When it comes to sleeping in the buff, people have a lot of strong opinions. According to one survey, while 31% of Americans sleep fully clothed, 52% sleep partially clothed, and 17% sleep in their birthday suits.
But are there actually any benefits to sleeping nude or partially clothed? We turned to the people of the internet and sleep expert Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleepand a professor of neuroscience at UC Berkeley, to find out.
Sleeping in the buff may help you get better sleep.
Unfortunately, Walker says that there's little scientific proof supporting the potential health benefits of sleeping in the buff. But we can glean some information from hunter-gatherer tribes in Africa who are more exposed to temperature changes. One study found that sleep cycles of hunter-gatherers were linked to temperature: they fall asleep when temps start to dip and wake up when temperatures are at their coldest. Walker says this suggests that covering up may make it harder for our bodies to release heat.
Additional research also suggests that cooler temperatures are advantageous to quality sleep, with one study from Science Advances suggesting that people get worse sleep as temperatures increase. Redditor lurking_for_sure agrees, writing: "I'm like a sleeping furnace so at the most I wear a pair of boxers. Nude sleeping > Any other bullshit way of sleeping."
It may help with your relationship and sex life.
There's tons of evidence that skin-to-skin contact creates a boost in oxytocin, the bonding hormone, which contributes to increased feelings of intimacy and bonding. While most of this research focuses on mothers and infants, it follows that skin-to-skin contact could help boost feelings of intimacy between you and your partner as well.
Of course, there are obvious advantages for your sex life, too. "I like sleeping naked with company because it makes spontaneous sex more convenient," Reddit user wynyxwrites.
It can boost your fertility.
According to one 2015 study, men who wore boxers and slept naked had less DNA fragmentation in their sperm (i.e., higher-quality sperm) than men who wore tighty-whities both during the day and to bed. Researchers speculate that this may have something to do with lower room temperatures keeping the testes nice and cool.
Ultimately, more research is needed to determine whether sleeping in the buff is actually awesome for your overall health. But if you keep waking up in pools of sweat caused by heavy sheets and blankets, it's definitely worth a shot.
This article originally appeared on Men's Health US.