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According to an international study by the US National Sleep Foundation (2014), one in three adults sleep in the nude. Going naked can boost your sex life, improve your quality of sleep and even help you burn calories too.
All sleep experts agree that it is important to stay cool at night as your body temperature needs to fall by about half a degree in order for you to fall asleep. Your core temperature is at its highest around 11pm and its lowest around 4am, according to Dr Chris Idzikowski, director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre. If your temperature is prevented from falling, the brain wakes up to see what is going on, disturbing your sleep patterns.
By sleeping naked it is easier for the body to cool down and maintain the lower temperature that the brain wants to achieve. Wearing lots of nightwear or covering yourself in layers of bedding will inhibit your ability to cool down and you will have a restless night’s sleep. Not only will your sleep be disturbed but it may lead to less deep sleep, needed to restore the body. Deep sleep is important for memory consolidation and the production of growth hormones required for cell repair and growth.
Even though it is important to avoid getting too hot, you need to make sure you have warm hands and feet. Russell Foster, professor of circadian neuroscience at Oxford University explains that if your hands and feet are cold, the blood vessels under the skin constrict and reduce blood flow to prevent heat escaping and to keep warm, which in turn, prevents the body’s core temperature from lowering. Wearing bed socks will warm your feet but they then may overheat and you will end up too hot. Try a hot water bottle or hottie that you can use initially to warm your feet, then kick away when they are sufficiently warmed up.
Unlike white fat which stores extra calories as overflowing bellies, muffin tops, love handles and plump thighs, brown fat expends energy in the form of heat. The brown fat in our bodies, a type of tissue which may protect against weight gain, seems to burn excess calories to generate heat.
Brown fat has the capacity to suck up excess glucose within the body by producing large amounts of a substance that carries glucose into the brown fat cells where it is burned to produce heat, known as thermogenesis.
Dr. Paul Lee, former research fellow at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), led a study which found that sleeping in a colder environment can stimulate growth of the brown fat cells (good fat) which could reduce blood sugar levels, thus benefiting many people with diabetes (2014).
Sleeping in the nude is healthier for women as it prevents yeast infections from thriving in warm, moist conditions. Wearing something tight or restrictive prevents air from circulating, causing you to sweat and encouraging thrush to grow.
The same goes for men too. A combination of not showering or bathing frequently and wearing the same pants/pyjamas for several days can lead to fungal infections such as thrush. Men get very sweaty and often scratch themselves, transferring bacteria from their bottom which stay on the pants.
As sperm requires a slightly lower temperature than the rest of the body to work efficiently, consultant urologist Mr Zaki Almallah recommends that men with fertility problems wear loose fitting pants such as boxers to keep the testicles away from the body and prevent them from overheating. If you can sleep naked, this is beneficial to keeping the testices cooler too.
Going naked can trigger the release of oxytocin, a feel good hormone with a wealth of health giving benefits. Oxytocin is released by closeness, in particular skin to skin contact. Protecting the heart, it also boosts the immune system and reduces anxiety – but only if you are enjoying this close contact!
Having naked skin to skin contact may lead to more sex as snuggling up to each other not only raises your temperature but also your levels of arousal too. People who sleep naked have happier, more satisfying relationships. A study in the UK found that 57% of nude sleepers were happy with their relationship compared to 48% of pyjama wearers, 43% of nightie wearers and 38% of onesie wearers. Even people with body image issues can enjoy more sex by shedding their PJs once they get under the covers.
So put away your pyjamas and snuggle up under the cover to enjoy the health benefits that sleeping naked offers. Who knows, you may be enjoying more than a great night’s sleep tonight!