is it bad to sleep in normal clothes?
Questions And Answers

Does Sleeping in Your Clothes Ruin Them?

Sometimes, after a long day, we’re so exhausted that we just want to crawl into bed and fall asleep immediately. Even the idea of showering and changing clothes feels overwhelming. However, sleep experts recommend avoiding sleeping in our clothes.

Sleeping in the clothes you wore all day can introduce bacteria and foreign objects to your bed.

Day-to-day clothing is often uncomfortable compared to nightwear, and it’s unlikely to keep you cool, which will disturb sleep. It’s advisable to wear pajamas or sleep naked in bed.

Street and nocturnal wear should be kept firmly separate in the spirit of hygiene, comfort, and aesthetics. Above all, sleeping in normal clothes isn’t a path to deep, restful slumber. Changing before bed is a habit that everybody should maintain, regardless of circumstances.

Is it Bad to Sleep with Your Clothes On?

An entire, lucrative industry is built around the concept of nightwear, from pajamas to nightdresses.

With so much emphasis on nocturnal clothing, you may wonder if it’s bad to sleep in normal clothes. This defines how we define “normal clothes.”

If you want to change into clean underwear and a baggy shirt or vest, this is no different from official nightwear. If this makes you comfortable, that’s great.

Let’s explore some scenarios that could make it tempting to sleep in street clothes:

Saving TimeYou have an early start, so you’ve taken a shower in the evening. Why not sleep in your clothes to save an extra few minutes that would be spent dressing in the morning?
ExhaustionIt’s been the longest of days and you’re dead on your feet. You won’t be spending any more time in the house but bed, nor will you be sharing that bed. Why bother changing?
Low TemperatureIt’s the height of winter and the boiler has broken, meaning that your home has no heating source. Sick of shivering, you decide to get under the bedcovers clad in long pants and a sweater.
PrivacyYou sleep in a college dormitory or have roommates, meaning that somebody could see you at any point while you’re in bed. Alternatively, maybe you sleepwalk, so sleeping in clothing maintains privacy in such circumstances.
SecurityYou like to feel that you’re always ready to respond to an unexpected event. If you hear an intruder or the fire alarm sounds, you want to know that you’re fully dressed and prepared to respond.

These are all understandable explanations for choosing to sleep in street clothes, but they’re countered by various arguments against this practice. Sleeping in clothes is likely to negatively impact sleep quality, negating any theoretical benefits of doing so.

Psychology

Some people don’t feel psychologically ready for sleep if they are still wearing street clothes. Changing into bedclothes can be an essential component of sleep hygiene, which Behavioral Medicine confirms is vital for quality sleep.

If you’re unfamiliar with sleep hygiene, this revolves around completing set rituals before bed each and every night. This could include brushing teeth, reading a book to reduce late-night screen time, and changing into pajamas – or at least removing the day’s clothing.

Think of this as a similar phenomenon to people that feel more ready to fulfill the duties of a working day when wearing a suit or uniform. Routine can be important, and removing street clothes may be the nudge your brain needs to start winding down for sleep.

sleeping in clothes you wore all day

Damage to Clothing

One concern about sleeping in your clothes is the damage that may be done to your garments. Many people spend a great deal of money on outfits, and the thought of ruining them while sleeping is far from appealing.

It’s possible that clothing could be damaged by wearing it to bed. Examples of damage that could be done to your favorite clothing by wearing it in bed can include:

  • Wear and tear, such as minor rips or stretching caused by tossing and turning in bed
  • Sweat stains that cannot be removed
  • Creases and indents that cannot be ironed out without damaging the garment
  • Loss or running of color due to excessive washing needed

As well as the clothing itself, there’s a substantial risk of tearing and damaging bedding by sleeping in clothes. Expensive, delicate sheets may be ripped when catching on unsuitable materials.

Dirt and Bacteria

The clothes you wear throughout the day will get dirty and attract bacteria. This isn’t a slight on your personal hygiene. It’s just a fact of life.

