What to wear to bed might be crystal clear for some people. Some might have a whole drawer dedicated just to their sleepwear and pyjamas.
But for others, time for bed means pulling on a pair of old gym shorts and a washed-out t-shirt.
Does this sound like you? Or someone you know? It may not sound like much of a big deal, but there's a number of things you should know about this.
What we wear to bed can have a great impact on our lives as well as our health. In this article, we would like to get to the bottom of this topic. Are gym shorts as good to wear as sleepwear, or would it be better to invest in some dedicated sleepwear?
This simple list was created to help the gym short wearers amongst us.
What is the difference between Sleepwear and Gym Shorts?
Before we start discussing why you should wear sleepwear instead of gym shorts to bed, let’s make sure we're clear on what sleepwear and what gym shorts actually are.
The name does kind of give it away, sleepwear is clothing dedicated to sleeping in. In simple words, sleepwear covers all clothing that is designed for you to wear at night and to sleep in.
Typically, sleepwear consists of loose-fitting pants and a shirt, though it can also come in the form of a nightgown, full pyjama sets or just pyjama shorts. The material used for good quality sleepwear is usually soft on the skin, comfortable and breathable.
Gym shorts, also know was workout shorts, are what we would call normal shorts that men (and women) wear when going to the gym, playing sports, or exercising. They are often designed specifically for individual sports but have also become more generic in nature and are often worn recreationally also. Due to their comfort, they have become a popular garment to wear while chilling around the house on a lazy Sunday afternoon. But are they any good to wear while sleeping?
1) The Fit
A pair of standard elasticated gym shorts can feel loose and allow you to move freely when you are standing up, running around on the football pitch or being active at the gym. But when you are lying down and sleeping, you move your body in a different way and there is lots of friction generated against the bed. Shorts with too much stretch can therefore become very twisted and uncomfortable as you roll around throughout the night.
Some gym short for men are also designed to keep everything 'down there' in place and secure while being active. This is not something you want or need at night time. Same goes for men sleeping in tight underwear.
The sizing on sleepwear for men, and pj shorts for example, are often specifically designed to not feel tight or restricted, while also preventing bunching and twisting. It's a fine balance, but if you find the right pair, the result should be a more comfortable sleeping experience.
2) Fabrics Like Organic Cotton Are More Suitable For Sleep!
The fabric used for modern pyjamas and sleepwear are often cottons or linens that are usually much softer than the polyester based fabrics typically found in gym shorts and other active wear. The feel and softness of the fabric you wear when going to bed is important because any rubbing against the skin is made worse as you lie against the bed. The more delicate the fabric is, the less you will know about it - which is a good thing.
Moreover, the moisture repellent properties of 100% natural (and preferably organic) cotton pyjamas keep your body temperature in a bearable range. This is not something that a pair of gym shorts made of polyester or nylon would do. So, the kind of fabric that is best for sleepwear is without doubt natural materials such as cotton and we highly recommend seeking this out when shopping for sleepwear and pyjamas.
Just remember, the different properties and qualities of fabrics are taken into account by manufacturers when designing garments for specific purposes. Gym and exercise gear is designed with sport in mind. They need to survive all types of conditions and therefore need thicker synthetic materials which make sense for that application - but not a home or in bed.
3) Design, Style, and the all important 'Vibe'
Perhaps you don't like to dress colourful and be loud and vibrant with you everyday fashion. That's fine. But at home you're in a safe environment so it's perfecting ok to spice up your collection of sleepwear! You are free to opt for more exciting and lively choices of patterns and colours - a perfect way to showcase your inner creativity.
Today, there are a great diversity when it comes to sleepwear for men. There are many different types and styles of sleepwear to choose from. We are pretty sure that you will indeed find something suitable for your needs. So why settle for a boring pair of gym shorts where there is a whole world out there of fun, exciting and colourful pyjamas for men!
