Americans sure do like their pajamas.
A recent poll by ABC News found that just 31% of men and 14% of women opt for their birthday suits when slipping between the sheets.
According to the research, though, it might be high time we Americans started stripping down more often!
Here’s what the science says when it comes to sleeping naked.
Sleeping Nude Helps You Lose Weight
If you’ve been looking to shed a couple extra pounds for that perfect beach bod, there’s actually a fair bit of evidence that suggests you might want to shed some layers, first.
You see, it all comes down to your body temperature.
In a 2014 study of five healthy men over the course of four months, a team of researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University found that lowered nighttime body temperatures could actually result in a faster metabolism.
How Does That Work?
Basically, your fat (or “adipose tissue”) is made up of two different kinds of cells: white fat, and brown fat.
White fat is the bad stuff.
It’s the crap sucking up all those extra Snickers bars and storing them as extra energy.
In the natural world, this would be great news, because you’d need those extra stores to last you through any kind of food shortage.
In a world with a McDonald’s and a Burger King on every other street corner, though, you’re probably a bit more interested in brown fat – the fat nobody talks about!
Brown fat increases metabolic rates at cooler temperatures to help keep your body warm – so you can burn through those cheeseburgers in double-time.
What the Researchers Found
During this study, the researchers had their participants sleep in a room kept at 75 degrees for the first month, 66 degrees for the second month, 75 degrees for the third month, and 81 degrees for the fourth month.
After a month of sleeping at a 66 degree room temperature, the participants experienced an average of a 42% increase in brown fat volume (that’s the good stuff, remember!), resulting in a 10% increase in the calorie-burning activity of their fat.
Basically, cooler sleep meant these guys’ metabolisms went up by 10%!
All that brown fat melted away when the men started sleeping at temperatures of 75 degrees again, and then degreased even more after they started sleeping at 81 degrees.
The men’s bodies seemed to be building up their good, heat-generating fat in response to the cooler temperatures!
What This Means for You
Decreasing the amount of heat around their bodies helped the people inthis study up their metabolism, and it can do the same thing for you.
And what’s one great way to do this?
Sleeping in the buff!
It Can Help You Sleep Better
Another unexpected benefit to cooler sleeping conditions?
Your body, it turns out, goes through a cycle of internal temperatures throughout the day.
Your core is warmest during your most wakeful periods in the late morning and late afternoon, but as you get closer to bedtime, those yawns start coming with a decreased body temperature.
And according to a study at the University of South Australia’s Centre for Sleep Research, there might be more to cool temperatures’ tie to this increased sleepiness than just correlation.
The researchers found that many insomniacs tend to have increased core body temperatures when trying to get to sleep, which is caused by an inability to lose heat from their extremities.
What better way to get that skin cool than by settling into something a little more comfortable?
Other Ways to Sleep Better
In addition to sleeping naked, many researchers recommend investing in a higher-quality mattress if you’re looking to get some better sleep.
A more comfortable sleeping surface makes it that much easier to drift off, and can also help keep you from waking up throughout the night from things like back pain.
A lot of people don’t know that most experts recommend replacing your mattress about once every 7 to 10 years, so there’s a good chance it’s time to turn the ol’ sleep sack in for a newer model.
If that’s something you’ve been thinking about, feel free to check out our guide to today’s best mattresses here.
Of course, a better mattress definitely isn’t the only way to start catching some better Z’s.
In general, more regular sleep schedules, healthier eating before bed, reduced use of electronics at night, and moderate levels or white noise have all been shown to increase the quality and duration of sleep.
I don’t want to get us too far off track, but you can check out our full article on this stuff here.
Sleeping Nude Increases Intimacy (Scientifically!)
If you’re sleeping with a partner, meanwhile, nude sleep can come with its share of bonus perks.
In addition to a lot of people just finding it straight-up sexy to sleep with a naked partner, a number of studies suggest a strong correlation between skin-on-skin contact and the release of the hormone oxytocin.
Basically, research suggests that the more you and your partner are physically touching each other, the greater your levels of intimacy.
Most of the research here has actually been on mothers and newborn infants (since, admittedly, not a lot of scientists are directly studying the pros and cons of sleepwear).
With them, though, skin-on-skin contact between mothers and their children was shown to increase levels of trust.
Love is love, and that kind of physical contact is important no matter who you are.
It Can Make You Happier
In addition to intimacy, the hormone oxytocin is also associated with a whole mess of things you’d need a neuroscience degree to fully understand.
One of those things is happiness and general feelings of contentment.
That might explain why, in a 2014 study by Cotton USA, researchers found that partners who slept naked together tended to have increased reports of happiness.
57% of the ones who snoozed nude said they were happy together, compared with only 48% of the PJ wearers.
It’s just a correlation, to be sure, and it’s not a gigantic difference.
Still, though, the researchers quizzed over 1,000 Brits about their happiness levels, and those results are definitely statistically significant.
So don’t take that claim to court, but think it over when you’re buttoning down!
Sleeping Naked Is Better for Your Skin
Another benefit to naked sleep is that it gives yourself a chance to let your skin breathe.
If you think about humans’ evolutionary history, we didn’t spend most of our days in the wild walking around in t-shirts and jeans.
No – we evolved to be naked, and evolution still doesn’t seem to have caught onto the fact that we like to keep ourselves bundled up a bit more these days.
Wearing too much restrictive clothing can lead to issues with your skin, dermatologist Dr. Lance Brown told today.com.
You spend too much time in those clothes of yours, and you sweat and you might make your skin break out.
“Going bare gives your skin a chance to breathe,” Brown said.
So don’t be ashamed of it – it’s just the way Mother Nature made you!
It Helps to Air Things Out “Down There”
Still not convinced your body needs the extra breathing room?
There’s actually a lot of research out there to suggest nude sleep is the way to go if you care about your more delicate regions.
For the Gentlemen
If your naughty bits are of the more manful persuasion, studies have found that there’s nothing quite so good for your little general than a good breath of fresh air.
There’s a reason you have all dangly-ness swinging off your body rather than tucked away safely somewhere.
Your sperm are most motile at temperatures slightly below your core’s magic 98.6, and keeping those poor guys tucked away for too long can lead to issues with impotency.
This is why, if you’re trying for a baby, boxers are typically better than briefs.
It also plays out in the bedroom, too – give your old chap a chance to breathe, and he’ll get back into the shape he needs!
For the Ladies
Alright, ladies, I’m going to be real with you.
I’m not any expert in what goes on down there, the information I got for this section is straight from the Huff Post article, 8 Underwear Mistakes That are Bad for Your Health.
Apparently, too-tight underwear can lead to chafing and irritation, especially in post-menopausal women.
Dr. Donnica Moore told the Huffington Post, “Though it’s a matter of personal preference, from the perspective of breathing and airing things out, you should sleep without underwear.”
Moore also recommends wearing less if you’re going through menopause, since you’ll have less to take off once you go into hot flashes.
That sounds legit, right?
Conclusion About Why You Should Sleep in the Nude
So there you have it – just about every reason there could possibly be to strip down when you’re laying down tonight.
It makes you skinnier, better-rested, happier, more intimate, and healthier – so pretty much the complete package deal.
Do your body a favor, and leave a couple of those layers at the door.
It’s just the science talking!