Sleeping naked might not sound like an intuitive way to boost your health. In fact, if you’re thinking about going to bed in the nude, you probably aren’t thinking about your health at all! (Wink wink) But the fact remains - sleeping without clothes is an easy way to reap incredible benefits.
Deeper sleep? More youthful skin? Less stress? Enhanced fertility? All are associated with sleeping naked and allowing your body to naturally regulate its own core temperature.
At Hibernate, we love natural solutions. We want to live in touch with nature and enjoy a life as free as possible from modern industrial stressors. And nothing says “natural” like crawling into bed in your birthday suit.
Let’s look at the surprising benefits.
You’ll sleep deeper and won’t wake up
If you normally sleep in flannel pajamas, the idea of diving into bed au naturel might sound absurd. You’ll be chilly, right? Who can sleep if they’re shivering?
But that’s exactly the point.
The effects of “thermal regulation” on sleep quality have been well documented. Every expert with whom we’ve spoken recommends a bedroom temperature of 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit. And that’s all good and grand. But if you’re wearing pink fleece bunny pajamas, and sleeping beneath a heavy weighted blanket, your skin can’t tell the difference.
And your skin is all that matters.
In one 2012 study from the National Institutes of Health, researchers found that semi-nude subjects showed improved sleep quality and duration from colder temperatures. Even better, when they turned up the heat, it didn’t have much affect on these bare-skinned wonders. Their bodies adjusted naturally.
But for folks who sleep in heavy PJs and bedding? Humid heat exposure increased wakefulness, while decreasing rapid-eye-movement and slow-wave sleep.
What does this mean?
Simply put, your skin is wonderfully talented. It helps your brain regulate body temperature. But when you cover it up with layers of sweatpants and wooly comforters, your skin can’t do its job. These altered stimuli throw your sleep out of wack, making it harder to reach and stay in those oh-so-important deep sleep stages.
Sleep naked, sleep deep. It’s pretty simple.
It improves your skin (and its ability to heal wounds)
Since snoozing nude makes it easier to achieve deep slow-wave sleep, it brings all the benefits that come from this amazingly important part of the night. One of those is boosted immune response, active healing, and skin barrier restoration.
In 2018, the Journal of Applied Physiology published the results of a study on wound healing. After inducing blisters on subjects (ouch), they split them into three groups. One got “adequate sleep.” One got awful, horrible restricted sleep. And the other too got awful sleep, but they also got a cocktail of nutrients to promote immune response.
The sleepers blew everyone away. They showed a restored skin barrier after 4 days, where the restricted sleepers needed 5.
Have you ever noticed how people who sleep well usually have a healthy glow about them? Well, you would too if you could heal like Wolverine, and sleeping nude will help you get there.
Which makes me wonder. Did Wolverine sleep in his birthday suit? I’m guessing yes.
It helps regulate cortisol
You’ve probably heard of cortisol. It’s the hormone your body releases as a response to stress and low blood-glucose levels.
Sky-diving for the first time? Hello cortisol.
Grizzly bear jump in front of your bicycle? Cortisol.
Pulling your hair out in the middle of tax season? Yep, more cortisol.
It’s actually a pretty useful hormone. When you’re stressed, it increases your ability to turn fatty acids into glucose, giving you a much needed burst of energy. But if you stay stressed for too long, and cortisol levels remain high, it can lead to muscle wasting and the inflammation associated with conditions like rheumatoid diseases.
This is also what happens when you wake up every morning. When you’re sleeping deep, your body temperature decreases. Yet, before you wake up, that temperature increases, and your adrenal glands produce cortisol to help you jumpstart your day.
Unfortunately, if your body can’t cool down at night, it produces cortisol too early. You wake up, tired and annoyed, and the cycle repeats itself the next night.
Luckily, sleeping buck naked helps avoid that. By regulating core body temperature, and helping you stay in deep-sleep stages, it enhances your body’s ability to decrease cortisol when you need to snooze, and produce it again when it's time to wake up.
Not surprising, right? Sleep is the cure for stress, after all.
It makes you look younger by balancing melatonin and growth hormone
Hey, they don’t call it “beauty sleep” for nothing.
As it turns out, the downgraded thermal regulation that comes from sleeping in PJs creates a whole cascade of problems. In addition to screwing with your cortisol levels, it also limits your body’s ability to produce melatonin and human growth hormone (HGH).
We’ve already written much about melatonin and how it regulates sleep. Significant research has shown that reduced melatonin is linked inextricably to aging. And, as a potent antioxidant, it seems to have serious disease and cancer-fighting properties.
HGH you probably know about. Athletes take it (illegally) to recover from injuries, and Hollywood superstars hire fancy doctors for HGH therapy that helps them reduce wrinkles and get younger-looking skin.
But you don’t need needles. You just need to sleep in the nude!
By allowing for natural thermoregulation, and thus balancing your body’s production of melatonin and HGH, you allow your body to preserve its own youth.
In fact, anything you can do to sleep better will reduce the effects of aging on your HGH levels. Now you know why we’re so crazy about it.
It promotes fertility and healthy sex organs
This may be the single most important reason to sleep in your birthday suit.
Allowing some fresh air into your nether regions is terribly important for both men and women. Boxer shorts, tighty whities, restricting panties - they all trap moisture. And this moisture makes a wonderful environment for bacteria to thrive. If you’ve ever had jock itch or a vaginal infection, sleeping in underpants may be the cause.
Even more important - the research is pretty darn conclusive that sleeping nude promotes male fertility. In one study of 501 happy couples, researchers found that the men who slept naked improved their semen quality significantly. Those who also wore loose boxers during the day showed 25% less genetic sperm damage than those who wore tight briefs.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking.
Sleeping naked and going commando must be the most potent combo of all!
(Please don’t update us if you try this out, thanks.)
Sleeping naked allows your body to work its own magic. Through your skin, your brain receives stimuli that help it better navigate the night. By balancing your temperature with the air around you, and never getting too warm, you enhance slow-wave sleep, improve skin repair, fight stress, boost HGH, and keep your genitals healthy and fertile.
Considering that sleeping naked costs nothing, it can’t hurt to try, right?
After all, nature knows best.