When it comes to nighttime attire, the division runs fairly deep: There are those who wear pajamas and there are those who sleep in the buff.
And those who lose the clothes before hopping in bed may be onto something.
Of course, the science is bit shoddy: “There are no double-blind, randomized control studies speaking to the benefits of sleeping naked,” notes Rajkumar Dasgupta, M.D., a sleep expert and an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. (Though, we think that’d make for an awesome research project.)
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But nonetheless, the health perks of sleeping in the nude do exist. Here, five reasons to leave pajamas behind for good — or at least for a night or two.
1) You’ll cool your body down. And improve your memory.
“In general, body temperature cools down when you lay down and warms up when you get up,” says Dasgupta. Problem is, everything from exercising too close to bedtime to taking a hot shower the second before you try to sleep can keep your body from cooling down appropriately. What helps: wearing fewer clothes.
Keeping your body cool can be the key to avoiding multiple middle-of-the-night wake-ups and hitting those deep (and restorative) stages of sleep, called REM sleep and DELTA sleep, which are important for memory, says Dasgupta. “It’s not as much about the clothing itself, but more about body temperature.” So having less clothing might help you fall asleep faster and reach deep stages of sleep you might miss out on if you’re sweating your butt off.
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2) You’ll keep your weight in check.
Reaching those deeper stages of sleep doesn’t just help your mind store memories. In deep stages of sleep, you secrete more of a hormone called leptin — sometimes called the satiety hormone — which can help you keep your appetite at bay and keep weight off, notes Dasgupta. So what happens if you log uneasy, unrestful sleep and miss out on those deeper stages? Your body produces more of a hormone called ghrelin, which works in creating feelings of hunger. In fact, a single night of sleep deprivation is enough to up levels of ghrelin (and in turn feelings of hunger). Even more, one study conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that men who slept in a cool environment for a month saw improvements in their metabolism.
3) You’ll save money.
“When we talk about lowering the temperature by sleeping naked, you’re controlling temperature in your body — not in the room,” notes Dasgupta. And forgoing a shirt and shorts is a helluva lot cheaper than cranking up the A.C. Are we right? (It’s also cheaper than products like the BedJet that retail for hundreds of dollars and work to warm up or cool down your bed.)
4) You’ll have more sex.
While far from scientific, a 2014 poll of 1,000 British people found that those who slept naked were happier with their relationships than those who dressed up for bed — which meant, yep, more of a chance of getting lucky, too. “There is some pop-science, anecdotal data about the release of oxytocin (often called ‘the love hormone’),” says Dasgupta. Fewer clothes, more oxytocin, more sex?
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5) You’ll have healthier sperm.
Want to keep your swimmers in shape? One study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Baltimore in 2015 found that sleeping in boxer shorts — specifically tighter ones — could up the temp of the testicles, damaging sperm production. Specifically, researchers found that guys who snoozed in the nude had 25 percent less ‘DNA fragmentation’ in their sperm than men who wore tight briefs to sleep.