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Never Wear These Clothing Items When Sleeping, Experts Warn

When it comes to sleep, many people blame their sleeping issues on caffeine, stress, and health issues. Yes, these can all be contributing factors to insomnia.

But did you know that your sleeping attire can also impact the quality if your ZZZs? That’s right. Your matching PJs or fluffy sleeping set can make or break your sleep. As explained by Tony Klespis, a certified sleep science coach at MattressClarity, the best clothing items to sleep in should be loose-fitting and allow your skin to breathe.

If you have been having trouble sleeping and didn’t find a clear cause, your clothes might be the problem. To prevent future sleeping issues, here’s what certified sleep and health experts say you should never wear during sleep. Maybe it’s time to change your pajamas for something more comfortable! Let’s take a look!

Photo by Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley on Shutterstock

Clothing items you should never wear when sleeping:

  1. Underwear

Tight underwear can be a possible culprit for your poor sleep. Not only is it uncomfortable but it can lead to a series of health issues: for instance, it can cause yeast infections in women and lower sperm production in men.

As explained by Healthline, “candida, the bacteria responsible for yeast infections, thrives in warm, moist environments.” In the case of men, “warm, wet genitals are a breeding ground for fungi like tinea cruris, or jock itch.”

Recommendation: 100% cotton underwear.

Like your undies, your bra can also cause trouble. When too tight, bras can cause irritations and hyperpigmentation, warns Jen Wan, co-founder of skincare company Soteri Skin.

  1. Tight or heavy pajamas

As you’ve probably figured out, tight clothes do not favor sleep. That’s because tight clothing items can disrupt circulation in your body and airflow, cautions James Oliver, lead researcher, sleep expert, and founder at Hey Mattress. Not to mention it’s really uncomfortable.

In addition, tight or heavy pajamas can make your body temperature go up during sleep, causing you to wake up too often and sleep poorly. According to Jill Zwarensteyn, a certified sleep science coach and the editor at Sleep Advisor, flannel or fleece pajamas are not recommended as sleep attires.

Speaking of tight, are you Feeling Tightness in Your Throat? 5 Alarming Symptoms and How You Can Manage Them.

  1. Synthetic fabrics

Similar to heavy clothes, synthetic fabrics such as nylon or polyester can also disrupt your body’s temperature. “These fabrics can cause discomfort while sleeping since they don’t allow your skin to breathe, trapping body heat and leading to overheating during the night,” says Oliver.

Apart from ruining your sleep, synthetic fabrics can also cause health problems. As detailed by Chris McDermott, an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) at Intercoastal Consulting & Life Care Planning, such clothing “can trap heat and moisture, which can lead to skin irritation and fungal infections.”

Jeff Kahn, co-founder and CEO at Rise Science cautions against using sleepwear or bedding made of microfiber, which in reality is another name for polyester. To improve the quality of sleep and your sleeping environment, opt for natural fabrics such as linen, bamboo and cotton. These fabrics are cool and comfortable, perfect for a good night’s sleep.

  1. Dark colors

What does color have to do with sleep, you ask? That’s a fair question. According to sleep experts, dyes used to make clothes darker can cause dermatitis. The most vulnerable spots are the armpits, groin, back of knees, and arm creases, according to Patricia Pinto-Garcia, MD, MPH, medical editor at GoodRx.

For clothes in lighter colors, less dye is usually used, which reduces the risks of contact dermatitis. So, ditch your black PJ set and go for a lighter one if you want to sleep better.

You might also be interested in: Home Remedies for Insomnia: 9 Options That Actually Work

  1. Clothes you wore all day

If you know what’s best for your sleep and your health, stay away from sleeping in clothes you’ve been wearing all day. You’ve probably sat down and touched many different surfaces in the course of ten or twelve hours while you’ve been away. Even if your clothes look clean, they should not be used as pajamas.

Oliver explains that they are probably contaminated with bacteria and allergens which can cause irritations of the skin and even serious illnesses. In the case of people with seasonal allergies, the threat gets even more real. “If you wear these clothes overnight, you’re exposing yourself to additional hours of allergies which can make your allergy symptoms (sneezing, coughing, runny nose, watery/red/swollen eyes) worse,” says Pinto-Garcia. Maybe that’s the reason why you wake up in the morning with swollen eyes or a runny nose.

Photo by Vankara on Shutterstock
  1. Earrings

Earrings can go unnoticed by many people, who end up sleeping with their earrings on. But these tiny pieces of jewelry can disrupt your sleep in surprising ways. For one, earrings can get caught in your hair or clothes and you can end up with a ripped earlobe. Secondly, if they are made from nickel or cobalt, you could experience contact allergies and have rashes all over your neck.

You don’t have to equate the word earing with the word ouch, nor with the word insomnia. It can be quite dangerous to keep your earrings on while sleeping warns Lexi Taub, founder of Alexis Jae Jewelry. So, no matter how tired you are, make sure you take them off.

Now that you know what should be avoided during the night, to keep your sleep unaffected, here are two important items you should wear to make it even better.


If you don’t like to stay covered during the night but still need some source of warmth, socks are your solution. Socks warm your extremities, aka your feet, helping your body to regulate blood pressure and enter sleep mode.

The added bonus is that wearing socks will also help you prevent dryness and cracks on your feet. They’ll stay young and smooth, just like your face when getting a good night’s sleep.

Sleep masks or earplugs

There are various things beyond our control, like bright lights, noisy neighbors or a snoring partner, which disturb our sleep. If you’re also in a similar situation, don’t fret. There is something you can do to block all these disruptions: wear a sleep mask for unwanted lights and earplugs for annoying noises. There, problem solved. Now you can get your quality ZZZs.

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