Sleeping Naked Keeps You Warmer: Myth or Fact?

It’s a rumor that has been flying around the campfire for years. We’ve all heard it: getting naked before crawling into your sleeping bag will keep you warmer. Well, the staff writers over at the Columbia blog are looking to science to decide whether the rumor about sleeping naked is fact or myth.

sleeping naked in a sleeping bag
Is sleeping naked in a sleeping bag warmer?

The Myth: Sleeping Naked is Always Better

There are a lot of good reasons to think that sleeping naked in your sleeping bag will keep you warmer. For instance, if your clothes are damp or wet, you should take them off before zipping into your sleeping bag. That’s just common sense. But on a cold night, wearing damp clothes to bed will quickly sap away any body warmth that you hoped to retain through the night. You might as well sleep in an ice box.

The Facts: Sleeping Naked Might Help, Or Not

Layering up is a proven method of retaining body heat. When you layer your clothes in the winter, you create pockets of air between each layer. Those pockets of air trap your body heat, which keeps you warm. A sleeping bag is nothing more than a big fluffy tube filled with air pockets. Therefore, it’s only logical that adding the air pockets from your layered clothing to the air pockets created by the fluffiness of the sleeping bag will retain more body heat and keep you warmer through the night.

Conclusion: Try Sleeping Naked for Yourself

Sleeping naked will not keep you warmer than layering up with dry clothes. But if you don’t have dry clothes, you’ll be much warmer naked inside of a dry sleeping bag than layered in wet or damp clothes. Here’s another fun fact: if you have someone in the sleeping bag with you, you’re going to be MUCH warmer if you’re both naked. That’s the truth. Read more from the staff writers at the Columbia blog here.