The other day, we talked about the benefits for sleep that can come from snoozing in the nude. Especially in summer, it can be a great way to cope with the heat and get a better night’s rest.
Turns out, sleeping naked may do a lot more than helping us sleep better on hot summer nights. Scientific research shows that sleeping in the buff may have a surprising amount of other health benefits.
Provide a dose of natural stress relief
No kidding—sleeping in the nude can help lower stress. That’s because sleeping without clothing can boost production of the hormone oxytocin, according to research. Oxytocin is a potent natural stress and anxiety reliever. Among its beneficial effects? Oxytocin may lower blood pressure and limit the amount of cortisol the body produces. Cortisol is a hormone that stimulates and alerts us to attention and vigilance, and it’s closely associated with stress.
The trick to getting the most from the stress-busting effects of sleeping in the nude? Have both you and your partner shed your clothes. Oxytocin levels rise with skin-to-skin contact.
Make your relationship more loving
I’m not only talking about sex here—though sleeping in the nude is likely to help you have more of it. Science shows there’s even more relationship-enhancing to be had from sleeping without clothes. That hormone, oxytocin, which helps us relieve stress? It’s informally known as the “love hormone.” Studies show oxytocin increases our physical attraction to partners, and may strengthen our ability to be monogamous in long-term relationships. It’s also a hormone that fuels our ability to bond and create trust and emotional closeness in our relationships. And it’s a crucial hormonal player in the early bonding and attachment between mothers and infants.
Rev up your metabolism
Sleeping in a colder room stimulates the body to make more of a special type of fat known as brown fat. Why is this a good thing? Unlike other types of fat that store energy, brown fat burns energy (a.k.a, calories). Scientists in recent years have found that stimulating the body’s production of brown fat can in turn stimulate our metabolism. And that may help lower our risks for obesity and type 2 diabetes. Scientific studies show we can generate this beneficial brown fat when our bodies have to put effort into keeping warm at night while we sleep. Sleeping naked can help with that.
Get more from your own melatonin
Part of the body’s natural prepare-for-sleep process is a slight drop in body temperature. Sleeping naked can facilitate that cool down, nudging the body into sleep mode and triggering an earlier nighttime increase in melatonin levels. Melatonin is well known as “the sleep hormone,” but scientific research shows the melatonin our bodies produce has a range of other benefits, including to heart health, metabolism, and brain health. Sleeping naked is also linked to higher production of growth hormone, which helps the body repair itself—and slows down the aging process.
Sleep experts tell us generally to sleep with as little clothing as is necessary for comfort—or nothing at all. Given this list, sleeping in the nude seems like something a lot more of us might want to try.
Written by Caitlin Reynolds