There is no single, universal reason why women should go to bed with or without underwear; it almost always depends on what each person likes or finds more comfortable. However, regardless of individual tastes, we now know that sleeping without panties can actually be beneficial for your health.
“Women sleeping without panties is usually a cultural issue. There is a fear of the genitals as a result of the sexual taboo that makes us perceive them as something dirty and, in addition, due to that same lack of knowledge, we treat them as if they were a tremendously vulnerable area, and nudity is experienced with fear of friction or infections,” explains Sonia Encinas, a communicator and sexologist. However, “from the point of view of sexual well-being, sleeping without underwear has no negative consequences; quite the opposite.” Furthermore, the expert continues, “awakening genital sensations by releasing them from the pressure of panties or tight fabrics can help us connect more easily with pleasure.” Gynecologist Loyola García-Atance, specialist in intimate dermatology, adds: “Studies have shown that it also improves self-esteem and skin-to-skin contact with one’s partner and, consequently, sexual desire.”
Every once in a while, articles about sleeping without underwear pop up in different media outlets, all of them supported by sleep and sexuality experts. But what is beneficial about it? We have consulted some experts in sleep, sexual health and sexuality, and this is what they believe happens in the body when we decide to sleep au naturel.
You sleep better
According to the Sleep Foundation, spending the night without underwear helps us sleep better, and our skin will be much healthier. When we sleep, our body temperature naturally drops after three or four hours; sleeping too warmly will interrupt this process, so we will wake up more easily. “Among many other benefits, sleeping naked helps regulate body temperature and perspiration,” adds García-Atance. “Proper body temperature helps induce sleep and maintain it throughout the night. By improving rest and sleep quality, intellectual performance is improved,” she adds.
Many cosmetic brands are studying whether or not it is better to sleep without underwear. Thiomucase, from the Almirall pharmaceutical company, published an article explaining that the warmest point in our body is our intimate area. “Being without panties helps regulate body temperature; this will contribute to a good physical and mental rest, which will have an impact on all aspects of life, helping us perform better and improving our health.” The brand also explains that the genital area is prone to natural humidity and that sleeping without underwear airs out the genitals, keeping them dry and much cleaner.
“The vast majority of women without chronic gynecological diseases will not be affected by whether or not they wear underwear during sleep. However, women who suffer from recurrent vulvovaginal infections will benefit from doing so,” explains García-Atance. Thus, women with a predisposition to infections like candidiasis would greatly benefit from sleeping without panties.
One of the most frequently mentioned arguments regarding sleeping with nothing on alludes to the fact that it lets your vagina “breathe.” Although neither the vulvar skin nor the vagina actually breathe, the skin does air out. “Perspiration and ventilation are key for the body,” explains García-Atance, “especially the genitals. They are an area with folds, hair and humidity, which undoubtedly predisposes them to be the ideal breeding ground for fungi and bacteria. Improving conditions at that level greatly reduces the risk of infections.” Furthermore, the National Sleep Foundation has carried out research that revealed that the use of heavy clothing or blankets prevents the release of growth hormone, which hinders the nocturnal repair process of bones, muscles, and skin.
Lower stress, higher libido
This same study points out that sleeping without underwear can help regulate the levels of cortisol, a hormone related to stress. According to their conclusions, an adequate body temperature in bed helps prevent high blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as excess appetite, sleep interruptions and drops in libido. “Sleeping naked next to your partner may increase feelings of fulfillment and connection between couples. Partners who spend time engaging in skin-to-skin contact are more likely to feel less stressed and closer to their partner. Skin-to-skin contact releases the hormone oxytocin, which is a feel-good hormone that promotes feelings of safety and love while reducing anxiety. In addition to decreasing stress, sleeping naked with a partner may help you feel good about your body. Spending time naked around others increases self-esteem and a positive body image,” states the article.
The decision to wear underwear in bed or not is purely personal. However, if you are going to do it, there are some recommendations that you should follow. “The best would be loose cotton clothing. Avoid plastics, silicones, nylon and tight garments,” recommends García-Atance.
Some underwear brands are beginning to specialize in garments specifically designed for sleep. Black Limba, for instance, has a collection of bras and panties for bed. They are made with laser cuts and heat-sealed seams, which makes them almost imperceptible to the touch; they have great breathability, elasticity, and durability. The panties also have a cotton strip in the most intimate part, to avoid allergies. Oddbody is another brand that specializes in 100% cotton underwear and sells soft, high-waisted shorts that look very similar to the deluxe version that Miu Miu and Prada also created (to be worn outside, with no pants), which has already been worn by women like actress Emma Corrin (at the Venice Film Festival).
In recent times, many brands have launched their own versions of the period panties (from Uniqlo to DIM and Women’s Secret); some are even specializing in period panties for sleeping. The American brand Knix, for instance, sells a “leakproof sleep short.” All these designs include a series of characteristics that make them comfortable in bed: they have to be loose-fitting garments that allow proper blood circulation, that do not cause any type of chafing, made of cotton or natural fibers that maintain a good temperature in the area and promote perspiration to prevent the proliferation of fungi and bacteria. A good tip is to only wear these panties when sleeping, to extend their lifespan and prevent them from becoming deformed.
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