Even if you’re a habitual pajama wearer, you’ve probably heard someone swear up and down about the benefits of sleeping naked. It’s freeing, it’s sexy, it’s somehow not as cold as you think it would be, they say. But is it right for you? After all, nighttime nudity seems to be one of those things that people are either totally in favor of or just can’t get behind.
For some people, it’s simply a matter of personal preference—they don’t want to overheat in bed, or they like sleeping skin-to-skin with their partner, or maybe they’ve just never found a pair of pj’s that is actually all that comfortable.
But what about the alleged health benefits of sleeping naked? Some people believe that going commando at bedtime comes with a range of perks—a few of which might surprise you. So can this practice really help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, bring you closer to your partner, or even improve your vaginal health?
While there’s not a whole lot of scientific research on the effects of sleeping naked, what you wear—or don’t wear—to bed is only one of many variables that could potentially affect the quantity and quality of your rest. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine1 recommends around seven to nine hours of sleep each night for most adults, though that’s a general number, and getting more or less than that can still be healthy based on various factors. But we do know that quality sleep, overall, is crucial for good health, and consistently not getting enough of it has the potential to impact your physical and mental health in multiple ways, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
With that said, there are lots of ways to optimize your sleep for the best rest possible, and each person will have to experiment with what works for them. What you choose to wear to bed may seem like a small detail in the grand scheme of sleep hygiene, but it’s possible it can play a role for some people. So, here’s everything you need to know about the potential benefits of sleeping naked.
Is it healthy to sleep naked?
There isn’t much data specifically looking at the health benefits of sleeping naked, but if you find that sleeping in the nude leads to better quality or quantity of sleep for you, then it can absolutely improve your health. Disrupted sleep has been associated with an increased risk of health conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression, according to the CDC. So, really, whatever helps you sleep at night (including a lack of clothes) can also help your health.
So what about those claims that sleeping sans underwear will help your vaginal health? While it’s true that spending too much time in tight-fitting or restrictive clothes can be a risk factor for yeast infections, there’s no data to show that people who sleep naked get fewer vaginal infections. Again, if it works for you, great! But if you’re prone to yeast infections, keep getting them, and wonder if changing up your sleeping gear could help you out, a good bet would be making sure you’re wearing cotton underwear and checking in with a health care provider to find out what’s going on.
If you have an inflammatory skin condition like eczema or psoriasis, it’s possible that sleeping naked can be helpful for your skin, particularly if you have lesions (dry or scaly patches) in areas where your clothes rub. “Sleeping in the nude may give your skin a break, allowing it to breathe and repair while you sleep,” board-certified dermatologist Rhonda Q. Klein, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.D., partner and co-owner at Modern Dermatology PC in Connecticut, tells SELF. Just make sure you clean your sheets with hypoallergenic detergent as often as you would your pj’s.
Finally, let’s talk relationship health. The sleeping-nude-is-good-for-your-bond claim typically hinges on the role of skin-to-skin touch, which has been shown to increase the release of oxytocin, according to research published in Psychosomatic Medicine.2 But every couple is going to have their own comfort levels when it comes to sleeping naked. Maybe it’s what feels most natural to both of you, so there’s no question you’ll sleep naked and cuddle basically all night long. Maybe you get your best rest in loose, comfy pj’s, but your partner loves to sleep naked. Maybe you sleep in separate beds so what you each wear to bed has less of a physical impact on the other! When it comes to your relationship, what you wear to bed is just one potential factor that contributes to the strength of your bond.