You slide between the sheets, nothing between you and the Egyptian cotton. Your body finally free, you slip easily into a deep, restful sleep.
Loads of news stories claim sleeping naked has incredible health benefits, and it’s something that everyone should experience. People say that shedding pajamas can reduce stress, improve relationships, help you sleep better, and that it’s great for the environment.
The science backing all this up, however, is not so clear.
Cortisol levels are one way scientists measure stress. The higher they are, presumably the more stressed out someone is. They also measure levels of the hormone oxytocin, a chemical our brains release when we’re happy and building relationships (as well as at other times).
Some studies have found that cuddling can decrease cortisol levels and increase oxytocin levels, but the couples in those studies weren’t necessarily naked. Scientists haven’t studied whether cuddling in the nude increases oxytocin more than cuddling in clothes.
The claim with the most science backing is that sleeping naked is great for lowering your body temperature. Research has shown that humans need to be a little colder when we sleep in order to get the best rest. (Studies have concluded that the ideal room temperature range is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.)
But how much do pajamas really raise your body temperature? In the summer especially, they’re usually light and airy. A more effective way to be colder when you sleep is probably to lower the thermostat.
That’s why the claim that sleeping naked is good for the environment is a little silly, because ditching a tiny amount of clothes to be cooler (presumably without cranking up the AC) likely won’t make that much of a difference.
The bottom line, science-wise, is that sleeping naked could be great for you. But we’re just not sure about that yet. (Perhaps it’s no surprise that people aren’t lining up to fund studies on the topic.)
If you love sleeping naked, good on you! If it makes you more anxious and therefore impedes your sleep, it’s probably not the best option.
And if you haven’t tried it, at least give it a go. You may not know what you’re missing.
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