From nightdresses that ‘ease’ menopause symptoms to pyjamas that fight bacteria or aid post-surgery comfort, there’s lots of new nightwear that promise to help you to better health. Caroline Jones asked the experts which are worth dozing off in.
Caroline Jones asked the experts which nighties, onesies and pyjamas are worth dozing off in (file image)
Dermasilk pyjamas, from £94.95, esperehealth.co.uk
Claim: This range is made from thin, medical-grade silk which, the maker claims, reduces the scratching associated with eczema.
Expert verdict: Anton Alexandroff, a consultant dermatologist at BMI The Manor Hospital in Bedford, says: ‘There’s no robust scientific evidence that wearing silk has any significant benefits for eczema, but many patients do say it feels comforting on their skin. They also tell me that it reduces the urge for them to scratch, meaning less inflammation and skin damage.
Eczema: Dermasilk pyjamas, from £94.95, esperehealth.co.uk. This range is made from thin, medical-grade silk
‘This is probably because silk is cooling on the skin; when skin is too hot it promotes the release of pro-inflammatory compounds, which make you feel itchy. So the cooler you can keep your skin if it is sensitive, the less likely you are to feel irritation or itch.
‘However, silk is very expensive and patients could just buy pyjamas made from bamboo fibre instead, which has the same properties and is cheaper.’ 6/10
Dagsmejan, from £75, dagsmejan.com
Claim: This Swedish range of temperature-regulating sleepwear is said to be scientifically proven to help you sleep ‘better and for longer’. It’s made from merino wool and Tencel (a light, man-made fibre) — the maker says these help wick away sweat but are also breathable.
Expert Verdict: Independent sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley says: ‘These pyjamas may have science behind the claims on breathability and wicking performance, but they have no evidence that this leads directly to good sleep.
Insomnia: Dagsmejan, from £75, dagsmejan.com. This Swedish range of temperature-regulating sleepwear is said to be scientifically proven to help you sleep ‘better and for longer’
‘In order to drop off, you need to lose one degree of body temperature, but that heat loss is done via your head and face as they are the biggest areas of flesh not covered by your duvet.
‘So, unless your bedding matches the breathability and wicking of these pyjamas, this nightwear won’t actually be able to meet its performance claims.’ 3/10
Under Armour UA recover sleepwear romper, £65, underarmour.co.uk
Claim: This sleepsuit has a ‘bio-ceramic’ (heat-reflecting) lining, which the maker claims promotes faster muscle recovery after exercise. It claims particles in this reflective lining absorb body heat and reflect it back as heatless infrared energy, which is thought to penetrate into muscles, increase blood flow and soothe and regenerate them.
Expert verdict: ‘The idea that nightwear could help soothe your muscles post-exercise feels a bit gimmicky,’ says Anj Periyasamy, a physiotherapist at Sprint Physiotherapy in London.
Aching Muscles: Under Armour UA recover sleepwear romper, £65, underarmour.co.uk. This sleepsuit has a ‘bio-ceramic’ (heat-reflecting) lining, which the maker claims promotes faster muscle recovery after exercise
‘There was a trend for using infrared lamps in physiotherapy clinics to treat injured muscles, but they went out of fashion about 15 years ago as there wasn’t enough evidence that they speeded up healing or reduced pain.
‘Similarly there’s no robust independent research to show that a “bioceramic” lining can create enough infrared energy to have clinically significant effects on improving blood flow or muscle recovery.’ 1/10
Anti-flush night dress, £41.95, becomeclothing.com
Claim: The maker claims this nightwear keeps you cool and dry through night sweats and hot flushes. The fabric is coated with a synthetic fibre that wicks sweat away from your body during a hot flush, which brings your temperature down.
The maker says the fabric has been tested by a German lab, the Hohenstein Institute, which specialises in humidity management in clothing.
