Why you should sleep naked tonight, according to science

Rest easy in your birthday suit.
Baby sleeping naked in a white hammock
The secret to more youthful skin? Skip the pj's. Deposit Photos

Love it or hate it, sleeping naked hits different. Not only is it less laundry to wash, but taking off those pajamas can do wonders for your health. While you may feel self-conscious at first, the openness of resting in the nude can actually boost your confidence and help you look your best self. 

There’s no right or wrong way to get ready for bed—it’s all a matter of preference. And while nakedness won’t miraculously cure all your sleep problems, experts say there are some modest benefits to going au naturel.

1. Younger-looking skin 

James Walker, a medical advisor for the healthcare platform Welzo, says sleeping without clothes gives your skin an opportunity to breathe, allowing for better airflow. He explains that clothes, especially tight-fitting ones, can restrict blood circulation, making it harder for your skin to receive vitamins and minerals needed for collagen production. Certain materials also might add to your discomfort in bed. Aditya Kashyap Mishra, a sex educator and relationship expert for Lustyboy, says synthetic fibers like spandex and nylon trap moisture in your skin—the added heat can make it hard to fall asleep. Other synthetic fabrics and pajamas with dyed cotton may cause skin irritation and acne from the fabric rubbing against you.

[Related: 5 surprising beauty benefits of running]

Tossing and turning from wearing the wrong clothing can affect your quality of sleep and your skin. The body makes collagen during sleep, which is essential for supple and younger-looking skin. Research shows that getting less than the recommended seven hours of sleep for adults increases skin aging and slows down recovery from sun damage.

2. A cooldown for your body

As you might expect, sleeping with your skin exposed helps regulate your temperature at night, says Walker. The drop in body temperature can prevent overheating—a real concern in summer and in places where winter is virtually non-existent. Research shows that feeling extremely hot at night increases wakefulness. Even if you manage to land some shut-eye, it will likely be less restorative with shorter cycles of slow-wave sleep and REM sleep. 

Feeling colder, on the other hand, can also help you fall asleep faster. Your body temperature is synced up with the light-dark cycles outside; it normally falls when the sun goes down. A lower body temperature from sleeping nude tells your biological clock it’s time to shut down.

3. Fewer fungal infections

Fungi and bacteria thrive in warm and damp areas like your nether regions. Mishra explains that trapped sweat from moisture-wicking clothing increases the risk of microorganisms building up, resulting in yeast infections and jock itch. Jock itch can also come from constant friction from clothes. Stripping down to nothing will allow more air circulation and keep your intimate parts from getting overheated.

4. Better emotional intimacy

Skin-to-skin contact between partners can strengthen your relationship. Research shows touching among consenting adults releases the “love hormone” called oxytocin. This chemical reduces stress and encourages openness and social bonding with others. One US marketing poll of more than 1,000 adults found that 57 percent of couples who regularly snoozed in the nude were happy in their relationship compared to 48 percent of pajama wearers. Getting used to baring it all in front of a partner can counteract self-consciousness of how you look in bed. Mishra says this openness is a huge stress reliever, and the added relaxation can help you sleep better.

What if you want to sleep in clothes?

If you’re still not convinced about sleeping naked, there are other ways to improve your slumber. Avoid tight or constricting apparel that would restrict your movement, irritate your skin, or otherwise cause discomfort. Walker recommends going to bed in loose-fitting and breathable fabrics like cotton or bamboo, or one simple layer like an oversized T-shirt and shorts to avoid overheating.

[Related: 11 ways to sleep better in unbearable heat]

There’s nothing wrong with slipping on a pair of socks before bed, Walker adds. Some people find it comforting and helpful in keeping their feet warm, especially during colder seasons. However, he warns against sleeping in socks that are too tight as they could restrict circulation. 

Whether you go to bed nude or in clothes, you should always remove your makeup and any heavy jewelry. Snoozing with makeup on can clog pores and lead to future breakouts. “It’s best to cleanse the face thoroughly before sleeping to allow the skin to breathe and regenerate,” advises Walker. Additionally, laying down in chunky necklaces, bangles, and other jewelry can be painful and might even leave abrasions on the skin.

“Ultimately, the key is to prioritize comfort and choose sleepwear that allows for optimal relaxation,” Walker says. “It’s always a good idea to listen to your body and make choices that help you feel comfortable and at ease during sleep.”