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What You Should and Shouldn’t Wear to Bed

Written by Jackson Lindeke

Have you ever wondered what you should actually wear to bed? While it may seem like a trivial question, wearing the right things to bed can make a big difference in your quality of sleep and overall health. Studies have linked poor sleep to everything from relationship problems to car crashes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even diabetes.

Wearing the right clothes to bed is one of the first steps towards a healthy level of sleep. Below, we’ll walk you through which clothing you should look for and avoid when you’re ready to catch some z’s. At the end, we’ll also explore the type of bedding that can facilitate a great night’s sleep — whether or not you’re sleeping in clothes.

What You Should Wear to Bed

Birthday Suit

That’s right: sleeping in the nude is actually good for your health. The primary reasons? Not only does sleeping without clothes give your body free range of motion, it also has the potential to lower your overall body temperature.

Sleeping at the ideal body temperature has various benefits. The best outer temperature for sleeping is somewhere between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. This level of temperature helps your body thermoregulate, meaning you’ll have an easier time entering into a state of deep sleep that rejuvenates you for the day ahead.

Breathable Pajamas

There are still some great alternatives if you’re not excited about the prospect of sleeping naked. Pick out breathable pajamas that fit loosely and allow you plenty of range of motion. Next, select a fabric that’s breathable and won’t make you overheat.

Natural materials like cotton, fleece, silk, and linen can all be great choices for pajamas, depending on the climate you live in and your natural body temperature. You should also take a look at the fabric’s weave. For example, jersey knits are well known for their bounce and stretch, translating into a cozy night’s sleep.

Clean Clothes

Make sure those pajamas you’re bringing to bed don’t have a lot of sweat and skin buildup. Not only does it make for a less pleasant experience, but wearing dirty clothes at night can actually cause skin infections. This is especially true if you’re overheating and sweating even more in your clothes.

Your bodily oils will begin to accumulate inside the clothes and may cause acne on places like your back or shoulders. Additionally, enough exposure to dirty clothes could cause a rash called contact dermatitis, which may result in red skin that’s itchy, swelling, and irritated. At its worst, contact dermatitis can give you blisters or bumps that are filled with a clear fluid. At the end of the day, it’s much more worth it to wash your clothes and wear something breathable if you decide not to sleep in the nude.

Lightweight Socks

If your feet run too cold at night then you may have trouble getting a deep night’s sleep. You’ll likely have a hard time thermoregulating if your extremities are colder than the rest of your body. In fact, one study found that wearing the correct kind of socks to bed can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep by 15 minutes.

At the same time, wearing very thick and insulating socks made out of fabric like wool may have the opposite effect, overheating your feet and causing them to create additional sweat and moisture. Avoid compression socks and instead look for those with natural and breathable materials.

For the best results, change to a new pair of socks before you go to bed so you’re not exposed to old dirt and bacteria. Bathe in warm water or shower before bed, then fully dry your feet before putting on socks to prevent possible fungal infections. Keeping your feet from freezing at night will have an overall positive impact on your sleep.

Ear and Eye Covers

Trying to fall asleep while there’s excessive light or sound is a surefire way to wake up feeling unrested. Investing in an eye mask and ear plugs will eliminate distractions and help you sleep soundly, regardless of what’s happening around you.

The best sleep masks should be soft and breathable and easily contour to your face to keep unwanted light out. Most sleep masks are made of natural materials like cotton and silk, or synthetic fibers like polyester. Choosing a durable and natural material will help you sleep the best.. You may also like weighted sleep masks if you’re a fan of weighted blankets, which some consumers find help them relax and sleep better.

Earplugs can also prevent you from waking up prematurely. The best earplugs for sleeping are usually made of either foam or silicone. Foam earplugs fit into your ear canal and then expand, creating a barrier to block out sound. Silicone earplugs are inserted into the ear canal but don’t go too deep into your ear. This may be ideal for sleepers who want a less intrusive and reusable earplug.

What You Shouldn’t Wear to Bed


Many people like wearing their underwear to bed, but this move is actually bad for your health and your sleep quality. Tight underwear, above all, can breed bacteria for both men and women. Women are especially susceptible to vaginal irritation and inflammation while wearing tight underwear at night. A fabric that doesn’t allow your skin to breathe could cause discomfort and even problems such as yeast infections.

If you aren’t ready to let go of your underwear for bedtime, then follow some other best practices. Men and women alike should wear more loose underwear, such as cotton shorts. Avoid materials like nylon, which keep your skin from breathing at night and may create a breeding ground for bacteria and other skin irritations.

Tight Clothes

Tight clothes are one of the worst things you can wear for a quality night’s sleep. Very tight clothing can actually be dangerous for your health. For example, wearing skinny jeans can pinch your nerves and cause painful tingling and numbness. When you wear tight clothing all the time — and while you sleep — your body may prevent products from flowing through your lymph nodes, potentially causing problems for your immune system.

Opt for loose-fitting clothes that allow for easy movement and comfort if you decide to wear clothes to bed. Tight waistbands are another no-no: one study found that tight garments could markedly suppress melatonin levels from elevating at night. With lower melatonin levels in your body at night, you may have a harder time falling and staying asleep.


Bras are another kind of tight clothing that can cause damage to your skin and even your ability to breathe during the night. In the past, some women used to wear bras to bed with the misguided belief that it would help maintain their breasts’ shape over the years. But studies have shown this is false — in fact, they may actually prevent breasts from achieving a natural lift.

Additionally, wearing a bra at night can dig into your skin and cause skin infections. The restricted nature of a bra may also make it harder to breathe. Not being able to breathe correctly may cause you to wake more often during the night, resulting in a worse night’s sleep. Wearing a bra to bed simply isn’t worth it.


Some people may feel like they don’t have the energy to wash off their makeup after a long day’s work. However, falling asleep with makeup on your face can clog your pores and cause you to break out or even develop wrinkles sooner than you would.

Before you go to bed, use a gentle makeup remover on your face. You’ll know this works if you put a cotton pad on your skin and it comes back clean. After that, use a gentle face cleanser that will wipe off any remaining grime on your face. Using a hydrating moisturizer will also help relieve your skin from the drying properties of regularly wearing makeup and cleansing your face.

Choosing the Right Bedding

Regardless of what you wear to sleep, choosing the right bedding is also key to help you get a good night’s sleep. Just like clothes, high-quality bedding matters because the materials can make or break your sleeping experience.

Here’s what you should look for:

  • Breathable material. Look for sheets, pillowcases, and comforters that won’t suffocate your skin. Quality materials are natural and breathable, such as cotton, eucalyptus, and silk. These materials are moisture-wicking, meaning they won’t absorb sweat and make you damp at night.
  • Flexible weaves. Percale and jersey weaves are known for their flexibility, strength, and softness. Just like avoiding tight clothes at night, having flexible sheets will keep you comfortable and help you sleep better.
  • Appropriate temperatures. Find cooling sheets that don’t cause you to overheat at night, and choose a comforter or duvet that fits the climate you’re sleeping in so you don’t wake up too hot or cold. Many of the best comforters have quality inner fills like goose down, down alternative, and cotton to keep you the right temperature at night.


Keeping your body at the correct temperature and in a comfortable environment will create a solid foundation for you to sleep well. Whether you decide to sleep in the nude, wear loose and breathable pajamas, or put on lightweight socks, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable with your movement and temperature levels. Choosing material that is breathable and moisture wicking will always help, and making sure those materials are clean and free of excess bacteria will leave both your skin and your overall health in better condition.

Additional Tuck Resources

Looking for other ways to stay comfortable at night? These products will help you sleep soundly.

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