Naked or in pajamas: How to sleep healthier and more enjoyable

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S MAIN HEROINE Holly Golightly slept in a blindfold and earplugs, wearing a chemise just to welcome guests. Perhaps Holly knew something about the benefits of sleeping without clothes that we still do not know. According to a 2013 survey by the National Sleep Foundation in the United States, England, Canada, Japan, Mexico and Germany, 56% to 91% of the 1,500 respondents sleep in sleepwear for this purpose.  

We have not conducted such official research, but the author of this text interviewed 900 people – and 67% of them confirmed that they prefer to sleep in clothes. At the same time, according to the Ergoflex company, people rarely wash their pajamas : once every two weeks. While some people choose pajamas, nightgowns and socks, while others prefer Eva’s costume, we suggest making a conscious choice – and we understand how sleepwear affects its quality.      

Between ice and fire

Lack or poor quality sleep is linked to a variety of medical conditions, including diabetes, stroke and depression, and is also bad for relationships. Researchers agree: for good quality sleep, it is important not to overheat, not hypothermia, and be in the so-called state of thermoneutrality. At the same time, the ambient temperature is optimal and the body needs a minimum of costs to regulate its own temperature.  

Before going to sleep, the body cools slightly – this is a normal process that does not need to be interrupted, because it helps us fall asleep faster and deeper. If before going to bed you put on super-warm pajamas that are not suitable for the weather and dive under a duvet, the natural course of thermoregulation may be disrupted; then the person tries to fall asleep longer, and when overheated, wakes up earlier than planned. The body reaches its lowest temperature during REM sleep about two hours before waking up – on average, it is about five in the morning. If you go wrong with the temperature regime at this moment, you may wake up from the cold.    

In finding a balance, the temperature in the bedroom is of paramount importance. If there are 30-32 degrees outside the bed , then sleeping without clothes will definitely be the best solution. If the room is 16-19 degrees, it is better to sleep in pajamas and at least under a thin blanket. In general, scientists believe that it is better to come naked into the arms of Morpheus: this allows us not to overheat and sleep better.   

Cotton, silk or bamboo 

If you are more comfortable sleeping in clothes, choose loose, not too tight and not squeezing clothes made from natural fabrics in which you will not overheat. It is worth paying attention to the composition label: each fabric has advantages and disadvantages (however, like all things in the world). 

Perhaps the most popular nightwear fabric is cotton. It is soft and breathable without irritating the skin. True, it does not wick away moisture well, so clothes made from it are not the best option for people who sweat at night. In addition, cotton does not heat well; in a cool climate, cotton pajamas alone cannot do without a warm blanket. But silk is an excellent thermostat that can warm up when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot. Unfortunately, silk garments are expensive and difficult to maintain – ideally they require dry cleaning. If the weekly fee for dry cleaning your silk clothes isn’t intimidating, then pajamas made from silk can be your best friend in bed.  

Experts differ on wool. On the one hand, wool can cause overheating and irritation of the skin. On the other hand, there is evidence that it is easier to fall asleep in woolen clothes if the bedroom is cold. Research results show that at an air temperature of about 17 degrees, wool is better for falling asleep and sound sleep than cotton – the latter should be chosen for those who have 22 degrees in the bedroom. In general, if wintering in one of the European cities where there is no central heating, choose woolen fabrics; there will be no skin irritation if it is high-quality and soft merino wool.      

Nowadays, the production of clothes from bamboo cloth is gaining momentum – it is soft, breathable and absorbs moisture, can have antibacterial properties and is 100% biodegradable. True, under the guise of bamboo, in most cases another fabric is served – rayon ; formally, it is made from natural fibers, but in fact they are very heavily processed, seriously changing their properties. Therefore, a thing that has bamboo on the label may not have the expected qualities.  

As for whether or not to put on socks in bed: if you have cold feet and trouble falling asleep, put on , it will help you fall asleep faster. Alternatively, you can use a heating pad or wrap your feet with an extra blanket. It is recommended to wash sleepwear once a week, and if you sleep naked, then it is better to change bed linen more often, once or even twice a week.      

Pajama Fashion

One of the main trendsetters who introduced pajamas as outerwear was Coco Chanel. In the 1930s, women took their nightgown to the streets, using it as a suit for going out and for the beach. Pajamas were very popular back then – they were worn by everyone, from Greta Garbo to Joan Crawford . The next wave of love rose thanks to the Georgian princess and fashion designer Irene Golitsyna. Golitsyna’s 1963 collection, which featured “palazzo pajamas” embroidered with pearls and precious stones, created a huge sensation. Diana Vreeland , editor-in-chief of American Vogue, called them clothing for television.    

The fashion for pajamas outside the bedroom returned in the seventies, and then at the beginning of our century. Now pajamas have finally secured the right to exist not only in the bedroom – although they are still at the top of the sleepwear ratings. Of course, if you want to sleep in your pajamas and wear them outside, it’s better to get several sets.  

Infections and fertility

Once upon a time, underwear served as pajamas: a white shirt and pants. People rarely washed, and skin secretions remained between the body and these things, which served as a barrier between the skin and “good” outerwear. In general, the meaning of such underwear was not to protect the body, but to protect clothing from it. Now, when running water is available without restrictions, and the machine washes, we can think about our own comfort and benefits for the body. Scientists say that sleeping without panties is beneficial for women with chronic vulvitis or vaginitis, a tendency to yeast infections (thrush), itching and irritation. In this case, the love of tight-fitting panties in a warm bed can provoke exacerbation of these infections.  

For men, in one US study , avoiding tight underwear during the day and no underpants at night slightly improved sperm quality, including DNA stability in sperm cells, compared to those who wore tight-fitting underpants at night and during the day. True, the difference was not statistically significant, and the probability of pregnancy or the rate of its onset was the same in all groups. Another study published in the journal Urology found no significant difference between underwear types and sperm quality: “Underwear is highly unlikely to significantly affect male fertility.”  

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