Raise your hand if you wear pajamas to bed.

Why, that’s quite a lot of you!

I’m not surprised, as many recent surveys – from such esteemed sources as the National Sleep Foundation – indicate that about two-thirds of American adults do indeed wear pajamas to bed.

Now, how many of you don’t wait for bedtime, but race into the house and put on your jammies as soon as you walk in the door in the evenings?

Did you notice my hand waving?

It’s true. The first thing I do upon arriving home in the evening is race to the bedroom to trade my grown-up work clothes for comfy pajamas.

I’m not alone. More than one friend has recently declined to meet for cocktails with “Sorry, I’m already in my PJ’s.”

There’s something magical, refreshing, even childlike about snuggling into the comfort of soft cotton knit garments, like the fabric of T-shirts. I have long ones and short ones and Capri length. The prints range from penguins to flamingos to palm trees to lots of sheep. (I don’t know how many sheep; I always fall asleep before I finish counting them. Ha ha.)

Pajamas have been around for centuries, I’ve learned. The word “pajama” apparently comes from the Persian word “payjamah,” meaning “leg garment,” which dates back to the Ottoman Empire (the 1300s).

After seeing people in India and Pakistan wearing loose fitting trousers and shirts, considered to be exotic loungewear, European travelers introduced the fashion to the West in the late 1800s, and by 1902 the Sears Roebuck catalog offered pajamas.

I’m pretty sure Sears is exactly where my very first pajamas came from. Every Christmas of my childhood, my siblings and I received brand new PJ’s, usually with a holiday-themed print.

In my junior high years, I was often invited to “slumber parties,” where 10 giggly girls gossiped about boys, ate huge amounts of pizza and M&M’s, put on our pajamas, and tried to stay up all night.

I’m not sure when I developed this habit as an adult, but it wasn’t overnight. There was a transition from arriving at home and saying “Hmmm, I think I’ll slip into my pajamas a little early” to “I’ll kiss you later, honey; right now I have to put on my PJ’s.”

I’ve come to understand that, at least for me, pajamas are the fashion equivalent to comfort food. They just feel good. In stark contrast to comfort food, however, they are good for me too.

Although I don’t (yet) wear my pajamas in public, some folks do. I think that’s going a bit too far, but who am I to judge?

The wearing of PJ’s might be a new “thing.” Palmetto Sunrise Cafe on Hilton Head recognized the trend a few years ago. They have a New Year’s Day breakfast tradition when customers are not just invited, but expected, to wear their jammies.

After I don my PJ’s, my husband and I often sit and chat together before supper. Or I’ll surf the Internet while he cooks. I particularly like to climb into the big new recliner with my coloring books and markers. (Am I really just a big kid?)

This is, after all, my down time. Work is done for the day and I can chill out.

Home is my refuge, and it’s best enjoyed if one is relaxed, at peace and wearing comfortable attire.

And what could possibly be more comfy and peaceful than soft PJ’s with smiling penguins all over them?