Written by Bree Turner
Artwork by Tayla Morrison
At least once a year at Christmas or for my birthday, my mother will buy me a pair of pajamas, without fail. When I receive my soft-centered parcel, I immediately look at my sister and laugh, we both know what’s inside. Mum laughs now too, she knows it’s predictable. What she doesn’t know is that I don’t wear pajamas.
Actually, that’s not entirely true, I just don’t wear them to bed.
I am all for curling up on the couch in bed socks, flannelette PJs and a robe (only in winter of course), but when bedtime rolls around it’s time to get the kit off. There’s nothing quite like sliding into a freshly made bed, clean sheets pulled tight, your skin soft against an even softer thread count; all the better if there’s a warm body to nestle into.
Some people are of the belief that in winter it’s too cold to sleep naked, but the truth is that often we overheat ourselves during sleep by wearing too many layers. The body’s temperature naturally drops during sleep, it’s meant to do that, so by wearing pajamas you are disrupting the natural cycle and probably encouraging a restless sleep. I loath the transition from the cozy lounge room to the bedroom on cold nights, but a way to avoid the chill is by warming up your room and bed half an hour or so beforehand. A little portable heater to take the bite out of the air and perhaps an electric blanket or a couple of hot water bottles/ heat packs in between the sheets to make sleeping naked just that little bit more inviting.
To elaborate on why it’s important to allow the body’s temperature to drop naturally during sleep; this is when the body releases melatonin and the human growth hormone. These hormones will help your sleep and wake cycles, as well as regeneration; the human growth hormone is what will help you look and feel young and healthy.
What I like most about sleeping naked is the intimacy factor; whether I am sleeping alone or with someone else. There is a lovely sense of freedom, softness and vulnerability that comes with being naked. We spend most of our lives in clothes, often clothes that alter our true form; ‘something to bring you in at the waist, these will make you look taller, black is slimming!’ This paired with Photoshop and Instagram filters, few of us know or value our real bodies. Being naked for at least 8 hours out of 24 will give you the chance to get familiar with your most authentic self, and this familiarity or comfortability will no doubt help you to love yourself just the way you are. Being naked with someone else is a sometimes a scary prospect so the more time you spend getting comfortable in your own skin by yourself, the more confident you will be with someone else. Sleeping skin to skin releases Oxytocin ‘the love hormone’, so doing this with a partner/s will bring you closer and in most cases result in a more fulfilling love/ sex life.
Of course it is ok to not sleep naked if that’s not your thing - your comfort comes first. But if you have been curious about the benefits of sleeping naked now you have a few reasons to give it a try. At the very least, try sleeping without underwear, maybe just wear an oversized T-shirt or nightie. Underwear is restricting and can negatively impact the natural bacteria of genitals; for people with vulvas wearing tight underwear can cause or prolong conditions such as thrush or vaginitis which thrive in moist and warm places. It’s best to allow genitals and your skin to breath at night, as there is little opportunity to do this during the day.
This life hack is something I can credit my mum for, she may love pajamas but rule number one in our childhood bedtime routine was strictly “no undies!” So for that invaluable life lesson, I will always accept my annual pair of PJs with gratitude (a giggle and a little side eye to my sister).