slumber.
2. Glowing Skin and Glossy Hair
While we sleep, our bodies regulate two important anti-aging hormones: melatonin and growth hormone. Unfortunately, being too warm at night, or not getting adequate sleep, disrupts their release.
Growth hormone stimulates cell reproduction and regeneration, leading to clearer skin and better hair. But that’s not its only role in the body – growth hormone also strengthens and increases mineralization of bone, increases muscle mass and stimulates the immune system, among many other vital functions.
Melatonin is another powerful hormone which actually helps regulate other hormones. So if our melatonin levels aren’t regulated, it can lead to other hormonal imbalances which can wreak havoc, not only on our appearance, but on our overall sense of wellbeing.
Another role of melatonin is in regulating the body’s natural circadian rhythm – or internal 24-hour clock – which plays a critical role in when we fall asleep and when we wake up…reinforcing the theory that snoozing nude promotes better sleep!
3. Less Stress
High levels of stress for prolonged periods of time lead to a whole host of negative effects such as decreased immunity, lower cognitive function, imbalanced blood sugar levels and an increase in the risk of depression, obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Like other hormones, the stress hormone – cortisol – is regulated as we sleep. The better the quality of our sleep, the greater the opportunity for the body to reset cortisol to optimal levels – reducing unnecessary stress and enabling us to cope better with the real-life stressors we face every day.
Studies have proven that sleep loss actually raises cortisol levels the next evening, meaning we get stuck in a cyclical pattern of poor sleep causing stress which causes more poor sleep!
This frustrating and unhealthy cycle can be mitigated simply by sleeping in the nude which, as we’ve seen, leads to a longer and higher quality sleep – ensuring those who go to bed in their birthday suit awaken calm and ready to face whatever challenges the day may bring.
4. Healthy Weight
Cooling down by ditching the PJs may see you ditch some extra weight too! This weight loss can occur due to a number of different mechanisms.
Firstly, there are two types of fat in the body – brown fat, the kind we need as it generates heat to keep us warm and also accelerates weight loss; and white fat, the kind we work so hard to lose.
According to the Joslin Diabetes Center, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, brown fat is activated when exposed to cold temperatures. More specifically, a study conducted by the US National Institutes of Health found that sleeping in cooler conditions activates more brown fat, helping boost metabolism throughout the day.
Although the increase in brown fat activation may not lead to huge weight losses, it’s well documented that a lack of quality sleep leads to weight gain, thanks to an increase in hunger hormones and cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods.
A third way in which stripping off may see you shed weight – especially around the mid-section – is due to a reduction in cortisol levels, as mentioned above. When cortisol is elevated for extended periods of time, it can increase the amount of visceral fat held on the belly.
5. Improved Relationships
Snuggling up with your significant other doesn’t just build security and connection – it also helps to release oxytocin, the ‘cuddle hormone’.
German researchers believe that oxytocin plays a key role in attraction and monogamy, with other studies finding it helps to diffuse the tension in relationships that can lead to arguments.
Furthermore, in a survey of 1,000 Brits, it was found that those who sleep naked have happier marriages and relationships: 57% of those who sleep in the nude reported being happy in their relationships while just 48% of pajamas wearers did. The increased intimacy and emotional and physical availability of skin-to-skin contact helps a relationship to thrive in today’s stressful world.
Oxytocin also naturally enhances your sense of optimism, trust and self-esteem which further reinforces the bond you share with your significant other.
But skin-on-skin contact doesn’t just boost relationship health. It can have far-reaching physical health benefits too – from lowering blood pressure and heart rate to increasing immune function and relieving pain! Oxytocin has also been proven to calm gastrointestinal inflammation, which reduces the risk of food sensitivities, allergies and more.
6. Greater Self-Confidence and Self-Acceptance
Those who sleep naked naturally become more comfortable in their own skin and foster a healthier body image. This is crucial to self-confidence, self-acceptance and self-worth. Those with a healthy body image are far less likely to suffer from disordered eating or mood-related conditions.
What’s more, these increased levels of self-acceptance and self-confidence will encourage you to face your fears, take on new challenges and maintain a positive mental attitude when life tries to test you.
Once you become more accepting of yourself, you will begin to accept others and foster more varied and deeper connections. For example, University of Central Florida researchers have discovered that pro-nudity students are more accepting of ethnically dis-similar groups when compared with anti-nudity students.
Let’s not forget that the hormone oxytocin can actually make your partner view you as more attractive – which can be a fantastic confidence booster too.
7. Higher Sperm Quality
Napping au naturel can have a positive effect on male fertility according to 2015 research – the first study to suggest such a connection.
The research, carried out by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Stanford University, tracked 500 men for up to 12 months. Researchers documented the underwear choices of participants and monitored the quality of their sperm.
It was found that men who wore boxers during the day and slept naked at night had 25% less DNA fragmentation in their sperm compared with men who wore tight briefs day and night.
Although more studies need to be done, researchers point out that there is no harm in future fathers adopting this night-time routine to increase the chances of conceiving quicker, or more frequently.
Getting too hot at night is also thought to damage testosterone production in men – a hormone that is important for building muscle, increasing muscle mass, and boosting libido and energy.
8. No More Yeast Infections
Sleeping clothed creates a lovely warm, moist environment for bacteria and yeast to thrive – which can lead to all sorts of nasty infections.
For women, this means the vagina doesn’t get adequate ventilation to stave off yeast infections, particularly in those who are prone to them. For men, it can lead to an irritating case of jock itch.
Avoid both these unpleasant conditions, and more, by saying goodbye to tight-fitting night attire…or any night attire at all!
Give it a Try!
Convinced by all the fantastic health benefits that come with sleeping in the nude? Why not give it a try and see for yourself?
Here are a few tips:
- Invest in good bedding. Choosing a comfortable and high quality fabric – such as natural cotton – is sure to make you want to jump into bed without a barrier between your skin and your luxurious new sheets. Always wash bedding frequently to keep them fresh and hygienic.
- Regulate the temperature of the bedroom. As some of the benefits of sleeping naked only arise due to the naturally cooler body temperatures you’ll experience, it doesn’t make sense to dial up the thermostat! A temperature of approximately 65 degrees suits most people.
Keep your extremities warm. The body releases heat through the hands and feet when it’s cooling down before sleep. If you’ve taken a walk in the snow, or had a cold shower just before bed, you can interfere with this process. Getting your body, and particularly your extremities, to normal temperature in the hours before bed is important for optimal sleep.