Sleep Naked, Dream Bigger: Why The Secret To A Better Life Is As Simple As Taking It Off

by Lauren Martin

I can’t recall the exact date of my first time, but I remember it was special.

I remember the warmth of exposed skin and a freeness I’d never felt before. I remember the coldness on my back and the sweat that gathered between the sheets so delicately. I remember the soft, smooth covers and the bareness of my legs, sliding across the mattress.

It was that first time that changed everything for me. The first time that made me wonder how I lived for so long without it. The first time that turned into every time, as I swore I would sleep naked for the rest of my life.

Like losing your virginity, it’s a monumental moment in one's life, as you test the limits and shed the PJS for the birthday suit.

That one liberating moment when you decide to give up man-made norms and live like the animal you are… naked and free. It’s that first time you decide to risk letting someone walk in on you in your most vulnerable position. It’s the first time you really let yourself go.

For such a natural human function, it’s surprising that more people don’t sleep this way.

In a countrywide survey conducted on National Sleep Day, linen retailers, Anna’s Linens found that only 8 percent of people admittedly sleep naked. In a poll of 3,700 people, 74 percent reported sleeping in pajamas, with the other 18 percent reportedly sleeping in “something else,” which we can only deduce as underwear or chains.

As part of this research, PR Newswire reported that two-thirds of these participants only got a “restful night’s sleep” two or three nights out of the week. While only 10 percent reported to getting a restful sleep every night.

Judging that 75 percent sleep in pajamas and 75 percent don’t sleep well throughout the week, is it too audacious to assume that sleeping nude is the saving factor for the small percentage of those who are reported to sleep soundly?

Does sounder sleep make happier people? The evidence is in and people who sleep naked definitely wake up to healthier and happier lives. They are more lucid dreamers and achieve the most REM sleep, which in turn leads to the most rest and health benefits that occur during our time in dreamland.

But on a deeper, more unconscious level, those who sleep in the nude are the ones more attune with their true selves and their most animalistic sides. They are comfortable enough with their flaws and their vulnerabilities to lie wrapped up in them for hours.

You know how to cool off

Those who sleep naked know how to keep themselves regulated. We live in an unnatural world of air-conditioning and artificial heat; those with the balls to go nude, sleep in the most restorative state.

Refusing to let your body cool off inhibits the anti-aging and growth hormones that are released only at temperatures below 70 degrees. Night is meant to be dark and cool for the release of melatonin, which triggers a cool-down in the body necessary for ample bodily processes to occur. Even just a degree or two from the wool of your pajamas can throw your sleep off track and these processes out of wack.

According to a study reported by "Huffington Post," body temperature is a major factor for those with insomnia. In an experiment done by some Dutch researches, those with slightly cooler body temperatures sleep better throughout the night, waking up less than those with higher body temperatures of even just one degree Celcius.

It’s proven that wearing an extra layer of clothes adds enough heat to keep you tossing and turning throughout the night. So if shedding some pajama pants will lead to a better night's sleep, which leads to a better you, what are you waiting for?

You never wake up on the "wrong side of the bed"

Waking up on the wrong side of the bed isn't due to one's sleeping position throughout the night, but sleeping patterns. Those who never achieve that deep level of unconscious dream-state sleep known as REM sleep are mentally and physically disadvantaged than those who sleep like babies.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, while it’s the most important phase of sleep, we only spend 25 percent of our time in REM sleep. It occurs every 90 minutes, beginning after the first 90 minutes of falling asleep. We fall into REM cycles longer throughout the night as we fall deeper into sleep.

According to Dr. Andrew Weil, founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, REM sleep has restorative functions vital for the proper functioning of our brains and bodies. The deep sleep we enter within REM allows for the repair of brain cells that can only occur during that 25 percent of unconsciousness.

These reparative processes in the brain are what keep our mind and body functioning properly throughout the day. Those who didn’t partake in proper REM sleep experience very real disadvantages while awake. Many without proper REM sleep experience paranoia, depression and hampered ability to learn.

There are also physical signs seen in loss of appetite and slowed reflexes. We've all experienced the mood swings and depressive states that comes with lack of sleep, but what we must remember is, stripping down will keep us in bed longer.

You dream bigger 

There’s a reason dream journals are no stranger to the therapist's office. As our unconscious voice talks to us, those who can hear it and remember what it was trying to say are more likely to be well-adjusted in their conscious state.

Listening to our unconscious and understanding what it’s saying when we don’t have our guards up is an important distinction between those who can get over traumas and those who cannot.

According to Rosalind Cartwright, Ph.D., a sleep and dream researcher at Chicago's Rush Medical Center, those who dream and remember their dreams are most likely to get over depressive moods.

While on the other end of the spectrum, sleep disorders in which many people don’t achieve REM and dream states, cause people to be less optimistic and social.

In the same study reported by Anna’s Linens, over half the respondents said they couldn’t remember more than a quarter of their dreams, while just another 10 percent reported to remember almost every dream the morning after the previous night.

Those who don’t sleep naked don’t REM. Those who don’t REM don’t dream. And those who don’t dream never escape.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It