If there is one domain of which you are undoubtedly the king (or queen, should you identify as such), it is undoubtedly your own bed. There, no one else is calling the shots, and you are as fully relaxed, fully yourself, and fully natural as can be. As such, it is only reasonable that every once in a while—or perhaps more often—you find yourself wanting to shed your cooling pajamas or fleece pajamas and sleep au naturel in your own bed. After all, why even bother when all you’re doing is getting some shuteye?
As with all decisions in life, the choice to sleep naked or not sleep naked comes with some benefits and some disadvantages. Of course, you know your body and your comfort levels best, which means you are ultimately in the best position to make the final determination of how you spend your resting hours. But to help make an informed decision, we chatted with a few experts to provide some guidance on the pros and cons of sleeping naked.
The Pros of Sleeping Naked
Maintain your natural sleep rhythms
“Your body was designed to sleep in the nude,” points out Sarah Spoor, the co-founder of Pepper, a connection company focused on sexual wellness and education. “Pepper’s sex experts say sleeping naked helps your body maintain its natural sleep rhythms including circadian cycles,” which are key to helping you get deep, restful sleep.
Regulate your body’s temperature
Given that sleeping in the nude can improve both temperature regulation and sensory cues, you may find that sleeping naked can improve your sleep quality. In fact, a 2018 study suggests that lowering your body temperature by sleeping naked can help you reduce the number of times you wake up in the night.
Improve vaginal health
For the ladies looking to sleep in their birthday suits, gynecologists say that removing too-tight or damp underwear can reduce your chances of getting a yeast infection. So if you find that you’re constantly waking up sweating, considering no underwear (or much looser underwear) is probably a good idea.
Increase fertility among men
Guys, sleeping naked is certainly for you, too. Tight-fitting underwear for men is also suggested to be linked to lower sperm counts—a 2018 study found that men who primarily wore boxers (or looser fitting underwear) “had a 25% higher sperm concentration and 17% higher total count” than men who wore briefs of other forms of underwear.
Feel naturally sensuous
As sex and relationship expert and Vella Bioscience spokesperson Karinna Karsten points out, there are also some sensual reasons to sleep naked. You’ll be more receptive to touch when naked, she notes, and also are more prepared to experience personal pleasure. “You get to have more of an intimate experience with your body when you’re naked,” adds Ev’Yan Whitney, a sexuality doula. “We're cooped up in clothes for most of our lives and sleeping naked allows us to have one point during the day where we can feel what it feels like to be in our bodies in a vulnerable and intimate way.”
The Cons of Sleeping Naked
Increase bacteria in bed
If there’s a major drawback of sleeping naked, it’s definitely in the hygiene department. “The average person passes gas 15 to 25 times a day, and this can happen while you're sleeping," says surgeon Anthony Youn, M.D., in a video on the subject. Moreover, whenever you do pass gas, you are also excreting a small amount of fecal matter, which your underwear helps to catch. Without underwear (or any clothing), that fecal matter is going straight into your sheets.
Increase your chances of an allergic reaction
While your body could increase the amount of bacteria in your bed, experts also note that your bed itself could be home to allergens that might have a more pronounced effect on your health. According to the sleep experts at Saatva, including CEO Ron Rudzin, allergens like dust mites, mold, mildew, and pet dander can easily get into your mattress and trigger allergic responses. And if you have particularly sensitive skin, sleeping au naturel in such an environment can make a subpar situation a lot worse.
Risk sleeping cold
Perhaps the most obvious reason not to sleep naked is that you could lower your body temperature too much, thereby weakening your immune system and making it easier to get sick. While you won’t get sick simply by being chilly, there are some studies that suggest that viruses like the rhinovirus can replicate more quickly at lower temperatures. So if you’re going to sleep naked in the winter, be sure you have some skin to skin contact to help warm you up, suggests Karsten.
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