When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there are various factors that come into play. The room's temperature, lighting and white noise are all things that affect how well people sleep.
However, for many of us, a comfortable pair of pajamas is really all we need for a great slumber. In fact, people love their sleepwear so much that pajamas are turning into everyday wear. It's no wonder the sleep and loungewear industry is worth billions of dollars.
But if you truly want to improve your odds of getting peaceful shut-eye while reducing your risk of health complications, ditch your nightwear, especially your underwear.
Sleeping without clothes on has some amazing health benefits that many people aren't aware of. This is probably because for most of our lives we've been told that wearing pajamas to bed is the proper way to sleep.
When you have clothes on during sleep, your body temperature rises and reduces the amount of melatonin and growth hormone it produces, both of which are important for repair, stress-reduction, regulating your metabolism and anti-aging. You'll also get deeper and longer sleep when your body is cool.
Additionally, wearing underwear or tight bottoms to bed, especially if you're a woman, can have some nasty consequences.
Growing up, I've been told by my mom and some aunts that I should limit the number of times I wear underwear to bed because I could develop a bad infection. Turns out, they were definitely onto something.
"If [the area] is constantly covered—especially by a fabric that's not moisture-wicking or absorbent—moisture collects," Dr. Alyssa Dweck, gynecologist and author of V for Vagina, told Shape. "That's a perfect breeding ground for bacteria or yeast."
Most of us are already covering our nether regions all day long, so sleeping commando is the perfect way to let your vagina breathe, especially if you're already prone to getting yeast infections and annoying infections like vaginosis.
If you're someone who absolutely cannot go to bed without underwear, Dweck suggests opting for cotton "granny panties," looser fitting panties or even a pair of men's boxers. Whatever you do, avoid silk and lace underwear as they aren't breathable fabrics and will restrict airflow.
Also, you should never ever go to bed in the same pair of panties you wore all day. Depending on the style and fabric of the underwear (thongs are the worst), not only will bacteria thrive, you're also at risk for a more severe infection if fecal matter makes its way to your vagina.
As for men, you too should give the undies a break at night. Some men are prone to getting fungal infections in the groin area, and this can be prevented by ditching the tighty whities. Try sleeping with a pair of loose cotton shorts or pajama pants instead.