What do you wear to bed each night? There are a lot of options when it comes to sleepwear— maybe you like to sleep in luxurious silk pajamas or a nightgown. Maybe you like to sleep in just a t-shirt and underwear, or maybe you prefer to sleep in nothing at all.
What you wear to bed each night matters a lot more to your sleep than you may expect. But what is the best sleep attire for better sleep? Should you sleep naked?
How to Choose the Best Sleepwear for A Good Night's Sleep
Just like sleepwear itself, there is no “one size fits all” solution for selecting the right nightwear. Finding the right sleepwear for you depends entirely on your unique sleep patterns and circumstances. It may take some experimentation to find the right solution for you to sleep most comfortably, but here are a few of my suggestions to help you get started.
Choosing the Right Fabric
Nightwear can be made from a myriad of fabrics, including but not limited to:
- Sleep Performance Blends
The right material can make a huge difference in how well you sleep each night. For example, if you sleep cold or live in an area with cold weather, materials like fleece, wool, or flannel can help you stay warm and toasty even on cold nights. However, you may find yourself more likely to get overheated in nightwear made of these fabrics.
On the other hand, materials like cotton, silk, and bamboo are extremely breathable and can be worn comfortably in different temperatures. So if the heat during the warmer months is a concern, these are good options. However, if you sleep cold I recommend wearing sleepwear made with warm but breathable fabric, like cotton or bamboo. Alternatively, pajamas made from sleep performance blends can be comfortably worn whether you sleep hot or cold.
What Are Sleep Performance Blends?
These aren’t typical fabrics like cotton, silk, or polyester. Rather, sleep performance blends are just that— blends of different fibers that create a cool and comfortable fabric perfect for a restful night’s sleep.
These unique blends are especially helpful in keeping you cool and dry if you sleep hot or sweat during the night. The moisture-wicking material draws moisture away from your body, while also reducing or eliminating bacteria and odor from your skin.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you want to make sure your pajamas are comfortable to sleep in, and that they fit well.
If your nightwear is too loose, you may get tangled up in your sheets and blankets. On the other hand, overly tight clothing can be uncomfortable, and may even cause problems down the line like reduced circulation, or even yeast infections in women.
Your bedroom temperature isn’t the only factor that can impact how well you sleep— it’s important to keep your body temperature in mind too.
Thanks to a process called thermoregulation, your core body temperature drops at night to help keep you comfortable while you sleep. However, many people still sleep hot at night and struggle to keep their body heat in check. This can cause them to experience uncomfortable symptoms like night sweats that can contribute to poor sleep quality or sleep deprivation. Don’t worry though— there are plenty of comfortable options available if you sleep hot or live in a place with hot weather.
Two of my favorite options when it comes to nightwear are Cool-jams and Dēp Slēpwear. Both make moisture-wicking pajamas that can help you stay cool, dry, and comfortable all night long, no matter what the weather is.
Don’t Forget Your Feet!
During the day, you always consider how much or how little coverage your feet need to stay comfortable and protected. It’s the same deal at night— properly taking care of your feet is important to get a comfortable night’s sleep.
If you’re prone to cold feet while you sleep, fixing this can be as easy as wearing socks to bed. However, if you do decide to wear socks while you sleep, make sure they’re loose, comfortable, and lightweight. Lightweight socks can keep your feet nice and warm, and they’re easy to remove if your feet end up too hot during the night.
Shop the Best Mattresses of 2023
Should You Sleep Naked?
I wrote an article years ago talking about the dangers of sleeping naked— where it could spell trouble if you sleepwalk, especially while traveling. That risk aside, however, there are also some notable benefits to sleeping in the nude, including:
- Potentially better sleep: Many who sleep in the nude simply find it more comfortable than sleeping in pajamas or other sleepwear. Sleeping naked may also help you achieve your ideal core body temperature more easily than you would while wearing pajamas.
- May potentially improve your relationship: Sharing the bed with another person can be a challenge sometimes, but it’s also a very personal and intimate experience. Sleeping naked with your bed partner may help you feel more connected and improve intimacy. Skin-to-skin contact also releases oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that reduces anxiety and promotes feelings of connection. If you want to learn more about how better sleep can improve your intimate relationship, check out my article on the topic!
- Improved sexual health: I mentioned earlier that sleeping in tight-fitting clothing or tight underwear could cause some women to develop yeast infections. Sleeping naked may help prevent yeast infections, which can be caused by inadequate air circulation from clothing. Sleeping in the nude may also be good for sperm health and male fertility because a cooler body temperature is more conducive for sperm health. Not only that, but tight-fitting underwear may also decrease sperm count and vitality in men.
- Healthier skin: We all know how important it is to get your beauty sleep— a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to keep your skin looking healthy and youthful. And because sleeping in the buff can improve your sleep quality, that means that can improve your skin health too!
While there are some excellent benefits that can come from sleeping naked, there is one major potential drawback that might make you reconsider sleeping in the nude— especially if you’re a germaphobe.
Sleeping Naked and Bacteria
Sleeping naked may increase the number of bacteria in your bed. The average person passes gas 15 to 25 times daily, sometimes while sleeping. According to Dr. Anthony Youn on TikTok, when you pass gas in bed, you are actually spraying a tiny amount of fecal matter on your sheets, your blanket, and even your bed partner!
Dr. Youn adds that your underwear will catch all those nasty particles and keep your sheets cleaner for longer— so if you’re worried about unwanted bacteria in your bed, it’s important to at least keep your underwear on at night. However, he notes in the post’s comments that women should follow their gynecologist’s recommendations if they are advised to sleep sans underwear.
Whether or not you choose to sleep naked, one thing is clear— make sure you wash and change your sheets on a regular basis! Not only is it more hygienic, but it can help you sleep better. And who doesn’t love sleeping on freshly washed bedsheets?
The Bottom Line
Remember, whether you sleep in pajamas or in the nude, there isn’t a single “best” solution for every sleep need. Knowing what to wear to bed is entirely up to your personal preference. However, it’s important to keep your sleepwear or lack thereof in mind when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep.
In short, what’s important is making sure that you are comfortable and ready to sleep at bedtime, no matter how you sleep.
About The Author
Dr. Michael Breus
Clinical Psychologist, Sleep Medicine Expert
Michael Breus, Ph.D is a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and one of only 168 psychologists to pass the Sleep Medical Specialty Board without going to medical school. He holds a BA in Psychology from Skidmore College, and PhD in Clinical Psychology from The University of Georgia. Dr. Breus has been in private practice as a sleep doctor for nearly 25 years.Dr. Breus is a sought after lecturer and his knowledge is shared daily in major national media worldwide including Today, Dr. Oz, Oprah, and for fourteen years as the sleep expert on WebMD. Dr. Breus is also the bestselling author of The Power of When, The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan, Good Night!, and Energize!
- Position: Combination Sleeper
- Temperature: Hot Sleeper
- Chronotype: Wolf
Ask The Sleep Doctor
Have questions about sleep? Submit them here! Each week Dr. Breus will pick a few questions to answer in our weekly video series, Ask The Sleep Doctor. You can also send us an email. Please note, we cannot provide specific medical advice, and always recommend you contact your doctor for any medical matters.