Last night – probably for the first time in 52 years – I slept in the nude. This was not post coital remnants, nor the result of a sunburn or the aftermath of a new lover exhausted from the exploration of one another, this was about my health. “What?” say you. Yesterday afternoon I stumbled upon this offering from The Mind Unleashed. I most appreciate that within the article were all kinds of scientific citations (all of which are worthy of clicking through and reading) backing up the five points outlined. And the truth is that my real motivation in trying this was the potential very positive impact on both my Cortisol levels and those anti-aging hormones.
I confess I have never felt completely at ease sleeping in the buff and this has always been less about “what if there is an emergency” than the habit of needing something on my shoulders – even spaghetti strapped nightgowns were, while making me feel gorgeous, insufficient against earning real sleep. Something shifted in my brain and body as a result of the science presented. What if I had it nearly all wrong? I had always preferred a cold room – so that wasn’t an issue – but I am a snuggler (burying myself under a down comforter as the AC is on and it’s 85 degrees outside). So with the idea that one night of experimentation in the privacy of my own home certainly wasn’t going to kill me and I could always get up in the middle of the night and put a t-shirt and panties on – I stripped down, had a bath, slathered Camellia oil on and off to bed I went (with my book, alone).
You know what? I ‘got over it’. I slept gloriously. And I had to ask myself this morning what was the purpose of having spent all kinds of crazy money over the years on fine Italian woven Egyptian cotton sheets only to put pj’s between my body and them? I believe I am fully reformed as of last night. The other, obvious, long term benefit of this new comfort will be found in the last point of the article – soaring Oxytocin levels. Whether a lover shares my bed or not the heightened level of sensual awareness involved in this exercise was not lost on me. (For the memories drawn upon in this I am grateful even as the lovers are no longer relevant to my daily life.) So the question arises – is it that nakedness is a catalyst which prompts sensuality which, in turn, offers a release from desire or is it just sleeping naked that makes us sleep better?
Marilyn Monroe is famously quoted that she wore “just a few drops of Chanel No.5” to bed. Maybe Marilyn knew more about the science of sleeping than we ever gave her credit for – because it’s said that the perfumer, Ernest Beaux, drew his inspiration for creation of this fragrance from one of his visits to the Arctic Circle and the smell of water at midnight. Evidently the unique smell of frozen lakes and rivers so fascinated him that he decided to replicate it in his creation using laboratory created aldehydes. So perhaps the smell of cold is equal to a cold room in our sensory processing? Here’s something more interesting, amongst the blend of flowers and plants in Chanel No. 5 can be found bergamot, lemon, neroli and ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, lily of the valley as well as iris, vetiver, sandalwood, vanilla, amber and patchouli – neroli and vetiver oils (in aromatherapy) have been shown to lower blood pressure and anxiety (in other words stress which is what causes Cortisol to spike in our bloodstream) and relieve insomnia while amber oil has been shown to relax brain waves (alpha, beta and theta waves) through its psychoactive effect. In truth I have never liked the smell of Chanel No. 5, despite this my fragrances all share common ‘notes’ of amber, neroli, bergamot, patchouli, jasmine, ylang-ylang, and sandalwood maybe that’s really why I slept so well last night.
Whatever you wear to bed (or not), I wish you sweet dreams.
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