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Sleep naked, it’ll make you happier. Here’s why

By Harriet Piercy

Mental health

Dec 31, 2020

If you’re wearing more than your birthday suit to bed, you’re missing out on some solid slumber. I want us all to strip down and doze off buck naked baby! And my good friend science and I are going to tell you exactly why.

To start, yes I do own pyjamas, a set for every mood probably. I also waltz around in a big tee and knickers, or trackies—it’s called lounging, duh! When it’s time for bed though, it’s all coming off. I’ve woken up at war with that stupid baggy t-shirt, what about you? When it’s tight on one side and loose on the other and in the fluster of trying to sort it out you just wake yourself up even more? Okay, maybe that’s just me. I do seem to set off on extreme adventure courses in my sleep and envy those that seize the day from the right way round in bed. But if you wake up on the hot mess express like I do, why not give nighttime nudity a go?

It’s not hard to imagine the positive side effects that sleeping naked can have on sexual relationships either, as there is nothing nicer than a surprise back tickle to get you up in the morning. A hand sneaking over for some skin to skin comfort at night is also kinda cute. Studies show that 57 per cent of those who sleep in the nude report being happy in their relationships, compared with 48 per cent of those in pyjamas, 43 per cent of nightie wearers, and 38 per cent of those who sleep in onesies—sorry, but who sleeps in a onesie? Get. it. off.

Skin to skin contact triggers the release of oxytocin, or in other words, the ‘love hormone’. This influences our social behaviours, our emotions associated with empathy and trust, sexual activity, and ‘bonding’. Levels of oxytocin increase during hugging and orgasming. Yes please and thank you, sold. We want oxytocin in our bodies.

If you’re not a regular on the sharing a bed front, there are other benefits to sleeping in the nude, which I will get into. But first, I would like to take this opportunity to interject my train of thought and yours by advising you to go find some (even if casual) lovin’. You and your oxytocin levels are worth it. Now, onto my next point: temperature.

Body temperature is one key to successfully falling, and staying asleep. It’s actually part of your circadian rhythm (the biological rhythm that acts as your body’s clock). When the sun goes down, the air becomes cooler. Our bodies are accustomed to this. So it makes sense in saying that by sleeping naked and keeping breezy beneath the covers, there is less risk of a fluctuation in body temperature, and therefore, a better night’s sleep. If it’s too hot (or too cold) you also risk impacting your rapid eye movement sleep (REM), which is the dream stage of snoozing and also the bridge into a deeper non-REM sleep that refreshes our brains and bodies.

I hate to go down this road with society being as disgustingly obsessed with how we look as it is, but staying cool overnight may also help us burn fat. As we give ourselves a better chance at staying cool throughout the night by sleeping naked, studies show that our bodies will in turn increase its stores of brown fat, which is the type of fat that actually burns energy rather than storing it as white fat does, it also improves glucose levels and insulin function. Babies have more brown fat to help them keep warm, exposure to colder air triggers the brown fat to be ‘active’. Brown fat then decreases as we age (and so does our efficiency to lose weight)—you do the math.

Another reason to sleep naked is to boost your confidence. Sleeping naked will make you more comfortable in your own skin. It will also improve the texture of your skin, because your pores can breathe. Consider the quality of your bedding too, what feels good to you against your skin? I want everyone reading this to realise how great they are by stripping off tonight and saying out loud ‘I am enough as I am. Take it or leave it, this is me’. Did you say it? Say it again!

If sleeping completely naked isn’t within your immediate comfort zone, then just pretend you’re off to a topless beach and slip into bed with your panties on. I sometimes go to bed in a kikoy wrapped loosely around me (which is a sarong once used as currency along the East African coast) and knickers, because somehow I always manage to make the mistake of guzzling down gallons of water and then needing to get up to pee. So to avoid an awkward encounter with my flatmates’ boyfriend stark naked in the corridors, I can rummage around for my kikoy (or sarong) and rewrap it round me (it will fall off) for my dozy trip to the loo and back. The real point is to wear as little clothing as possible to bed.

You may be surprised at how natural it feels to sleep naked, or you might hate it, but do yourself a favour and give it a try before you decide it’s not for you. Being naked doesn’t have to be saved or associated with sex like it usually tends to be, it’s your body whether you share it with a partner or not. It’s there for you, enjoy every evolutionary function that it has to offer, including its naked ability to give you a better night’s sleep. Why fix a perfect thing?

