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Twelve percent of Americans sleep naked, says a recent National Sleep Foundation poll. Another study of 3,700 Americans found only 8 percent slept in the buff. Whichever study is correct, they both point to one thing: Few of us are getting naked to get our Zzzs. Pity. Shedding your clothes before you slide between the sheets is good for your health. You should give it a try for these four reasons:

  1. You’ll sleep better. Forgoing pajamas before tucking in at night will help you snooze more soundly. Your body temperature drops naturally as you doze and climbs before you wake, but clothing can interfere with this process. If you’re too hot, you toss and turnand wake up sweaty at o’dark-thirty.
  2. You’ll rev your metabolism. A 2014 study in the journalDiabetes reports that when people slept in a cool room, they produced double the volume of brown fat—a type of fat that burns energy instead of storing it the way ordinary fat does—compared to when they slept in a warmer room. We’re still studying the benefits of manipulating brown fat, but early research suggests exposure to cold, including sleeping in a chilly bedroom, may increase amounts of brown fat. This may in turn help you lose weight and improve glucose levels and insulin function. The cooling effects of sleeping without clothing may contribute to improving the way brown fat works in the body.
  3. You’ll protect your private parts. Bacteria revel in warm, moist environments. Underwear trap heat and moisture around your genitals, inviting infection and, for men, lowering sperm quality. Just something to think about if you’re trying to have babies.
  4. You’ll enhance intimacy. Skin-to-skin contact triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin in your brain. This feel-good hormone reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and makes you feel more connected to your partner. One recent study of the bedroom and sleep habits of 1,000 adults found that couples that sleep naked were more likely to report being happier in their relationships. And let’s face it, ditching bedclothes and curling up next to your partner nude probably won’t hurt your sex life, either.

If sleeping naked isn’t quite your thing, try to wear as little clothing as you can so you can avoid overheating, sleep more soundly and reap the benefits of nighttime nudity.

This post appeared first on Black Health Matters.

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