The people have spoken. Their preference between sleeping nude and sleepwear is clear. Cover it up! Only an estimated 8% of the population prefers being naked between the sheets. But wait just a minute before you commit to pajamas for good.
There’s a significant body of research that suggests naked is the healthier way to go in bed. It may even be better for your love life. “When you and partner both sleep naked, the skin to skin contact will release oxytocin, the natural feel-good hormone, and it even reduces blood pressure,” explains Dr. Fran Walfish, a Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist, author, The Self-Aware Parent.
And given the impact of body temperature on quality of sleep, going nude might help keep skin temperature from over-heating to a level where it causes disruption and an increase in early morning waking, according to a study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
There’s also evidence that spending time au naturel could boost happiness and confidence levels, as research from Goldsmiths University of London attests. Could it make you wealthier, too? Some researchers have made that leap because there’s evidence that people with self-confidence tend to have higher incomes.
It’s not surprising that the American Association for Nude Recreation is all for it. Public relations/communications Alexandra Schuttauf says, “Go to sleep with nothing between you and the sheets. Multiple recent studies have linked weight gain and obesity to lack of sleep. And one of the most popular ways that people are getting a better night’s sleep is by shedding their pajamas and inhibitions and reaping the rewards of increased comfort.”
Despite what science says, shyness still rules. Just 31% of American men shed their clothes for bedtime versus 47% for British gents, according to one study.
Both American and British women feel the same away about sleeping naked with just 14% and 17% respectively participating. In another study published in Allure.com, there’s one possible explanation: 31% of female pajama wearers said that didn’t want their partners to see them in the nude.
Some people prefer a happy medium and opt for being partially clothed at bedtime. About 53% of Americans prefer this middle ground, as cited by Men’s Fitness magazine.
But you should be aware that wearing any type of clothing to bed does pose some challenges and even risks. Microbes from our skin cells can be transferred to fabric and could cause infections if they get into cuts. It’s important to exercise good jammies hygiene and wash whatever you don regularly – at least once a week.
One survey revealed that 38% of men said underwear was their garb of choice, while 37% of women opted for a two-piece pajama set. Washing frequency was another story though. Men waited an average of 13 nights before laundering their sleepwear, while women stuck to the same sleep outfit for 17.
What’s the bottom (pun intended) line in the nude versus prude sleep conundrum? According to Michael Larson, a member of the Sleep Research Society, a professor at the University of Colorado and founder and CEO of Sleep Shepherd, you should do what you like.
“While there are issues of body temperature and comfort that come into play, at the end of the day (literally), sleep is all about slowed brainwave activity,” he says. “Feeling uptight is a sure way to keep our brain humming and not sleeping; so people should sleep in, or out of, whatever makes them feel most relaxed.”
David Ezell, CEO and clinical director of Darien Wellness, a counseling and mental wellness group in Darien, Connecticut, has a slightly different view. “When I am evaluating clients who are in my office suffering from insomnia, what to wear, or not wear, is a frequent topic in my initial evaluation and treatment plan. I always suggest trying a change for a number of nights and seeing what the outcome is.”
He agrees with Larson that there is no “should” on the subject. “Throw that word out the window and let comfort be your guide.”
And that’s the naked truth…
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