Expert verdict: ‘Hot flushes and night sweats occur in around 75 per cent of menopausal women, thanks to a drop in oestrogen levels, which in turn affects the regulatory thermostat in our brains,’ says Dr Louise Newson, a GP and founder of Newson Health Menopause & Wellness Centre in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Hot Flushes: Anti-flush night dress, £41.95, becomeclothing.com. The maker claims this nightwear keeps you cool and dry through night sweats and hot flushes
‘These symptoms can be particularly troublesome at night and can interrupt sleep. There is some evidence that specialist types of materials such as this can wick away moisture in a way that simple cotton or nylon can’t — and this can help you feel more comfortable.
‘But the only way to stop these symptoms is with HRT.’ 7/10
Women’s anti-microbial copper pyjamas, £57.99, healthandcare.co.uk
Claim: Made from a blend of copper and bamboo fibres, according to the maker these pyjamas can ‘battle dangerous bacteria and MRSA’ — the antibiotic-resistant superbug found mainly in hospitals.
Expert verdict: ‘MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infections are a growing problem in hospitals as they tend to be resistant to the most commonly used antibiotics, making them difficult to treat,’ says Dr Philippa Kaye, a GP in North-West London.
Infections: Women’s anti-microbial copper pyjamas, £57.99, healthandcare.co.uk. According to the maker these pyjamas can ‘battle dangerous bacteria and MRSA’
‘Copper has natural antibacterial properties — with some research showing it can fight MRSA when used on frequently touched surfaces in hospitals such as taps, bed rails and door handles.
‘There hasn’t been any research that shows these benefits translate into pyjamas that have copper woven into the fabric — although in theory it could work.
‘The benefit is only really relevant in a hospital environment though.’ 4/10
Post-surgery star print pyjamas, £15, asda.com
Claim: These soft viscose pyjamas feature a front pocket to hold and conceal surgical drains, along with wide, easy-to-pull-on sleeves, and a drawstring waist so you can loosen them simply.
Expert verdict: ‘Comfort post-surgery is extremely important and many patients report that they feel better when they are in their own pyjamas, as opposed to a hospital gown,’ says Dr Philippa Kaye.
‘When you are sore and tired following an operation, you need to wear soft fabric that isn’t too tight.
Post-surgery: Post-surgery star print pyjamas, £15, asda.com. These soft viscose pyjamas feature a front pocket to hold and conceal surgical drains
‘Viscose is a good choice and also — unlike synthetic fibres such as polyester — it will absorb sweat so your skin isn’t irritated by overheating. The drain pocket could be useful and the larger arm holes make this easier to get on and off if you’re feeling any discomfort.
‘For £15, these seem pretty good value, too.’ 9/10
Ruby Love period onesie, $59.88 (around £46) rubylove.com
Claim: This lightweight onesie contains a ‘period-proof’ gusset, with absorbent core, which the maker claims offers 100 per cent leakage protection. It can be worn with sanitary products or alone, depending on how heavy your periods are.
Expert verdict: ‘This onesie is made of a soft, comfortable material and offers a reassuring solution for many women who worry about heavy periods, and works well to prevent overnight leakage,’ says Dr Judith Holmes, a GP from Spire Parkway Hospital and Claverdon NHS surgery in the West Midlands. ‘The only downside is, as it’s an American product, you have to pay a bit more for delivery.’ 8/10
Periods: Ruby Love period onesie, $59.88 (around £46) rubylove.com. This lightweight onesie contains a ‘period-proof’ gusset
Strange pains: When symptoms in one area indicate a problem elsewhere
This week: Knee pain that is a slipped disc
Pain coming from below the knee is a common symptom of a herniated or slipped disc (file image)
Pain coming from below the knee is a common symptom of a herniated or slipped disc. Often caused by natural wear and tear, it happens when a soft cushion of tissue that lies between the bones in your spine pushes out and presses on nerves.
This radiating pain is called radicular pain or radiculopathy.
‘Hip, knee or leg pain can originate from a problem in the spine due to the nerve that originates from the discs and then runs towards the hips, knees and legs,’ says Daniel Cohen, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at The Royal Oldham Hospital and BMI The Highfield Hospital.
In most cases painkillers will ease symptoms, while rest and physiotherapy will help return the disc to its normal state within six weeks.