Most of us change our sleeping attire by the season, but is there a path to better sleep based on what we choose to wear (or don’t choose to wear)?

Contrary to what your mom may have told you, your best choice is to sleep wearing nothing at all.  But only about 12% of us in the U.S. actually sleep au naturel (contrast that to over 30% in the UK). Sleeping “in the buff” has been shown to have great benefits for both your sleep and your health.

  1. Fall Asleep Faster and Look Younger. Cooler conditions lead to better sleep. A dip in core body temperature signals the brain that is time for sleep.  Taking a bath or shower before bed can mimic this effect, as your body temperature drops when you make the transition from warm shower to cool room.  Sleeping naked helps regulate a consistent body temperature, increasing this effect, since sleepwear isn’t present to cause some parts of your body to be warmer than others.  This decrease in core body temperature helps release growth hormone, which provides the anti-aging and restorative benefits of sleep.
  1. Boost Your Good Fat. A recent study indicates that sleeping in a cooler room can lead to increased accumulation of brown fat, the kind of fat that can burn calories.   Brown fat is activated by cold conditions, like sleeping in a room with a temperature of less than 70° F.  People with lower BMI have been found to have more brown fat.
  1. Lose Weight. Adequate, good quality sleep has been shown to have a lot to do with weight control.  Sleep deprivation affects the levels of appetite regulating hormones.  And, cortisol, the the “fight or flight” hormone, can wreck havoc with your weight, too.  Cortisol levels that are too high can have an effect on your weight, your health and your mood.  Cortisol levels are normally higher in the morning; lack of sleep and overheating while asleep can increase your levels of waking cortisol.  Keeping a consistent temperature while sleeping can help keep cortisol levels from becoming too high.
  1. Be Happier, Have Better Relationships. Sleeping naked with a bed partner increases the opportunity for skin-to-skin contact, which releases the hormone oxytocin, sometimes called the “love” hormone.  Oxytocin makes you feel good about your significant other, promotes bonding, and can be calming.  The release of oxytocin is one reason pediatricians promote skin-to-skin contact between newborns and their mothers. 
  1. Reproductive and Sexual Health. The cooler and drier environment created by sleeping naked can decrease the probability of yeast infections in women. And inconsistent temperature (too hot or too cold) can decrease sperm production in men.

Having trouble adjusting to sleeping in the buff?  It may be something best done in stages. Here’s a that might help!