4) Prevent Chafing
A common issue that can occur when you work out is chafing, a skin problem caused when sweat and bacteria build up on your skin, rub against your clothes and cause irritation. Most of the time, it happens on your thighs, crotch, leg, and torso area. The best way to avoid this, is to make sure to wear loose fabrics that will allow your skin to breathe.
Yes - many gym shorts are designed to be moisture wicking and prevent chafing, but they are also typically worn with underwear too. So if worn to bed without underwear, the seams and fabrics can cause irritation.
Pyjamas shorts designed specifically for men offer prevention against bedtime chafing as they are looser through the groin and provide a more relaxing fit so they are the superior choice to sleep in compared to gym shorts or underwear in particular.
5) Protect Your Skin
Considering the materials used, workout shorts can actually infect your skin due to excess sweating and friction at night. On the other hand, sleepwear is typically made from soft and gentle fabrics that will keep your skin healthy and free from irritation. The natural fibers of cotton wear are more welcoming than any other material can be.
Thus, if your health is at stake, then you should always pick the safest option and avoid possible mishaps.
Image Below: Bed. Photo by Danny G
6) Breathability is key to a Good Night's Sleep
Like mentioned previously in this article, how breathable the clothes you sleep in are very important and has a big impact on how good, or bad, your sleep quality is.
Gym shorts, and other active wear take advantage of natural air flow that is generated as you move throughout exercise or sport. Unfortunately, this airflow doesn't exist under the bed sheets. Did you know that your body is still sweating and creating moisture when you sleep? It's not like you have a shower every 1-2 hours throughout the night either, like you would after a workout.
So this is where breathability and moisture wicking properties come in. Natural cottons keep the surface of the skin cooler for longer and help you stay dry all night long.
7) Treat yourself to a new bedtime routine!
Did you ever notice the positive radiation coming out of your body each time you do something special for yourself? No matter how small the act can be, for example, having a cup of your favourite coffee or tea might be all you need to lift your mood for hours.
We believe the same goes with buying new pyjamas. It creates a new part of the night-time routine that helps you wind down for the day. Mentally switching off as you pull them on. Not many people will see your new pyjamas, because you probably only wear it in bed or around the house. So, they don't exist to impress others, they are just for you - and you deserve the best.
So why not buy yourself a pair of pyjama bottoms or pyjama shorts for men!
8) Keep You Warm and Cozy
We all know it can get a little bit chilly during the winter months, but with breathable sleepwear made from organic cotton, your body will keep a lovely body temperature and stays warm, dry and toasty all night long. Don't forget to pair your pyjamas with a pair of socks if you need extra warmth as the end of the bed has less ambient warmth produced by your body.
Swap out the sleep shorts for sleepwear bottoms in the cooler months. Try to avoid sweatpants, once again, they aren't fit for purpose and will have you overheating instead.
9) Sleepwear sends signals to the body to sleep.
A lot of people find it difficult to relax and sleep right after getting into bed.
Sometimes by giving your body certain signals could help your body to relax and start preparing for a good night's sleep. Sometimes soothing music, a warm bath, drawn curtains or scented candles might help. But having a specific type of clothing and / or outfit that you only wear in bed could also act as a stimulus.
By wearing sleepwear on a daily basis, your body will automatically send signals to the brain that it's time for a much-needed rest according to Dr Alex Dimitriu, the founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine and who specialises in sleep, sleeping problems and psychiatry.
Choosing garments which are specifically designed to be used as sleepwear will always be a much better choice than your standard gym shorts when it comes to getting a long and comfortable sleep. This is even backed by science!
It is also clear that choosing sleepwear made from natural fibres, such as organic cotton or linen is much better both for your skin and comfort than wearing shorts made from nylon, polyester, or other synthetic non-breathing materials.
To cut to the chase. Each garment and type of clothing have its own purpose. Your standard gym shorts are great for you to wear when you are in the gym, on the football field or out running. But when it comes to sleeping. Trust the experts and get yourself a pair of sleepwear, preferable sleepwear made of organic cotton.