Yes, finally it’s time for bed. I love a quick, warm shower, followed by some magnesium spray with lavender and coconut oil. Then, I slip into some super soft socks, organic cotton sleep pants and a baggy, well-worn, Life is Good T-shirt. I am totally cozy and comfy, ready for a great night’s sleep.
I got into a discussion with a good friend of mine the other day about bedtime routines and sleeping, and she mentioned that for years she has been sleeping in the buff. My first thought was, “Oh, that would be soooo cold.” However, she assured me that once you get used to it, it is really a “freeing” feeling and not cold at all.
I was still skeptical at this time as I do love my cozy socks, pants and T-shirt. After all, they define me… a baggy sweatshirt and baseball cap complete “me” each morning before my day begins. For 50 years, I have retired to bed clothed (well, I can’t say that for sure for all my infant years)… however, for as long as I can remember, sleeping naked just wasn’t something that made sense to me. When I think about it, there are an interminable number of anxieties that run through my head like:
- What if someone breaks into my house and I am naked?
- What if I kick off all my covers and someone finds me asleep naked in the morning?
- What if I get up to go to the bathroom and forget I am naked and meet one of my kids in the hallway? (Now that’s awkward!)
However, when I look at my what if’s, they all stem from one thing — a fear of someone seeing me naked. Whether or not that translates into a body image issue is interesting to say the least. Do you share the same fear as I do?
I know that Adam and Eve were comfortable naked in the garden, but after the fall they became ashamed. Maybe that sense of shame is built into all of us? For whatever reason, I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around going without my cozy pj’s at night.
Benefits to sleeping naked
As it turns out, there are supposedly many benefits to going pj-free at night. Here is a quick summary of some of these benefits:
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.” 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. It may also lower the chance of women developing a yeast infection, as the vagina is kept cool and dry. And it means less laundry — and who needs to do unnecessary laundry!
Where do you stand?
So, where do you stand with regards to sleeping pj free? Do you, would you, or could you do it? Take a look at our Facebook poll to see how others feel. You can also cast your vote if you would like.
I am still unsure, although I love all the benefits it appears to promote. Maybe, just maybe, I will get daring enough to leave my cozy pj’s in the drawer and give it a try!
Susan is the Content Director at The Alternative Daily, a Certified Health Coach, Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor and Master Gardener. With an extensive knowledge of whole foods and wellness, Susan has authored over 3,000 articles and numerous e-books. She presently lives in the mountains of Arizona where she enjoys hiking, biking, gardening and pursuing a healthy lifestyle with her three daughters and numerous animals.