TikTok’s Sleep Shirt Trend and What It Means for Your Old Sleep Shirts

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woman sleeping in t-shirt

I don’t know about you but my closet is full of them: sleep shirts. I’m talking about that infamous drawer in our closets where we store random T-shirts that we collect over the years from random fundraisers, giveaways, and events from our college days. 

It seems everywhere you turn nowadays there’s an event or company giving away free tees. While we may not deem them attractive enough to wear in our day to day lives, many of us (myself included) still keep those tees in hopes of using them as a comfortable shirt to sleep in someday. 

While these shirts are usually relegated to the dark corners of our closets, the latest TikTok trend is shedding light on some of our most embarrassing, yet most comfy sleep shirts.

The TikTok Sleep Shirt Trend Explained

Many Gen Zers are taking to TikTok to reveal their own unique collection of sleep shirts. 

As part of the viral trend, TikTokers show off each tee in their collection with a bizarre sound that supposedly matches the energy of the shirt. 

In one video with over 11.8 million views, TikToker Mae shows off her personal sleep shirt collection that includes shirts with astronaut kittens, an alpha male unicorn, a Pedro Pascal collage, and Josh Hutcherson’s portrait with the words “girl dinner.”

As you can see, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the world of sleep shirts. 

“So many of these will never see the light of day, yet are my most comfortable shirts,” commented Mae in her video.

That’s the beauty of the sleep shirt. Even though we wouldn’t usually flaunt these shirts in public, they are often the comfiest items in our wardrobe, which makes them perfect clothes to toss on for sleep or to relax around the house.

What Exactly Is a Sleep Shirt?

“Well if it’s just too big, you can just wear it as a sleep shirt,” comedian John Mulaney famously said in his Netflix comedy special Kid Gorgeous at Radio City.

That’s right, the sleep shirt phenomenon is so widespread that even comedians have hopped on the bit. 

But what exactly is a sleep shirt?

Well, there’s no precise definition. It’s pretty much any comfy tee that you choose to wear to bed. 

They are typically oversized (like Mulaney’s bit in which he compares an oversized sleep shirt to a Victorian nightgown…) and often include funny or unusual graphics that you wouldn’t normally wear out in public.

While the sleep shirt trend is certainly comfy (and entertaining), what type of clothing should we be wearing for healthy sleep and what does this mean for our well-loved sleep shirts?

Experts Weigh In: Should You Wear Sleep Shirts to Bed?

No need to panic just yet, there’s hope for your comfiest sleep shirt.

When it comes to the best clothes to wear to bed, comfort and breathability are key for a good night’s sleep — not appearances. 

“To get good sleep, make sure to stay hydrated and keep your sleeping environment cool, quiet and dark. Wear comfortable, breathable pajamas,” says Dr. Raj Dasgupta, Chief Medical Advisor for Sleepopolis.

“Your body temp has to drop by 1 to 2 degrees at night to facilitate sleep, and if you wear a heavier fabric, it can cause you to overheat at night, leading to poor sleep quality and lighter sleep overall,” Dr. Angela Holliday-Bell tells Sleepopolis.

In order to maintain the ideal cool sleeping environment, it’s important to choose to sleep in light-weight fabrics like cotton.

“Cotton is a lightweight breathable option that will help to keep you cooler at night and on cooler nights, you can layer the fabric for added warmth as needed. Linen and bamboo fabrics are also great alternatives that can still keep you cooler at night and are less likely to hold in moisture like sweat,” Dr. Holliday-Bell says. 

This comes as good news to my fellow sleep shirt lovers since most Ts are typically made with cotton.

Conclusion: Do We Recommend Sleep Shirts?

There’s no one-size-fits-all option when it comes to comfortable sleepwear. From the viral nap dress to the matching silk pajama set to the tried-and- true sleep shirt, it’s important to wear whatever is comfortable for you. 

Of course, it’s best to still keep up your sleep hygiene. Make sure to wash your pajamas often. After all, there’s nothing quite like putting on a fresh pair of pjs after a long day. 

As long as your sleep shirts are clean, breathable, and comfy, you’re properly dressed for a good night’s sleep.

Sources
  • Holliday-Bell, Angela. Author interview. June 17, 2024.

Emma Ernst

Emma Ernst

Emma Ernst is an editorial intern at Sleepopolis. A rising senior at the University of South Carolina, studying public relations and Spanish, Emma is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and loves to talk about anything Midwestern!

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