Sleep occupies a third of our lives, but how important is what you wear while you are doing it?
Bodies and sleep habits, just like our personalities, are unique. Whilst some choose long johns or granny flannels, others prefer their birthday suits.
So what are the key snooze-wear criteria when it comes to health, comfort and feeling sexy?
PJs with sex appeal, or sleep appeal?
Humans love to play. We don’t have fur or fancy feathers so we have adopted costumes to “dress the part” for any occasion. No surprise there is distinction between “sex” clothes and “sleep” clothes.
Peek-a-boo nighties which accentuate the figure may perk up libido, but daring designs may not be so desirable when our objective is to nod off.
Social conventions have always played a major role in human courtship rituals, sleepwear is no exception.
Union suits and full-length night gowns (granny flannels) were like body armor meant to inhibit rather than encourage intimate contact.
Today however, there are so many options that we all owe it to ourselves to play the field a bit when it comes to finding PJs that suit our taste and lifestyle.
Nature vs NASA?
Space engineering has revolutionized textiles, but are these newfangled threads better than tried and true natural fabrics? “Wicking” technology describes fabric ability to funnel moisture away from our skin.
Combined with fiber types and weaving techniques that create incredibly soft and lightweight materials, NASA patents have taken the retail clothing market by storm. The only downside: they are all synthetics.
Just as plastic food containers can give off harmful chemicals, some modern fabrics can also have toxic side effects.
When we sweat our pores open and though moisture is being released to regulate temperature, our skin and respiratory systems are also absorbing chemical agents and microfibers from our environment.
Time trusted staples like cotton and wool have research behind them that confirm their worth and safety, so long as they have not been treated with potentially toxic chemical dyes or fire retardants.
If being eco-friendly is as important to you as quality shut-eye, you will be glad to know that advances are being made with other natural materials too.
Hemp has long been praised for its naturally antimicrobial and antifungal properties and is a more sustainable crop than cotton. Another up and coming material is bamboo which shares many of hemp’s health and eco-friendly properties while producing much softer cloth.
There are no pajamas like… no pajamas
Sleeping naked has many benefits acknowledged by real, scientific research. Sleeping free of elastic bands, buttons that press into your skin or long twisting garments has clear benefits for your circulation.
Your body doesn’t need to sweat as much to lower your core temperature and has an easier time creating its ideal microclimate between the sheets.
Though I do not advocate sleep streaking, particularly this time of year, if you haven’t tried sleeping “au naturale” I urge you to do so. You might be pleasantly surprised by the sense of freedom you will experience.
If it just feels odd, no worries. Sleeping naked will provide a new perspective when it comes to the quality of bed linens though. It is nobody’s business but our own what we choose to wear to bed so why not experiment?
The sweat factor
We have all woken up at one time or another sweaty. Famous zoologist Desmond Morris dubbed us “naked apes”, and with no fur for insulation, being sweaty has become part of sleeping for humans.
3% of the population suffer from night sweats, or sleep hyperhidrosis. The condition causes excessive sweating during sleep, unrelated to an overheated environment.
But even if you don’t suffer from night sweats, unless you relish the idea of drenched sheets and soggy sleepwear, you’re best to avoid fabrics that increase your body temperature at night.
Lingerie may be sold to us as a hallmark of feminine identity but the media who promotes these images don’t care that these fabrics may make you sweat like a hog during sex and sleep.
Also, just like snug fitting skivvies aren’t the best for guys, form fitting synthetic undies can also have a negative impact on women’s reproductive health.
Bottom line is, sleepwear that increases your temperature forces your body to compensate by sweating more. That can lead to dehydration. Contact with damp material could also increase myoskeletal discomfort and skin irritation.
The most important pajama choice factors are:
- Health – fiber content, weave and thickness for optimum temperature regulation and no tight elastic. (I would like to add sustainability here but that is up to the individual.)
- Comfort – fit and feel that inspires relaxation.
- Fun – your PJs (or lack of) should reflect your unique personality.
What you wear to bed is more important than you think. Don’t be afraid to get your groove on for sex using whatever costumes improve the experience, but when it is time for “night night” show your body and the environment some love.