Turns Out Your PJs Can Make You Healthier

Who knew your pajamas can help you sleep better?

pajamas sleep better
Photography by PHUONG NGUYEN

“…To sleep, perchance to dream…” as the famous Hamlet soliloquy says, is all we wish for each night. But sleep is perhaps a bit harder to come by in 2018 then it was for Shakespeare when he wrote that masterpiece.

Between the needed 6-8 hours of sleep a night, and not interacting with screens an hour before bed, and staying away from snacks and drinks hours before bedtime, it's no wonder there's an entire industry dedicated to sleeping better: apps, books, sleep sprays, even sleep stories for adults.

But another angle of creating that perfect sleep environment is maybe something you’ve never considered: your pajamas. Did you know your PJs are actually a wellness issue? Turns out they could be working smarter and harder while you’re snoozing.

A lack of sleep affects everything: your ability to exercise, eat well, and even form long-term memories (yes, really). “If you aren’t sleeping, none of those things happen; sleep has to be the foundation,” says Ashley Merrill, CEO and founder of Lunya.

See below for the types of PJ design aspects you should be considering for a great night of sleep.

Focus on Design

Lunya's number one priority is to improve the design of your pajamas. The pieces feature necklines that are designed to not twist, vents in the back of the tops to keep you cool, even a vent in front of each leg for ease of movement while rolling around. Sleepwear should never wake you up in discomfort ever again. Lunya is so passionate about making you sleep better that their Santa Monica headquarters is built like a bedroom so they can test out features during the design process.

“If you’re use to wearing old clothes to sleep, I’m asking you to make a huge perspective change, I get that, but you’re going to wear this every single night, and a huge percentage of your life,” says Merrill. “It’s an investment in yourself.”

Focus on Fabrics

When buying pajamas, you should focus on the fabric, and look for ones that will not only be comfortable immediately, but also ones that will wear (and wash) well in the long run.

Stick to the fabrics that work harder, especially natural fibers, like silk, cotton, and alpaca.

Lunya swears by Pima cotton specifically because it’s a longer fiber so it’s more stable, and it won’t pill, yet still has the softness that feels great for snoozing.

When it comes to silk, look for one that is resurfaced, making it machine washable. (Never dry it though, that’ll break down your PJs very quickly.)

“Silk is naturally thermo-regulating, so it’s breathable and helps your body maintain the right temperature,” says Merrill.

And a natural fiber like wool is great for keeping you warm (if you’re chronically chilly), but the itch factor is nearly unbearable for cozy items you’ll want to lounge around in. A good substitute is alpaca; it’s not as itchy, doesn’t pill, and has high durability. Cashmere is great and trendy, but it’s quick to pill and will break down easily.

Focus on Tech

Some really impressive advancements are being made to make your pajamas even more comfortable, or cool (literally).

Under Armour’s new Athlete Recovery Sleepwear line was inspired by Tom Brady and his need to sleep better to recover more quickly. It’s made of bioceramic imprinted fabric that cools off the body's infrared heat to promote longer, sounder sleep. Shirts, shorts, and pants start at around $60.

Beyond the naturally thermoregulating and sleep-friendly fibers that Lunya has specialized in since launching, the brand is now focusing on technical innovations for 2018 designed to improve women's sleep through science. Specifically a selection of pieces with a new technical fiber that is proven to promote a more restful sleep and aid in muscle recovery, which is ideal after a tough workout. The new recovery sleepwear line will be available in early March.

“I want you to wake up and be a better you, and not really have to do anything different,” says Merrill. “And I think having these incredible natural fibers as a foundation, but then layering on these things that can actually improve your life, is awesome, but especially when you sleep. It’s passively improving your life.”

Another pressing issue for some women is keeping cool. Whether you are someone who sleeps hot, or are in menopause, or your hormones fluctuate throughout the month, heating up mid-REM cycle can be a major cause of sleeplessness.

Lunya has a pretty epic cooling fiber technology with antimicrobial capabilities in the works to launch later this summer.
Soma has a well-priced pajama line called Cool Nights, which is a blend of 93 percent rayon and 7 percent spandex, which is meant to be breathable and not cling to the body. (Even sheet brands are now focusing on keeping you cool.)

But beyond fabrics, the shift in the lingerie and pajama industry is clearly noticeable and modern. “The confidence of looking good, and being confident in your own skin today, versus the historic lingerie industry, which was all about looking sexy for other people,” says Merrill. In the end, most important is that you feel as good as possible, so you can sleep well and dream big dreams, girlfriend.

Read more about our favorite sleep tips:
These Apps Will Get You the Best Sleep Ever
Sleeping Tips From New Moms That Non-Moms Can Use, Too
A Good Night’s Sleep Is Just a Spray Away


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Published on February 13, 2018 - 3:00pm EST

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