Sleeping naked – nice or nasty?
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Sleeping naked – nice or nasty?

In wintertime, you have to be pretty dedicated; in summer, it might feel more natural: sleeping naked. But does ditching your PJs really improve your sleep quality?

I’m just going to throw in the bait for the comments section now. Here goes: if you sleep naked, you increase your chances of having sex. At least that’s what alleged experts claim when they’re asked for a quote by editors under pressure to write high-click content for online publications. Take this gynaecologist interviewed for the German tabloid Berliner Zeitung (article in German):

Sleeping naked often leads to sex. And sex is good for your relationship. It also makes women in particular feel more relaxed and gets them in the mood more quickly.
Jennifer Landa, gynaecologist

A compilation of the pros and cons given by Swiss commuter newspaper «20 Minuten» is more informative than the unfounded statement above. It states that nudity loses its appeal when it becomes the norm. In other words, just because you’re sleeping in the nude, doesn’t mean you’re having more sex.

But enough with the sex now. After all, it’s not the only aspect of sleeping in the buff. There’s health and hygiene, too.

Sleeping habits

What do you wear to bed?

Entry conditions

Improved sleep, a better figure and younger skin through nudity?

Proponents of sleeping without clothes argue that it has positive effects on your health. Relevant studies are sparse, and an alleged effect can often only be backed up indirectly at best.

Sleeping naked is said to be good for your skin’s health, for example. The reasoning? If there’s no fabric on your skin, you sweat less, which in turn helps your skin. Especially in the genital area, bacteria are less likely to find a place to breed if you’re not sweating down there.

In addition, sleeping in the buff is said to boost your calorie consumption. Feeling slightly chilly or shivery burns calories, fitness guides often state (link in German). Even the level of the stress hormone cortisol is said to drop if you ditch your pyjamas. And because cortisol in the blood is also responsible for the accumulation of belly fat, being naked in bed is even said to be good to get that beach bod.

In essence, it’s sweating that can be a problem, to which nudity is supposedly the solution. However, sweating per se is a completely natural mechanism of the body to keep your body temperature in balance. We go through various sleep cycles in one night. In the deep sleep phase, your body temperature drops slightly. In the REM phase, when you’re dreaming, it rises slightly. That’s when you sweat. So it’s completely natural to sweat. Being nude won’t stop this.

Even if this woman’s sleeping naked, it won’t stop her from sweating. The photographer would have been better off making sure a sheet was pulled over the mattress and a cover over the blanket.
Even if this woman’s sleeping naked, it won’t stop her from sweating. The photographer would have been better off making sure a sheet was pulled over the mattress and a cover over the blanket.
Source: Shutterstock

Sweat a hotbed for bacteria

For a relaxed and therefore restful and healthy sleep, you need to be in an environment that promotes an ideal body temperature throughout all phases of sleep. At least that’s what Andreas Lenzhofer, founder and CEO of pyjama manufacturer Dagsmejan, says. I asked him about sleeping naked. For business reasons alone, he’s probably not the biggest supporter of the naked sleeping theory. However, he does know a lot on the topic of sleep.

Sweat, he says, is not hygienic or unhygienic as such. It only poses a problem when it settles in fabrics and serves as a nutrient for bacteria of all kinds. And this is where pyjamas come into play:

The advantage of pyjamas is that they can be aired out every morning, preferably in the sun, which thoroughly dries the fabric and kills many bacteria and viruses.
Andreas Lenzofer, Dagsmejan

Obviously, this is much harder to do with beds and mattresses. It’s rare that you see a mattress hanging out of a window. This means that moisture always remains in the sheets or mattress after making the bed in the morning. Or as Andreas puts it: «Party time for bacteria and viruses that will thank you by leaving a musty smell in the bedroom.» Nevertheless, pyjamas also need to be changed and washed regularly. Every two to four days, depending on how much you sweat.

If you’re a naked sleeper, you should be aware that your body still exudes sweat. That’s why it’s advisable to change your bed linen regularly. In an interview (in German), sleep researcher Dr Hans-Günter Weess recommended changing sheets and covers twice a week. That’s quite a lot of laundry. To reduce the sweat getting into the mattress, a washable topper is a good idea.

Verdict: it depends...

If you were hoping for a clear yes or no answer to the naked sleeping question when you clicked on this article, you’ll probably be disappointed. As is so often the case, it all depends. If you sleep naked, you still sweat. It’s not like you can trick your body. Nevertheless, sleeping without clothes might make you feel better. This, in turn, would promote better sleep and make getting up in the morning easier. Unless the more sex theory is true and it’s robbing you of shuteye. But then that would be making you sweat...

This man’s chiselled figure means he doesn’t have to worry about shivering his way to less fat.
This man’s chiselled figure means he doesn’t have to worry about shivering his way to less fat.
Source: Shutterstock

Conversely, pyjamas have advantages. Sweat absorbed by the fabric is easier to air out. Especially if the PJs are made of the right materials. If that’s the case, you won’t be cold or catch a cold. What’s more, your sleep will be better as you won’t have to endure fat-burning bouts of feeling cold. I, for one, have already found my dream pyjamas:

  • Product test

    "Stay Warm" from Dagsmejan tested: Lightweight fabric, warm nights

    by Martin Jungfer

What’s your preferred way to sleep? Have you had any insights over the years? Let the Community know in the comments.

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Journalist since 1997. Stopovers in Franconia (or the Franken region), Lake Constance, Obwalden, Nidwalden and Zurich. Father since 2014. Expert in editorial organisation and motivation. Focus on sustainability, home office tools, beautiful things for the home, creative toys and sports equipment. 

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