Last year, Forbes published an op-ed by Travis Bradberry championing an unusual argument: All you have to do to be healthier, wealthier, better rested, and slimmer is to sleep naked. Only eight percent of sleepers report going to bed in the nude every night, he says— everyone else is missing out.
Bradberry’s argument is that sleeping naked is one of the easiest ways to keep the core body temperature low, which is important to sound sleep. The good night’s sleep is what produces all the other effects: better brain function, lower cortisol levels, and even a slimmer waistline.
For that last claim, he cites a National Institute of Health study indicating that keeping the core body temperature low overnight leads the body to burn more fat to stay warm as you sleep.
It’s a common enough argument. Men’s Health Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Elite Daily, The Huffington Post, and a slew of other publications have published articles promising that sleeping in the buff will do everything from making your hair shinier to improve your sex life, all because it creates a better night’s sleep. But does sleeping naked actually produce a better night’s sleep?
The research indicates that it can, but it’s certainly not necessary. “…Wearing heavy blankets or clothing to bed will impede the release of growth hormone, which means you won’t burn fat while you sleep or benefit from night-time repair of your bones, skin, and muscles, said Natasha Turner, a naturopathic doctor, in an article for the Canadian edition of The Huffington Post.
But there are lots of ways to avoid these problems without throwing away your pajamas, and in fact, there are no studies that show that sleeping in pajamas is bad for you. Neither are there any studies to show that sleeping naked is bad for you.
Rather, it’s a question of preference. If the sleep shirt you’ve had for years is what produces your best night’s sleep, then that’s the best option. The important thing to consider is how your pajamas affect your overnight temperature.
If your sleepwear is making you hot, try switching to a lighter fabric or shorter sleeves, or adjusting the temperature in your room. Then again, if you’re feeling adventurous, it may be worth experimenting with sleeping nude to see if it makes for sounder sleep. Bradberry swears it will make you more confident, though there’s no hard data to back that up.
Sleeping naked does have one proven advantage for couples: increased skin to skin contact promotes the production of oxytocin, says Turner, which lowers cortisol and blood pressure, and promotes intimacy. Whether that creates a better night’s sleep is up to the couple to decide.
Featured image: George Rudy/Shutterstock
Joe Auer is the editor of Mattress Clarity. He mainly focuses on mattress reviews and oversees the content across the site.
He likes things simple and take a straightforward, objective approach to his reviews. Joe has personally tested nearly 250 mattresses and always recommends people do their research before buying a new bed. He has been testing mattresses for over 5 years now, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to mattress selection. He has been cited as an authority in the industry by a number of large publications.
Joe has an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and an MBA from Columbia University.
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