Is It Better to Sleep Naked? The Health Benefits Explained

In the summer months, the heat can make it hard to fall asleep easily.

For some, the easiest workaround can be to sleep naked instead of wearing pajamas.

Is sleeping naked better for your health? Newsweek asked the experts to weigh in.

Why Do Some People Sleep Naked?

Mostly, opting to sleep naked is down to personal preference, clinical psychologist and sleep expert Dr. Carla Manly told Newsweek.

"Some people prefer to sleep naked due to body heat factors. Others tend to enjoy sleeping naked due to the absence of constriction that comes with wearing nightclothes.

"For some, the pure emotional and physical freedom of sleeping naked can lead to the deepest, most restful sleep. And, for those who are partnered, sleeping skin-to-skin can lead to a bonding sense of vulnerable, loving connection," she explained.

While it may seem a small thing, she said ignoring this preference can itself result in disturbed sleep.

"Those who enjoy sleep naked make feel constrained or claustrophobic when wearing nightclothes. On the other hand, those who prefer wearing nightclothes—whether pajamas, nightgowns, or underwear—can feel so vulnerable when naked that their sleep is disrupted."

Can Sleeping Naked Help Me Fall Asleep Faster?

Body temperature plays a vital role in sleep, sleep psychologist at Somnus Therapy, Katherine Hall added.

"During the normal human circadian rhythm, sleep occurs when the core temperature is dropping. This drop in temperature starts about two hours before you go to sleep, coinciding with the release of the sleep hormone melatonin."

A naked man sleeping
A naked man sleeping. Body temperature plays a vital role in sleep. Getty Images

Sleeping naked can keep your body cooler and allow you to fall asleep quicker, and even have better quality sleep.

"A cooler body temperature signals the brain that it's time for sleep. And, as better sleep quality is associated with lower body temperature, sleeping naked can surely be a factor," Dr. Manly said.

What Are the Benefits of Sleeping Naked?

Aside from falling asleep faster, sleeping naked is associated with a number of other benefits, including decreased stress levels, and deeper, more restorative rest.

"Sleep and stress go hand in hand," said Alex Savy, certified sleep coach and founder of SleepingOcean.

"Improved quality of sleep often leads to lower stress. And since sleeping naked can help users have better rest, it may also have a positive effect on one's stress levels."

Hall added: "This slight drop in body temperature causes our body to slow down our heart rate, breathing rate, and digestion—getting our bodies into the perfect rhythm for optimal sleep.

"Research also shows that keeping the body cool provides a deeper Non-REM [Non-rapid eye movement] sleep, which means a more restorative sleep."

This better quality of sleep leads to even more physical benefits, as Dr. Manly continued: "Given that sleeping naked is associated with better overall sleep, the physical benefits of improved sleep include improved brain health, reduced heart disease and diabetes, reduced weight gain, and improved ability to concentrate and focus."

Robert Pagano, co-founder of Sleepline, added that sleeping in the nude can lead to better vein function.

He said: "Science has found that when we are exposed to air as opposed to heat traps like clothes, our skin can have an increased blood flow which cuts down on inflammation."

 A woman sleeps naked under covers
A woman sleeps naked under covers. Mostly, opting to sleep naked is down to personal preference, says one expert. Getty Images

Sleeping naked has a number of sexual health benefits too, as it is often associated with improved male fertility and better vaginal health, Dr. Manly explained.

Hall agreed, adding: "Wearing underwear at night, especially in the summer, can create an environment where yeast can thrive, since yeast likes to grow in warm places. Therefore, by sleeping naked you allow your vagina to breathe."

According to Dr. Manly, while sleeping naked next to a partner, skin-to-skin contact prompts your body to release hormones that can boost your connection

"When cuddling naked with a partner, the hormone oxytocin—often known as the 'cuddle hormone'—often surges and contributes to feelings of well-being."

Couple lie in bed together
Couple lie in bed together with naked legs out of the bedsheets. "Sleeping skin-to-skin can lead to a bonding sense of vulnerable, loving connection," says Dr. Carla Manly. Getty Images

It can do wonders for your self-esteem too, as Savy explained: "Research suggests that spending more time without clothes, including when sleeping, can help people ignore unrealistic ideas of a perfect body and instead, get used to and accept their own body as it is."

Should I Change My Sheets More Regularly If I Sleep Naked?

Generally, regardless of whether you sleep naked or in pajamas, you should aim to change your sheets once a week.

When sleeping naked though, your bed can gather dead skin cells, natural body oils and even fecal matter, Hall said.

"It can be wise to shower before bed or change the sheets more frequently," Dr. Manly added.

You should also change your bed clothes more regularly if you sweat a lot, or after sexual activity in bed.

In terms of which fabrics you should choose for sheets when sleeping naked, Dr. Manly suggested natural fibers like cotton.

Pagano added: "People who sleep naked usually prefer a more breathable material like linen or bamboo when choosing their sheets, but really it's a matter of personal preference."

When Is Sleeping Naked a Bad Idea?

As Dr. Manly illustrated, sleeping in your birthday suit isn't for everyone, and if you prefer to wear some form of clothing to bed, sleeping naked instead may actually be detrimental to your sleep.

If you're doing what feels best for your body and mind, you'll likely fall asleep much more quickly than if you're not.

"For those who prefer to sleep in nightclothes, being naked can actually impede healthy sleep.

"In truth, it's largely a matter of personal preference; if you're doing what feels best for your body and mind, you'll likely fall asleep much more quickly than if you're not," she said.

In cooler weather, sleeping naked may also leave you struggling to drift off and even having worse quality sleep.

"A room that is too cold, less than around 53.6 degrees, can make it difficult to get to sleep in the first place and can cause more unpleasant and emotional dreams."

If you're too cold, it might be wise to put some pajamas on.