Sleep: We all love it, want more of it and want to improve it. But did you know that ditching your sleepwear and going to bed in nothing but your birthday suit can actually help you get the most out of your slumber?
There's a mounting body of evidence revealing the immense benefits of sleeping naked, which include improvements in sexual, mental and physical health. Here are seven research-backed reasons you should be sleeping naked — starting tonight.
1. It Can Help Improve Sleep Quality
When it comes to sleep, quantity and quality are far from the same. Sleeping soundly through the night feels much better the next day than tossing and turning, half awake and half asleep.
But here's the thing: Sleeping in the nude can help you out. Sleeping naked lets your body dissipate excess heat from your core — like a radiator — and this allows your overall body temperature to fall enough for sleep to initiate quickly and progress smoothly through the night.
"When people sleep naked, it makes it easier for the body to cool down and also produce more melatonin, which is the hormone you need to go into deep, recuperative sleep," says Natasha Turner, naturopathic doctor and author of "The Hormone Diet." She also recommends sleeping in as dark a room as possible in addition to ditching your PJs for optimal hormonal benefits.
2. It Contributes to Weight Management
It may sound like a lofty claim, but hear this out: When you sleep naked, the body loses temperature more rapidly under the cooler condition (as described above), and this can result in weight loss.
"Sleeping naked means you will cool down more efficiently when you sleep, and that encourages the release of hormones that rebuild your muscle cells, skin cells and bone cells while you're asleep," says Dr. Turner.
The cooling effect of sleeping naked also triggers a physiological response that encourages the production of brown fat and causes an increase in body metabolism in an attempt to maintain a constant body temperature. The increased metabolism burns more calories and can boost weight-loss efforts.
3. It Improves Sperm Quality
Alright, guys, here's the naked truth: If you want better sperm quality, start sleeping naked. "There is evidence that moving the testes away from a constantly warm body can help with sperm counts," says Chris Winter, M.D., author of "The Sleep Solution."
Your testes are located outside your body for better and easier temperature regulation. But when you wear tight underwear to sleep and cover yourself with heavy blankets, it results in excessive heat around the testes, which can result in lower sperm count and quality, he says.
This was corroborated by a 2015 study from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Stanford University, which showed that "men who wore boxers during the day and slept naked at night had less DNA fragmentation in their sperm" and, by implication, a higher sperm quality than men who didn't.
4. It Promotes Vaginal Health
Your turn, ladies! Sleeping naked benefits you just as much as it does men. The vagina is naturally a warm and humid place, but when it becomes too warm or humid — through insufficient air flow and excessive heat — it might encourage unwanted microbes like yeast to invade and cause an infection.
So if you're trying to prevent or manage vaginal infections, sleeping naked can help, as it allows more air to reach your lady parts, which helps it stay cooler and dryer.
"Yeast infections thrive under moist conditions, so allowing some time for the vagina to be without restrictive undergarments can be quite helpful," Dr. Winter says. Even if you don't want to go fully nude, maybe start by going to bed commando.
5. It Ignites Your Sex Life
This one is pretty obvious. Sleep naked with your partner and you're more likely to end up doing more than sleeping. The skin-on-skin contact with your partner encourages the increased production of oxytocin in your brain.
Oxytocin (aka the "feel-good" and bonding hormone) improves sexual responsiveness and the intensity of orgasms. So the more frequently you sleep naked together, the more the release of oxytocin and the more exciting your sex life becomes.
"Sleeping nude with your partner means higher levels of oxytocin, which means you'll likely have more sex," says Fran Walfish, Psy.D., Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist and author of "The Self-Aware Parent."
6. It Can Help Reduce Blood Pressure
Speaking of oxytocin, it doesn't just help to spark up your sex life, it can also help to reduce your blood pressure. So if you're the type who gets really stressed during the day, try sleeping au naturel and see what happens.
"Oxytocin triumphs against stress and depression, and it even reduces blood pressure!" says Dr. Walfish. Sleeping in the nude with your partner signals your brain to release more oxytocin, which in turn reduces the level of cortisol in your body. And that can help contribute to a reduction in blood pressure.
7. It Boosts Your Mood and Confidence
The more time you spend in the nude, the more comfortable you'll get in your own skin, as shown by a 2008 study published in the Journal of Sex Research. The study revealed that pro-nudity students were more comfortable with their bodies than anti-nudity students and also maintained a more positive outlook toward others.
"As humans, we're not often naked, so sleeping in the nude could help us become more in touch with, and aware of, our body," says Neil Robinson, Sealy UK's sleep spokesperson. "This, in turn, can help us feel more acceptance of ourselves and comfortable in our own skin, increasing body confidence and boosting our mood."