It is no big secret that sleep plays an important role in our health. Without sufficient sleep, our bodies begin to break down. Getting less than seven or eight hours of sleep each night, especially over time, has been linked to some serious health issues.
A 2010 study published in the Annals of Epidemiology showed that regularly getting less than six hours of sleep per night can lead to a higher risk of both heart disease and type 2 diabetes. For their study, researchers asked participants to fill out questionnaires about their health and sleep patterns. The researchers analyzed six years’ worth of data from just under 1,500 participants, all between the ages of 35 and 79.
On their results, the study authors wrote, “Short sleep duration was associated with an elevated risk of IFG [incident-impaired fasting glucose].” Not only can this elevated blood sugar lead to heart disease and diabetes, it can also lead to weight gain, which comes with its own risk of debilitating health issues, as well.
There are many things we can do to encourage better sleep. Along with eating right, getting plenty of exercise, and removing electronic devices from your bedroom, you could also try sleeping naked! It’s not a joke — sleeping in the nude may actually help you to get better Z’s!
The following are five reasons to consider ditching the pj’s for your birthday suit!
It may encourage greater intimacy
Perhaps the most obvious reason to sleep naked is that it may help to amplify the intimacy and excitement between you and your partner. Not only can sleeping naked next to your loved one be exciting, it can also release oxytocin, often referred to as the “love hormone.”
A 2009 study published by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden, had the following to say about oxytocin:
“Oxytocin can induce anti-stress-like effects such as reduction of blood pressure and cortisol levels. It increases pain thresholds, exerts an anxiolytic-like effect and stimulates various types of positive social interaction. In addition, it promotes growth and healing.”
So, the release of this hormone can be beneficial to not only your relationship, but also your health!
It can keep you cool
Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to sleep when it gets too hot? That’s because the core temperature of your body needs to be cool in order for you to sleep well. The optimal room temperature for sleep is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Any warmer than that, and your body may not be able to cool as much as it needs to for truly restful sleep.
One great way to cool down — which saves on air conditioning costs — is to ditch the clothes! Then, all you need is a light blanket — or even a sheet — and you’re good to snooze!
It may help relieve insomnia
A body of research is finding that regulating sleep temperature may bring some relief to sufferers of insomnia. According to Dr. Cameron Van den Heuvel, a research fellow involved in a 2009 study of body temperature and sleep performed by the University of South Australia’s Centre for Sleep Research:
“Temperature regulation is a significant factor in each of the two types of insomnia. The difference is when the insomnia occurs. People with sleep onset insomnia have difficulty initiating sleep at the beginning of the night, taking two to four hours each night in the worst cases; while people with sleep maintenance insomnia fall asleep easily but have trouble staying asleep, waking up multiple times during the night… In both types of insomnia, sleep is not restful and sufferers are tired during the day.”
Dr. Van den Heuvel adds:
“Studies of sleep onset insomniacs show that they consistently have a warmer core body temperature immediately before initiating sleep, when compared with normal healthy adults. This results in a state of heightened arousal that prevents them from falling asleep when they go to bed, probably because they have to wait for their bodies to lose the heat that’s keeping them awake. We’re only talking about a half to one degree but that small temperature change can result in significant differences in arousal between insomniacs and people without sleeping problems.”
Based on this research, it may be worth shedding your clothes, as well as that heavy blanket, if you struggle with insomnia, or have any difficulty falling asleep at night.
It can help relieve stress
Not only can sleeping naked boost oxytocin levels, it can also help to relieve stress by lowering cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone commonly referred to as the “stress hormone,” and when levels are chronically spiked, health problems can arise, such as a propensity towards high blood pressure, weight gain, and a compromised immune system.
During the night, cortisol levels naturally lower, and then rise again to prepare you for wakefulness. However, if sleep is cut short, they may not have time to lower again before you wake up. For this reason, making sure that you get enough sleep is key, so that your cortisol levels have time to go down before you wake up — one sign of a good night’s sleep.
As mentioned before, one way to promote this is to keep your body cool — hence sleeping naked.
It can keep you looking and feeling young
During sleep a variety of growth hormones, as well as anti-aging hormones such as melatonin, are released. These hormones serve to keep us looking and feeling young. To encourage the optimal release of these growth hormones, we need to get those seven to eight hours of sleep.
And again, sleeping naked couldn’t hurt — and may help a lot!
In addition to the above-listed benefits, sleeping naked lets your skin breathe, so you may be less susceptible to heat rashes and skin breakouts, and it may lower the chance of women developing a yeast infection, as the vagina is kept cool and dry. Also, it means less laundry — and who needs to do unnecessary laundry!
Even if it seems odd, try ditching the pajamas for a few nights, and see if you sleep better! You may be surprised!
—The Alternative Daily