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Sleep Attire for Success

Updated November 4, 2020

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Evidently, there’s a new way to sleep your way to the top. Whether “success” means career, love, motivation, or some combination, have you ever thought your pajamas could help get you there? As the experts in sleep, we had to know what this meant. We surveyed 1,010 people with various levels of success about what they wore to sleep.

As it turns out, certain types of pajamas helped people perform better at work, while other styles of sleepwear correlated with increased sexual satisfaction. Depending on your goals, you might want to think twice before choosing to sleep in the same ratty pajamas time after time. Read on to see what we mean.

Pajamas Conducive to Sleep

Best of Nights and Worst of Nights infographic

Most often, the men and women we talked to kept it simple: Men slept in boxers 74% of the time, and 78% of women opted for a T-shirt and sleeping shorts or pants. Sixty-eight percent of women and 66% of men even slept naked.

Although experts have suggested that sleeping naked is one of the best ways to lower the body’s temperature and fall asleep faster, our respondents insisted that clothed choices were the best ones, at least as far as sleep was concerned. Eighty-eight percent of the men who slept in just boxers reported sleeping well, compared to 82% who slept naked. Even fewer women were able to sleep well nude. Most often, the T-shirt and sleep shorts or pants combination helped women sleep the best.

We would be remiss, however, not to divulge some of the more unfortunate sleepwear choices respondents admitted making. Twenty-four percent said they came home and fell asleep in their work clothes. Skin care experts warn against this behavior, with some stating, “We’re constantly shedding skin cells, oozing skin oils, and secreting sweat onto everything we’re wearing.” Still, sleeping in work clothes sounds good compared to the 8% who slept in clothes they said were dirty enough to stain the bed and the 8% who fell asleep in a wet towel.

1 in 5 call out

Those same health experts also shared that a human sheds about 500 million skin cells and a liter of sweat on an average day. We can only imagine how much these numbers increase during a day that includes working out, yet 14% had hit the hay in their dirty workout clothes at least once. Even worse, almost 1 in 5 people exercising in the evenings fell asleep in their workout clothes “at least occasionally.” While the scientific jury is still out on whether evening workouts are good for sleep, there is no question about the contribution of dirty clothes.

Sex and Sleep Clothes

Dressing for success in the bedroom infographic

Let’s move onto sex. For men, boxers also correlated with the highest sexual satisfaction. For women, however, sexual satisfaction and sleep quality required two different sleep outfits. Those who were most satisfied in bed (in the sexual sense) wore just underwear to bed. In fact, they were 15 percentage points more likely to be satisfied with their sex life than women who chose a T-shirt and sleeping shorts or pants. Like quality sleep, quality sex corresponded with simple (and affordable!) sleep options. Expensive lingerie didn’t appear to be necessary.

We also want to mention cleanliness again because it heavily impacted sex. Eighty-seven percent of people sleeping in pajamas that were in great condition were satisfied with the sex in their relationships. This was 13 percentage points higher than those who slept in pajamas in poor condition.

Sleeping naked, however, correlated with having sex the most often for both men and women. Perhaps naked bodies present a more obvious invitation to intimacy, or maybe being more sexually active causes people to fall asleep unclothed more often. Either way, those sleeping naked were the only ones to have sex more than seven days every month.

Managers call out

Managers and higher-ups also took to sleeping naked. One in 4 managers regularly slept naked, which was much more often than the average underling. That said, managers were also likely to come home exhausted enough to fall asleep in their work clothes, which we know correlates with worse sleep, sex, and even cleanliness. And stress made it worse for both managers and employees: Over 10% of people experiencing workplace stress fell asleep in their work clothes at least once each week.

Pajamas and Productivity

Sleepwear and work performance infographic

Workplace success and productivity told another pajama story, especially for women. Both the highest levels of motivation and productivity were found among women who wore matching pajama sets to bed. While “cheap and easy” is a great pajama formula for sleep and sex, workplace success seems to be one area where it might be best to invest in quality sleepwear. Although experts often insist on dressing for the job you want, they are typically referring to workplace attire. Evidence from our study, however, would suggest it’s beneficial to dress up even at home.

For men, their highest levels of motivation and productivity were found when wearing pants or shorts to bed without a shirt. And naked sleep also correlated with workplace productivity: Three-quarters of naked male sleepers felt productive at work.

Regardless of gender, pajama cleanliness impacted a person’s success. Those who wore pajamas in poor condition to bed were 12 percentage points less likely to feel motivated, and 6 percentage points less likely to feel productive. Whatever you’re wearing to bed, keep it clean.

Sleeping for Success

As respondents proved, what you wear to bed can impact your sleep, workplace success, and even your sex life. While boxers and nudity seemed to work well for men in a variety of scenarios, women tended to have different pajama needs for different types of success. And cleanliness, for all genders and success definitions, was absolutely key.

But pajamas will only take you so far without the proper bedding, pillows, and mattress. Once you have your sleepwear down, it’s time to take that next step and figure out how to best support restful sleep and success upon waking. As the sleep experts, we are here to help. The Sleep Judge can direct you toward expert advice, customer reviews, and the care you need to choose your best sleep setup. Whether you have career, sex, or sleep goals in mind, we’re happy to help.

Methodology and Limitations

We used Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to survey 1,010 people about their pajamas, sex life, and work performance. For respondents to be included in our data, they were required to complete the entire survey and pass an attention-check question in the middle of each survey. Participants who failed to do either of these were excluded from the study.

Of all respondents, 49% were women; 50% were men; and less than 1% identified with a nonbinary gender.

The data we are presenting rely on self-reporting. There are many issues with self-reported data. These issues include, but are not limited to, selective memory, telescoping, attribution, and exaggeration. In finding averages of quantitative values, we removed outliers so that the data were not exaggerated.

Fair Use Statement

Starting to rethink what you wear to bed? We thought so. Others might be, too! Share this article with them, but be sure the purpose is noncommercial, and you link back to this page.