Many cultures throughout history have associated nudity with health. Our word ‘gymnasium’ comes from the Greek gymnazein, meaning ‘place to be naked’. If you only take your clothes off when you go for a shower, you could be missing out on several benefits. Here are seven physical and psychological reasons to get naked more often.
1. It can raise your vitamin D levels
Sunbathing in the nude allows your whole body to soak up healthy rays and produce more vitamin D in a shorter time span. Approximately 40% of the U.S. population is vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is made by your skin when it is exposed to ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight. It’s nearly impossible to get adequate amounts of it from diet alone. According to Dr. Michael Holick, author of The UV Advantage, your risk of developing serious diseases like diabetes and cancer is reduced 50% – 80% through exposure to natural sunlight two to three times each week.
2. It could increase your body confidence
Getting naked amongst a group of nudists of all ages, shapes and sizes can help you to feel more comfortable in your own skin. Modern standards of attractiveness tend to exclude the actual bodies of a majority of the population. If the only naked bodies you see are beautiful young film stars or models, it’s easy to judge your own body as flawed. In many parts of Europe, people routinely strip off to get into a spa or sauna with others. They’re not embarrassed by imperfections like cellulite, flabby bottoms or saggy boobs, because there’s nothing unusual about them. A visit to a nudist beach could help to ensure you that your body is perfectly normal.
3. It can increase intimacy
If you share a bed with a spouse or partner, sleeping in the nude could enhance your relationship. When you cuddle without pajamas you have a greater amount of skin-to-skin contact. This kind of touch causes the pituitary gland to release oxytocin. Often called ‘the love hormone’, oxytocin makes men more monogamous and sexually attracted to their partners. It also promotes a sense of intimacy and increases sexual desire. In addition, the simple change from wearing pajamas to being naked in bed every night could lead to a more active sex life.
4. It could improve your exercise routine
If you do low impact exercise like yoga or Pilates, there are several benefits to practicing in the buff. When you can see the shape you are in, you may have increased motivation to work harder. You may also be more likely to hold in your core and maintain the right posture. You’ll be able to watch your muscle groups functioning. You movement won’t be restricted by clothing. You’ll stay cooler. And lastly, you won’t have to wash any sweaty workout clothes.
5. It could help you burn fat
A recent study suggests that sleeping naked could speed up your metabolism and help you shed pounds. Researchers from the US National Institutes of Health asked male volunteers to sleep in climate-controlled bedrooms to see how their temperature affected their weight. All of the men ate the same diet during the experiment. When men spent a month sleeping at the coldest temperatures, the amount of ‘brown fat’ in their bodies doubled. Brown fat produces 300 times more heat than any organ in the body and rapidly burns calories.
6. It’s comfortable
Clothing is necessary in cold weather, but in hot and humid weather it can stick to your skin and increase perspiration. Tight bras and waistbands can irritate skin and interfere with circulation. Bathing suits can ride up, fall down and need constant adjusting. In addition, by covering only small sections of the body, they often accentuate the areas people are sensitive about. When you let it all hang out and go skinny dipping, clothing doesn’t interfere with swimming or with feeling the sun on your body.
7. It could help you get to know the real you
Many people have identities that are tied up with the clothes they wear. Subculture groups like goths and hipsters use their clothes to symbolize their tastes and lifestyles. Power-dressing helps people gain confidence in the workplace. Some women rely on push-up bras and high heels to help them feel sexy. When you look in the mirror naked, you see yourself, not the image you want to project to others. If you spend more time being nude around the house, you may become more familiar with the unique individual you really are.