Experts have not reliably identified how many U.S. adults regularly sleep without wearing clothing. However, many people claim they feel more comfortable sleeping nude or believe they sleep better when naked.
Very few research studies have examined the health benefits of sleeping naked. For this reason, most claims made about how sleeping nude affects wellness come from individual experience. We explore reasons some people choose to sleep naked.
Should You Sleep Naked?
Since there isn’t much scientific research on the benefits of sleeping nude, the choice to do so is generally one of personal preference. Different people sleep naked for different reasons.
More Comfortable Sleep
Some people find it more comfortable to sleep naked instead of wearing pajamas, and many claim nude sleeping helps them sleep better. Research has not yet examined if sleeping naked improves sleep. That said, if sleeping naked seems to help you obtain adequate sleep, then it’s probably worth doing.
Experts recommend adults sleep at least seven hours each night. Studies suggest that over one-third of U.S. adults do not get an adequate amount of sleep. The importance of sleep, however, is undeniable. Sleep promotes growth and cell repair, good heart health, and blood sugar balance. Sleeping also helps the brain learn, remember, and store information.
Cooler Body Temperature
The temperature of a person’s sleeping environment plays an important role in their ability to sleep well. Being in a space that is too warm or cool can negatively impact sleep. In addition to room temperature, the bedding a sleeper uses and the clothing they wear affects their temperature as they sleep.
Temperature affects sleep partly due to daily bodily fluctuations called circadian rhythms. These 24-hour cycles impact sleep, metabolism, and hormone production. Cues from the environment, like light and temperature, impact circadian rhythms that determine when a person feels like sleeping or being awake.
A person’s core temperature drops when they are preparing to fall asleep. External factors, such as room temperature and bedding, help to trigger this change. When this body temperature drop doesn’t occur, a person may have trouble sleeping. Cooler air temperatures may help people fall asleep faster.
Experts have found that the ideal room temperature for most sleepers falls between 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. A sleeper’s skin temperature is generally between 88 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, due to clothing and bedding. Studies show that sleeping individuals unconsciously try to expose more of their skin to the air when room temperatures rise.
Keeping the bedroom cool and using just enough bedding can promote the optimal temperature for sleep. However, if you are still feeling hot at night, having more skin exposed to the air may help you cool off.
Benefits of Skin-to-Skin Contact
Sleeping naked with a partner may potentially provide benefits by prompting the body to release a hormone called oxytocin. Although researchers haven’t directly studied the connection between oxytocin and sleeping naked, humans have been found to release oxytocin during sex, massage, mother and infant skin-to-skin contact, and positive interactions with others.
The release of oxytocin can reduce stress, increase the bond between the people interacting, and potentially promote healing and good health. If you do sleep nude with a partner, use pleasant touch, like massage or cuddling, to increase the likelihood of experiencing benefits of oxytocin.
Self-Esteem and Mental Health
For some people, being naked around others can increase the appreciation they feel for their own body. People who feel good about their bodies enjoy better physical and mental health.
Researchers haven’t studied how sleeping nude with a partner affects self-esteem or body appreciation. However, studies show engaging in activity with others while nude can improve body image. If sleeping nude helps you feel better about your body, that may prompt other mental and physical health benefits.
There is no evidence directly linking sleeping naked to improved fertility. But a few studies have found that long-term exposure to high temperatures may negatively impact sperm production. Although it has not been proven, some suggest that wearing tight underwear may also reduce sperm count.
The scrotum must stay 1 to 2 degrees cooler than the rest of the body for the testes to produce sperm. Brief temperature changes, such as those that occur during a hot bath or while wearing tight clothing, do not usually impact male fertility. However, frequent exposure to heat via hot tub or sauna use and infertility appear to be connected.
More research is needed in order to draw conclusions about sleeping nude and male fertility. That said, sleeping without underwear on may help a person avoid having their scrotum constricted or overheated as they sleep.
Wearing tight-fitting underwear is a risk factor for developing vaginal yeast infections. Yeast infections are caused by a fungus that thrives in warm, moist environments. Wearing loose, breathable underwear allows air to circulate, preventing the yeast from growing.
Researchers have not directly studied how sleeping nude affects vaginal health. Sleeping nude may allow a person to avoid wearing tight underwear and help them keep their body cool, both of which may help reduce the likelihood of a yeast infection.
Things to Consider Before Sleeping Naked
While the benefits of sleeping naked outweigh the drawbacks for some people, nude sleeping is not right for everyone. For example, sleeping naked might not be a good option for those who tend to get cold at night, or people who dislike sleeping with blankets.
Individuals with dust mite allergies who want to sleep naked may benefit from using hypoallergenic sheets, pillowcases, and mattresses. Hypoallergenic bedding is made from tightly woven fabric that prevents dust mites and other allergens from passing through.
Researchers have not directly studied how sleeping nude affects bedding or the presence of dust mites. However, dust mites are drawn to shed skin. They often colonize soft surfaces that trap skin particles, like bedding and rugs. Dust mites are also a common trigger for respiratory allergies and asthma.
Tips for Sleeping Naked
If you want to give sleeping naked a try, try these tips to make the transition easier.
- Find your ideal temperature: The clothing you wear to bed impacts your body temperature as you sleep. For this reason, you might want a warmer room temperature when sleeping nude compared to the room temperature you prefer when wearing pajamas.
- Choose the right bedding: When you sleep naked, more of your skin directly touches your bedding. Look for natural, moisture wicking, or antibacterial fabrics to keep you dry and comfortable. If you experience respiratory allergies, opt for hypoallergenic sheets and pillows that reduce dust mites.
- Consider your privacy: If you want to sleep naked but are concerned about being seen by family members or roommates, close or lock your bedroom door at night. Keep a bathrobe or cover-up close by your bed in case you need to get up at night.
- Wash bedding often: When you sleep nude, there are more opportunities for your body oils and odors to get on your bedding. Consider washing your sheets and blankets more often than usual while you are foregoing pajamas.
- Do what feels right: Not everyone prefers sleeping naked. If sleeping in the nude doesn’t feel comfortable for you, wearing pajamas might be a better option.
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