Team pajamas or team birthday suit?
Here's why you should wear PJs to bed.
When it comes to attire you sleep in, there are really only three options: pajamas, wearing your day clothes, or sleeping in the buff. Seems easy to choose between them, right? A sleep study from 2017 conducted by Mattress Firm and A2B found that only 26% of participants reported wearing pajamas—and 10% of respondents reported sleeping in the nude.
What are the other 60% of respondents wearing to bed? Hopefully, they're not sleeping in their street clothes—that is, clothing they wear outside of the house—because wearing designated sleep clothing may help you to sleep better.
4 Benefits to Wearing Pajamas to Bed
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals are now hyper aware of how we may come into contact with harmful bacteria and viruses. During the pandemic, when it feels like pajamas are the new street wear, it's best not to wear clothes worn anywhere out of the house into bed. Germs can live on clothes—and so can bugs you pick up outside, like ticks—so it is always a good idea to change into clean sleep clothing before bed.
Even if you don't leave the house, humans shed an estimated 40,000 skin cells each day and up to a liter of sweat (especially during the warmer months). Wearing clothes with these skin cells and sweat baked into bed may aggravate skin conditions like acne, eczema, and in-grown hairs.
Sleeping in the buff doesn't solve any hygiene problems either, since any night sweat and skin cells will then go directly onto the sheets while you're asleep. While this isn't terrible, it's easier to change and clean your clothes than it is to swap out your sheets every night.
Enhance a Night Time Ritual
Just as changing out of pajamas into day clothing or a work outfit can help us feel ready to approach the day, the same can be said for changing into pajamas. A diligent pre-bed ritual signals to our brains it is time for bed. Even something as simple as changing into a fresh pair of pajamas is a subconscious way of telling your body that bedtime is on the horizon.
NPR reports that in order to promote deep sleep, our body needs to drop in temperature at least two to three degrees Fahrenheit.
Sleeping in a cooler room is proven to promote better sleep, but since body temperature naturally drops while we snooze, it can be difficult to maintain proper body temperature, particularly when sleeping naked. Being too cold (or conversely too hot) can impact sleep by causing us to wake up out of REM sleep due to discomfort. Choosing warmer flannel PJs (if you tend to run cold) or cooler breathable PJs (if you tend to run hot or sweat a lot) can help you stay comfortable—and asleep—throughout the night.
Better Sleep Overall
Proper temperature regulation not only helps individuals sleep longer, but promotes deeper sleep. This may be why the Mattress Firm sleep study found that respondents who wore PJs to bed said they were more likely to fall asleep easily, stay asleep, and feel more alert once awake. That is, compared to those who wore street clothes or slept naked.
How to Choose the Right Pajamas
Most who ardently dislike pajamas probably just didn't have the right pair! Here's a tip: Make sure you choose the pajamas that are right for you—because comfortable PJs, just like a comfortable mattress, is a matter of preference. Just because one person tells you a pair is “buttery soft" or “very breathable" doesn't mean they're right for you.
When evaluating the type of pajamas to get, consider the following:
- Do you tend to run hot or cold?
- How hot (or cold) does your bedroom tend to be?
- How thick is your comforter? Do you like to sleep with a thicker blanket?
- Do you tend to sweat in the night (a special consideration for menopausal and perimenopausal women)?
- Do you have any fabric allergies?
- Do you have any personal preferences, like tank tops over tees, or shorts instead of pants?
To start, try pajamas made of a lightweight, breathable fabric (like cotton or other performance fabric) that is easy to wash.