This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation
The clothes you wear to sleep have an eye-opening history
What you choose to wear to bed is a personal matter. You might be perfectly happy in a matching striped pajama set, while someone else could choose to snooze in a cute nightgown (or absolutely nothing!). But do you know how today’s nightwear made it to its current state? The history of pajamas is more surprising than you might think!
- Where The Word Comes From: The word “pajama” comes from the Indian word “piejamah,” which described loose pants that were tied at the waist. The comfy trousers were admired by British colonials as the perfect thing to wear when napping in the afternoon, and it wasn’t long before the outfit was deemed perfect for any time spent asleep. When the colonials returned to Britain, the trend caught on.
- Pajamas Aren't Just For Sleeping: In the early 1900s, a fashion designer named Paul Poiret created silk pajamas to be worn out in public during the daytime, as well as in the evening. And today, in some Asian countries, people still like to wear full pajama sets out in public. In Japan, this trend is taken one step further. Some people go out in something called Kigurumi, which are pajamas made to look like giant stuffed animal costumes.
- Footed Pajamas Aren't Always For Kids: They actually started out as something designed for adults. The first versions were made when people began sewing socks to the bottom of their pajama pants. It wasn’t to just keep their feet warm; it was to prevent bugs like termites from nibbling on their toes.
- Nightcaps Were All the Rage: Nightcaps (the articles of clothing, not the alcoholic beverages) might enter your mind mostly during the holidays (since they are featured in both A Christmas Carol and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas), but they were popular throughout the 19th century. The purpose is pretty obvious: to keep a person's head warm during the winter while he or she slept. But the design has some thought behind it. The pointed cap is long enough to wrap around your neck like a scarf, but not so long that it could choke you in the middle of the night.
- Who Needs Pajamas? While stores sell tons of pajamas these days, sleeping in your birthday suit is still popular. For example, in the UK, 47 percent of men sleep in absolutely nothing (while only 17 percent of British women go nude in the night). Americans, on the other hand, are just slightly more conservative. About 31 percent of men in the United States sleep naked and 14 percent of women go nude.