We're always on the hunt for new routines that improve wellness, and we've been hearing a lot about this one lately: sleeping naked. Not only is going to bed in your birthday suit supposed to boost the quality of your sleep, but it also reportedly helps your skin, your sexual health, and your stress level, among other benefits.
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Considering that most of the U.S. is baking under a heat wave right now, this is definitely the right time of year to give sleeping in the buff a try. But don't chuck your pajamas just yet. First, read up on what experts say about all the ways naked sleep can make you feel better and be healthier.
Sleeping naked helps you fall asleep
The ideal temperature for sound snoozing ranges from 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Sleep Foundation; a cooler sleep environment makes nodding off and staying asleep easier. One way to help your body cool down? Strip down.
“Sleeping cooler does deepen sleep," says William Winter, MD, author of The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How To Fix It. "Also, when we wear bulky clothing, we can have trouble cooling off easily if we get hot at night. Being naked facilitates easier temperature regulation…just pull up the blanket!”
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It can prevent a yeast infection
Ever hear the advice that you should "air out" your private parts at night? There's actually something to this. Yeast infections thrive when conditions are moist, Dr. Winter says, so it makes sense that not having any layers covering your vagina will help reduce excess moisture. "Providing time for the skin to be exposed to the drying effects of air can be helpful, particularly in the case of yeast infections that thrive in damp or moist environments,” he explains.
Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale University School of Medicine, agrees that sleeping in the buff can be beneficial, particularly for women prone to yeast infections. "I do have patients who suffer from chronic yeast infections, so I tell them that this is a thing to try," she says.
Sleeping naked can help calm anxiety
If you're sleeping with someone, that is. It has to do with the way touching your partner triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin, which produces feelings of calmness and security.
“Any kind of pleasant touch and/or massage boosts the oxytocin system,” says Helen Fisher, PhD, a biological anthropologist and senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute. “So cuddling with your partner as you sleep is likely to trigger this oxytocin response. And I think that elevated oxytocin reduces cortisol—the stress hormone.”
It can affect male fertility
If you're trying for a baby, you might want to suggest that your partner skip the boxers or briefs in bed. Semen quality is reportedly better when men don't wear anything when they sleep. It has to do with the way snoozing naked helps lower core body temperature, as research has shown that heat has a negative effect on sperm. “Yes, this is a common factor in male fertility problems,” says Dr. Winter. “Keeping the testicles cooler and away from our warmer core is helpful.”
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It makes you feel sexier
This isn't something scientists have studied as far as we know. But anecdotally speaking, many women say that sleeping in the nude makes them feel more sensual and in touch with their body. Cuddling with your partner skin-on-skin with nothing between you can reinforce your connection. Plus, it's just that much easier to have a sexual encounter if you don't have a layer of clothing to unbutton first.