It’s one of life’s fundamental questions, like whether you’re a dog person or a cat person, or prefer to vacation in the mountains or at the beach: Do you sleep in pajamas or au naturel? If you’re like most Americans, you opt for PJs over sleeping naked. According to a National Sleep Foundation study, just 12% of people regularly sleep in the nude.
But they may be on to something. There’s quite a bit of evidence supporting the health benefits of sleeping naked.
1. Sleeping naked means better sleep
Why sleep naked? While the average normal body temperature during waking hours is 98.6°F, it drops around two degrees while you sleep. Then it begins rising again shortly before you wake up. Sleeping in pajamas keeps you a little warmer than you need to be, which interferes with that natural overnight temperature drop. As a result, you’re more likely to wake up during the night or not sleep as deeply as you otherwise would if you were sleeping naked. And that has its own consequences, including increased negative emotions, higher risk of heart disease, and reduced energy and sex drive.
2. Sleeping naked could help you lose weight
Sleeping cooler, which is easier when sleeping in the buff, might boost metabolism and aid in weight loss. A 2014 National Institutes of Health study found that maintaining a colder temperature overnight increases the body’s level of calorie-burning “brown fat.” For the study, five young men slept in rooms that were kept at 75° for two months, 66° for one month, and 80° for one month. At the end of the experiment, researchers found that the men experienced a 42% increase in brown fat while sleeping in the 66° room, and also showed an increased ability to metabolize glucose.
3. Your junk food cravings will subside
As the body cools down during sleep, you release more human growth hormone and less cortisol—aka the “stress hormone.” Inhibit that cooling by wearing heavy pajamas, and cortisol production stays elevated. Cortisol, which causes insulin to spike and blood sugar to drop, increases your appetite, especially for sugary foods. So, sleeping nude may lead to better eating habits.
4. You’ll have more sex
Another reason why sleeping naked is good for you: It encourages two healthy activities best done on your mattress—sleep and sex. When you’re already naked, sex is more likely to follow, and not just because you don’t have jammies getting in the way. Skin-on-skin contact, one of the best benefits of sleeping next to someone, ups your oxytocin (the “love hormone”). Oxytocin is linked to better communication and emotional support between partners as well as more intense orgasms.
5. Your privates will be healthier if you sleep naked
One of the benefits of sleeping naked is that air circulates better to your private parts, reducing the moisture and heat that tend to build up in those typically covered areas. That’s a good thing because moist and warm conditions encourage the growth of itch-inducing yeast and the fungus that causes jock itch. So go commando and let your privates breathe easy overnight.
Sleeping naked calls for comfortable, breathable sheets
6. You’ll look younger
Who needs pricey anti-aging treatments? All you have to do is take off all your clothes before getting into bed to look younger and healthier. The reason, once again, comes down to hormones. As your temperature drops during sleep, your body releases melatonin and human growth hormone, both of which can affect your appearance. According to a study in the Journal of Pineal Research, melatonin stimulates antioxidant production, which in turn curbs free radicals, the molecules that cause skin aging. Meanwhile, research has shown that human growth hormone is important to maintaining healthy, youthful skin.
7. You’ll wake up in a better mood after sleeping naked
It’s no secret that a lousy night of sleep leaves you feeling irritable, stressed, and generally not yourself. Studies have shown that even a few nights of reduced sleep can cause mental fatigue, anger, and stress. But thankfully, once you get back on track, those negative effects quickly subside. So why risk letting a pair of pajamas mess with your mood? Get nude. Sleeping naked is one of the easiest ways to promote a smooth trip to the land of Nod.
Read next: The Case for Sleeping With Dogs