Marilyn Monroe was a fan of sleeping naked. It’s important that I start with that tidbit because A. nearly all sleeping-naked articles mention it, and B. it’s why my hand shot up to volunteer to try it myself for two weeks to see what positive benefits I might enjoy as a result.
It bears mentioning that there are also health- and happiness-boosting benefits to glean from snoozing in the buff: Research supports that sleeping naked cools down the body, which leads to deeper rest. And sleep specialist Shelby Harris, PsyD and author of The Women’s Guide to Overcoming Insomnia, agrees that lowering your body temperature can improve sleep quality. She also points out that if you’re sleeping with a partner, going nude can be a good bonding strategy.
“For some people, sleeping naked may also lead to greater closeness and satisfaction in relationships, creating an enhanced feeling of trust, love, and comfort between partners due to the release of [the love hormone] oxytocin when people have skin-to-skin contact,” Dr. Harris says. “Oxytocin also has been shown to reduce stress levels, including blood pressure.”
And, as long as you practice certain hygienic habits, you should be good to go on the skin front. “Skin works best to regulate your body and your temperature when it has direct contact with the outside environment,” says dermatologist Rachel Nazarian MD. “However, the downside is that sweat, bacteria, and saliva have a greater opportunity to transfer to other areas from your hair, your mouth, your eyes, your genitals, and so on. So you have to be super-diligent about washing your sheets.” Dr. Harris chimes in that you should wash your sheets at least weekly and make sure to invest in natural-fiber bedding.
Oh, and on the happiness front, research notes that going nude for a portion of the day may make you more at ease with your body, and subsequently, yourself. It’s unclear from research whether bedtime nudity can facilitate this sense of assuredness—but, folks, that’s exactly what I sought to find out, once and for all.
First things first, I established a bedtime ritual: silky robe, incense, a book. I’ve never felt more glam. And catching a glance at my body before I slipped into the sheets also reinforced something surprising: I don’t hate what I see! Do I find it perfect? No. But it is nicely rounded out and smooth. I feel like I’m going to get a lot of weird emails from that observation alone, but my point is sometimes you forget to notice your own special details if your norm while naked includes all-business acts like showering and having efficient sex.
In my experience, the trickiest aspect about sleeping naked didn’t even happen between the sheets, or part of the regularly scheduled plan. I live in a railroad-style apartment with a roommate, and that combo isn’t ideal for a middle-of-the-night pee. My nightlight helped me locate my robe, but still, the experience was a naked nuisance nonetheless.
Did I feel more confident in a “I can walk up to any club in New York and the velvet ropes will fall straight down” way? No, of course not. But I didn’t expect two weeks of undressing before bed to work confidence miracles. That said, I did feel happier with my body. It should come as no so surprise that it is very validating to have a nightly reminder of, “wait—my breasts are excellent.”
I’ve always been self-conscious about my acne and don’t feel super-confident about many of my other features that are visible in plain sight. So taking a concentrated minute (or more) to appreciate what I do like is uplifting, effective, and gratifying.
And while I’m also no Norma Jeane, embracing nocturnal nudity made me feel way sexier and in touch with my erotic self. Ultimately, I’m not sure if I have the patience (read: washing machine or storage for extra sheets sets) to soundly sleep naked every night of my life. But I’ll definitely do it every now and then—and definitely recommend stripping down as an effective means for slipping into a more comfortable and confident version of yourself.
If you’re not ready to part with your PJs, this is how many nights in a row you can wear the same pajamas before it gets gross. And we also have the deets on whether you should go commando in your sleep.