By Elizabeth Marglin Originally posted on vitacost.com
Children are on to something.
They know that getting undressed and running around naked is perfectly normal toddler behavior. But then they grow up and learn appropriate social decorum, and the urge to bare all subsides—somewhat. In all of us, somewhere, is the joy of being unencumbered by clothing, of being in touch with our most essential and primitive self.
As it turns out, being naked isn’t just liberating—it actually has some health benefits. Here are five reasons to strip down to your birthday suit more often.
1. BETTER SLEEP
A lower body temp helps you fall asleep. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, our body temperatures decrease in order to initiate sleep. If your skin temperature drops by one degree Celsius, it can minimize middle of the night fitfulness and early morning waking.
Shedding that unnecessary layer of clothing assists your body’s attempts to cool down. Especially when its warmer out, sleeping naked does away with extra insulation that may be causing you to sweat. So when you are all hot and bothered, lose the pajamas. It’s an easy way to lower your body temp.
2. CLEARER, HEALTHIER SKIN AND PRIVATES
Tight clothing and synthetic fabrics stifle the skin, resulting in rashes and clogged pores. At night, you can let your skin breathe, which will also support its natural ability to detox.
Plus, when you go commando, your privates get a chance to get some much-needed air. Underwear creates a moist breeding ground for the bacteria and sweat that emanates from your nether regions. This exacerbates certain skin conditions, such as jock itch and yeast infections. Free your bits—at least once in a while. Your whole body will let out a grateful exhale.
3. MORE COMFORTABLE IN YOUR SKIN
Allowing yourself to spend time naked lets you get in touch with your body from the inside out. Studies suggest that nudity reduces shame and increases self-acceptance.
A group of researchers from Goldsmiths, University of London explored the connections between nudity and well-being. The study, published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, came to the conclusion that taking off your clothes around strangers is probably good for you.
Keon West, a psychologist at the University, found that those who spent time naked around others “like their bodies more, regard themselves more positively, and are more satisfied with life.”
4. DEEPER BOND WITH YOUR PARTNER
As soon as you are born, you crave skin-to-skin contact, also referred to as kangaroo care. According to a paper published in Newborn and Infant Nursing Reviews, “There is good evidence that normal, term newborns who are placed skin to skin with their mothers immediately after birth make the transition from fetal to newborn life with greater respiratory, temperature and glucose stability and significantly less crying indicating decreased stress.”
Skin-to-skin contact for adults also helps decrease stress levels and signals the body to release of oxytocin–the “happy chemical” essential for cultivating and maintaining intimate, healthy relationships. Plus, all that oxytocin flowing around in your brain may make your sex life more satisfying as well.
5. INCREASED FERTILITY
Letting it all hang out (and down) has a real upside. According to a 2015 study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Maryland, and Stanford University, “men who wore boxer shorts during the day and nothing to bed had significantly lower levels of damaged DNA in their sperm compared to those who wore tight underpants during the day and at night.”
So if you want better semen quality, ditch the tighty whities. Men who slept naked and opted for loose boxers by day experienced 25 percent less DNA fragmentation than those who kept their junk under wraps.
Elizabeth Marglin is a journalist/content creator whose favorite subjects are healthy living, sustainability, natural beauty, integrative therapies, mindfulness practices and parenting. She has been a regular contributor to the magazines Natural Solutions, Natural Health, FitPregnancy, Backpacker, and Colorado Homes & Lifestyles as well as the websites gaiam.com, deliciousliving.com, smartwatt.com, and the Huffington Post. She is also the coauthor of The Mother’s Wisdom Deck, a gorgeous inspiration deck designed for mothers. When she’s not perusing labels or creating new smoothie recipes in her Vitamix, Elizabeth can be found scheming up strategies to get her kids to eat their vegetables.