“Saying that being naked means better deep sleep doesn’t really mean it,” says trained psychologist Markus B. Specht. He heads the center for interdisciplinary sleep medicine at the DKD Helios Clinic Wiesbaden.
In the interview, he explains why it can make a difference whether you sleep with or without clothes on, and what hygiene looks like in bed.
Question: Opinions are divided on sleeping naked. What does medicine recommend in a dream?
Markus Specht: Actually, it’s very individual. Ultimately, it has to do with how good you feel.
But I would not recommend sleeping without clothes. When we sleep, we go through different stages of sleep, always alternating between deep sleep and dreams. During sleep, our thermoregulation is not very good.
And if I sweat a lot, it can cause not only my clothes that I’m not wearing, but my whole blanket to get wet, and you can open up. When it’s winter temperatures outside, the next cold spell is very close.
Since we dream almost 20 percent of the night, it is especially important that we at least protect ourselves from colds by wearing underwear. The bedroom should generally have a good temperature, it should not be higher than 21 and not lower than 17 degrees.
By the way: sleeping without clothes in the summer can be good, but it can also be negative. Especially when you sleep with the window open and a pleasant breeze cools you down. It can also lead to unpleasant side effects such as colds and the like.
Question: When you sleep without clothes, you immediately think about the hygiene aspect. How hygienic is it to sleep naked?
Specht: You can do this if you wash your bedding at least once a week. Even if you wear sleepwear, you should change your bedding every two weeks since you spend an average of eight hours in bed. During this time, you will release body fluids, such as by sweating.
If you wear a sweaty T-shirt two days in a row, it won’t smell as good. Pathogens may also spread more and more. So you can imagine it’s the same with bedding.
Question: Is it even possible to say what makes good pajamas?
Specht: There are patients who like to sleep in tight clothes. And some people need it to be very wide and loose. The classic nightgown with nightcap that people used to use before no longer exists, or almost no one has it anymore.
But everyone must see for themselves what they feel most comfortable in. If I’m lying in bed wearing uncomfortable clothes and feeling uncomfortable, sleep disturbance is inevitable.
About the person: Markus B. Specht is a psychological psychotherapist specializing in behavioral therapy, as well as a sleep specialist and board member of the German Society for Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine.
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