Every action we take, and everywhere we go, will attract germs and bacteria to our clothes. These unwelcome additions then cling onto our garments. This is why we do laundry, after all.

If you decide to sleep with your clothes on, these germs and bacteria are no longer restricted to your clothing. They will be transferred to bedsheets, where they will enjoy a new lease of life. Of course, not everyone washes their bedsheets.

The worst is yet to come, too. If you allow germs and bacteria to spread within your bed, they’ll reach your skin. According to the British Journal of Dermatology, this can result in dermatitis neglecta, aka unwashed dermatosis, an unsightly form of acne.

Discomfort

Assess every pair of pajamas you own, and you’ll notice that they all have something in common. They will be loose around the waist and chest – not so much to be ill-fitting, but enough to prevent any discomfort.

This quest for comfort is critical to getting a good night’s sleep and one of the key reasons why slumbering in street clothes is inadvisable. It’s almost impossible to find regular clothing as accommodating as official nightwear.

Many women consider the moment they can take off their bra and climb into bed the highlight of a day. The feeling of liberation is immense. Now, imagine this sensation all over your body.

From your shirt to your socks, every item of clothing is a potential source of constraint while you’re sleeping. By attempting to get into bed wearing your street clothes, you potentially condemn yourself to an otherwise avoidable restless night.

Circulation

According to the Journal of Experimental Biology, the circulatory system works had to increase blood flow while we sleep. This enables internal organs to recuperate and repair overnight, as well as aiding muscle tissue.

Part of the reason nightclothes fit so loosely, alongside comfort, is to enable this circulation to flow. If you’re in bed wearing a pair of jeans or a tight shirt, blood will struggle to move around the body.

This can have significant long-term effects on your health. You’ll likely struggle to sleep well, and it’s your heart that will suffer. You could elevate your legs to go some way to combat this concern, but that alone will not counteract any potential damage.

is it bad to sleep with your clothes on?

Temperature Regulation

Nightclothes play a crucial role in temperature regulation. It’s important to stay cool while we slumber, especially if prone to sleep apnea. The journal Sleep discusses how an ambient temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit leads to a more restful night than 75 Fahrenheit.

It can be tough to remain sufficiently cool in street clothes while under bedsheets. Unlike specialist bedclothes, they are not designed to regulate our temperature. You’ll likely grow increasingly hot as the night wears on.

At best, you’ll sweat profusely overnight. If you’re sleeping in your clothes to save time getting ready in the morning, this negates your plan – you’ll likely need to shower and change clothing.

What’s likelier is that you’ll struggle to sleep at all if you’re too hot, though. Excessive temperatures disrupt the natural rhythm of slumber, preventing us from enjoying an ideal light-REM-deep sleep cycle. That will naturally have a knock-on effect in the morning.

Can I Nap in My Normal Clothes?

Some people like to take a brief nap during the day, making up for any lost sleep overnight or simply recharging batteries ahead of tackling another task. When planning a rest, you may not be inclined to change your outfit completely.

It’s common to enjoy a short catnap in street clothes, and that’s rarely a problem. It could work even in your favor. Dozing in day-to-day clothing, with the minor discomfort that entails, means you’re less likely to fall into a deep sleep when hoping for a short power nap.

The usual caveats apply if you get into bed. Bacteria and dirt of the day will immediately be transferred to the bedsheets – where they’ll stay and potentially multiply until you retire for the night later.

To be on the safe side, take a nap on the top of your covers while wearing your clothes. Keep a spare blanket or comforter spare for warmth if necessary. If you plan to get into bed, seriously consider changing or removing your clothing.

Nightwear, or an absence thereof, is a matter of personal preference for everybody. Some people cannot imagine sleeping in anything, while others need a pair of pajamas, a nightshirt, or a nightdress to feel relaxed. Any of these arrangements are fine – just remove your street clothes before getting into bed.