Your body temperature needs to drop half a degree for you to fall asleep. Sleeping in the buff helps heat from your core dissipate quickly from your skin allowing you to sleep, facilitates calorie-burning metabolism of brown fat, and prevents foul body odor. It also improves sperm quality in men. People with sensitive skin, declining muscle mass (aged) or low basal metabolic rate should avoid going bare.
Sleeping au naturel minus a stitch of clothing isn’t a common choice, but for the many Americans who do (12% according to one national sleep survey), this is second nature. Besides nudists, a lot of mainstream people too choose to sleep in the buff, simply because they find it liberating or just more comfortable. But does this also have any bearing on your health? Could it actually be good for you?
From many accounts, including several studies, much of the benefit of sleeping naked stems from the fact that it lets your body achieve the right temperature to sleep well, allows for better air circulation to different parts of your body, and gives you optimal comfort. And if that wasn’t enough, it may even have a bearing on the reproductive health of men.
Getting That Perfect Sleep-Friendly Temperature
A good night’s rest depends on more than the comfort of your bed. It is hugely influenced by the ambient temperature, the fabric of your sleepwear, and your bed linen. The regulation of sleep is intrinsically associated with thermoregulation. When you fall asleep, your core body temperature typically drops and the skin temperature goes up as heat is dissipated from your core to the outside. Going clothing-free could possibly help the process, allowing the heat trapped in your body to escape easily into the environment. Using an air conditioner or heater to keep the temperature right is not always an option with utility bills putting pressure on incomes. Instead, the answer could be as easy as switching what you wear (or don’t wear) to sleep. As one study found, choosing the appropriate sleepwear for the weather is important and lower temperatures made sleep easier.1
According to the National Sleep Foundation, you need to get your body temperature down by half a degree to drop off to sleep. By skipping your sleepwear, you allow your body to experience a cooler environment and may sleep off quicker and deeper. Of course, sleeping naked is not a year-round option in places with a harsh winter, for instance, unless you maintain your home at warmer temperatures.2
Boost Your Metabolism
Brown fat in the body can help burn calories fast by creating heat and its levels are believed to increase at lower sleeping temperatures, like those when you sleep naked.
One study found that healthy test subjects who slept in a colder room gained a metabolic advantage over time. This translated to a lowered risk of metabolic disorders and even diabetes. Researchers surmised that this could be the body’s way of dealing with the colder temperatures – by producing more brown fat which helped with glucose metabolism.3
Improve Reproductive Health
Wearing tight underwear during the day and at night can impact scrotal temperature in men. This in turn may have a bearing on sperm quality and could influence reproductive health.4
Let Your Body Breathe
Tight fitting clothing, jeans, and slinky underwear might create the perfect silhouette by day, but your body will be crying out for a breather by night. Skipping the pajamas and going to bed nude gives your body a chance to “air.” Sweatiness around places where your undergarments come in contact with your skin, especially at joints in the body, can be annoying at best and exacerbate body odor at worst.
Who May Not Want To Go Naked
Your sleepwear plays it role in giving the body thermal insulation as well as a certain degree of comfort. For anyone with sensitive skin who may find problems with letting their skin come in direct contact with bed linen and duvets, sleeping naked may not be a good idea. Older adults or those with declining muscle mass or low basal metabolic rate could also experience discomfort without sleepwear.
Ultimately, whether you go clothing-free or happily don your pajamas or floaty nightwear is a personal choice that is determined by your own variable heat and the sleeping microclimate in your home.5
References [ + ]
|1, 5.||↑||Shin, Mirim, Mark Halaki, Paul Swan, Angus H. Ireland, and Chin Moi Chow. “The effects of fabric for sleepwear and bedding on sleep at ambient temperatures of 17 c and 22 c.” Nature and science of sleep 8 (2016): 121.|
|2.||↑||2013 International Bedroom Poll: Summary of Findings, National Sleep Foundation.|
|3.||↑||Lee, Paul, Sheila Smith, Joyce Linderman, Amber B. Courville, Robert J. Brychta, William Dieckmann, Charlotte D. Werner, Kong Y. Chen, and Francesco S. Celi. “Temperature-acclimated brown adipose tissue modulates insulin sensitivity in humans.” Diabetes (2014): DB_140513.|
|4.||↑||Jung, A., and H‐C. Schuppe. “Influence of genital heat stress on semen quality in humans.” Andrologia 39, no. 6 (2007): 203-215.|