Love lockdown: why are so many couples breaking up during and after quarantine?

Lockdown as we know it is over, and after each of us had all the time in the world to reevaluate our mere existence, it seems like we are now ready to turn over a new leaf. One reflection in particular that all of us took part in during quarantine, in some way or another, was one that focused on our relationships in general, but as we crawl back into the world, we’ve noticed an impressive rise in romantic breakups, the breakup phase of lockdown perhaps—which makes us question if lust is the new love. To find out why so many couples are breaking up during and after lockdown, I spoke to a few people and found common (and a little less common) reasons.

To visualise the three types of relationships I’ll mainly be talking about, I give you, exhibit a) The vase. The strong and sturdy relationship that once held pretty flowers—but knocked off their perches, were smashed into smithereens. Metaphorically. Think of Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with gold lacquer. Or in other words, the ones still fixing their otherwise broken relationships.

Then we have exhibit b) The lightbulb. The clear cut moments of truth. The ones that dumped, or did the dumping. The ones that suddenly realised by seeing clearly, they were better off without each other. I feel for them all, but let’s be honest here, if you can’t make it work during an end of the world type scenario, then they probably weren’t the one for you.

Finally, exhibit c) The bathmat. The one we don’t enjoy investing much in, but buy anyway. The soft, comforting luxury of a relationship that rose and fell in lockdown.

So, who dared to enter the no exit zone of their confined spaces for what felt like never-ending months? Who probably saw sides to their partners they wished they could unsee? There was no place to hide, with no pubs to go to, no brunches with friends, no hungover lunches at family gatherings—just two people stuck together, indefinitely.

Bowel movements became part of the entire household’s agenda. And for those of you out there that like a Hollywood wax to feel sexy, I have extra sentiments for you. Life got real traumatic, the at-home wax almost turned into a trip to A&E, and the over-priced epilator you ordered after scrolling through Amazon recommendations is now gathering cobwebs.

Let’s talk to exhibit a) The Vase, who had a slightly irrational, but somewhat humorous reason to break up—in hindsight. This no longer couple admitted that they simply wanted different things for comfort when things got tough, but it took time in the bedroom to realise that this was the case. Let’s just say, the positioning was just not quite right.

Love lockdown: why are so many couples breaking up during and after quarantine?

One half of my anonymous interviewees confessed their side of the problem. “I just didn’t want to do anal. Ok?” which is fair enough, but is it enough to break up over? They added that “Just because we were experimenting, spicing things up not to get bored, does not mean that I have to sit on the ultimatum of our relationship based on the fact that I won’t voluntarily leak shit onto the sheets… Glad he asked now and not 5 years down the line locked into a house because of a newborn child.”

What really stands out here is “locked into a house,” with a side of frustration over a bed of newly discovered differences. The vase is a stark example, however it is one that stems from bottled up energy, and that can be related to many of our situationships.

The tensions that rose within relationships of all kinds this year aren’t necessarily surprising, a global-pandemic is enough to send all of our stress levels through the roof.

Now, the all-familiar exhibit b) The light bulb. This no longer couple broke up because one of them suddenly had the urge to ‘live their life’ and ‘figure out what they wanted’ when lockdown was lifted. The grass is always greener on the other side, right? A heartbreaking illusion, or a matter of fact.

Last but by no means least, exhibit c) Our dear bathmat. A relationship that rose and fell during lockdown, the good old FaceTime dater. To give you an idea of what we’re dealing with here, there is no space—no space at all, on a FaceTime call for an awkward silence with someone you barely know. Blame the bad signal all you want.

And the excitement of those ‘what’s your favourite’ something or other texts? It quickly wears off. Then, when you finally meet as lockdown lifts, you’ve exhausted all your chat, both forcing fireworks because you’ve spent so much time on the damn idea of this person that you can’t just back out for boredom now.

In truth though, you can just back out. Of anything. Lockdown has made a lot of people realise that you don’t need to be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s made a lot of us more patient in day to day tasks but short-fused when it comes to our affection and time, because we value it more than we did before. I guess we have to ask ourselves, is this person better than all that came before? Now, If this was the end of the world, why stay with a pressure to love over a freedom to love? Beats me.