When you run hot at night, it’s hard to find sheets that won’t leave you overheated and sweaty. But maybe you’ve heard that bamboo bed sheets keep you cool and combat night sweats. Are these rumors true? Are bamboo sheets cooling, or are they just another marketing-driven fad?
We’re happy to report that bamboo fabric really does keep you cool at night, thanks to its moisture-wicking properties and excellent airflow. It’s perfect for anyone who’s tired of lying awake in a bed that feels like an oven.
Not all bamboo bedding does an equally good job of releasing body heat, though. Some companies use an overly dense weave, reducing airflow, while others blend their bamboo with more heat-retentive fibers. We’ll help you identify the best bamboo sheets to fend off your night sweats.
At a glance:
How Do We Know So Much About Bamboo?
Cooling power was a top priority when we designed our own bamboo sheets. We scoured the globe for suppliers who could provide the strongest, lightest, most breathable bamboo fabric possible. That's why we can help you understand which bamboo sheets are cooling and which ones will leave you sweating.
If you’re in a hurry, you can get the best cooling bamboo sheets right here on our site. They're made entirely of breathable, lightweight, moisture-wicking bamboo viscose. And their specialized finish makes them feel super-cool throughout the night.
Cooling Sheets = Better Sleep
We don't have to tell you how hard it is to drift off when you feel like you’re roasting. But did you know that high temperatures can disrupt your rest even after you’ve fallen asleep? It’s true!
Research shows that excessive nighttime heat can interrupt the parts of your nocturnal cycle that help the body repair damage, store memories, and refresh its immune system. So cooling off in bed isn’t just about your comfort. It’s also critical for healthy, restful sleep.
We’ve already written up a few tips on how to stay cool at night, but choosing the right bedding is among the most important. Heavy, tightly-woven fabrics trap heat against your body, preventing it from escaping into the room around you.
To reduce this overheating effect, lots of companies have designed cooling sheets that make life easier for hot sleepers. The most effective cooling sheets have to start with the right fabric. And when it comes to cooling power, bamboo is one of the best options.
How Bamboo Sheets Keep You Cool
Why is bamboo bedding cooler than traditional cotton sheets? It all comes down to the structural differences between cotton threads and the fibers of the bamboo plant. Bamboo sheets are typically made of bamboo viscose, a type of natural fiber extracted from bamboo wood pulp, which is then spun into fine threads. Sheets made of bamboo viscose fibers are better for hot sleepers in several ways:
Bamboo Sheets Are Naturally Breathable
The best cooling sheets allow for maximum airflow, so your body heat can dissipate. When body heat can’t escape, you end up trapped in a bubble of hot air. Bamboo fibers are full of tiny pores that let that hot air escape naturally.
Most fabrics derived from natural materials are at least a little bit porous. That's why linen and cotton sheets have been the go-to choices for hot sleepers for centuries. However, bamboo viscose sheets contain more of those tiny openings, giving them superior breathability compared to old-fashioned cotton and linen.
Bamboo Sheets Absorb Sweat
The same small pores in bamboo fibers also enable them to soak up lots of fluid. They'll absorb any sweat that forms on your body, keeping you dry and comfortable. Bamboo sheets are roughly 40% more absorbent than cotton, which is why they're some of the best sheets for night sweats.
This moisture-wicking ability isn't just good for preventing you from waking up in a puddle. It also helps keep you cool throughout the night.
Have you ever noticed how you feel hotter when the weather is humid? That's because the moisture in the air blocks sweat evaporation, the natural mechanism for lowering your body temperature.
The same thing happens when your sheets are saturated with sweat. Since bamboo sheets can absorb liquid so effectively, they help you shed excess heat by keeping you dry.
Bamboo Sheets Are Lightweight
You might be surprised to learn that bamboo is among the softest natural fibers on earth. Because the individual threads are so much longer, finer, and smoother than other fibers, you don't need to weave them as tightly to match the softness of other natural materials. This is why bamboo sheets with a thread count of 300 often feel softer than luxurious Egyptian cotton with much higher advertised thread counts.
Achieving the same softness with fewer fibers offers huge benefits for heat management. Since bamboo bedding doesn't have to be thick and heavy to feel comfortable, it can be made with a much more porous, lightweight weave, leaving more room between the fibers for airflow. You get the luxurious feel of thick sheets without the stifling heat.
Bamboo vs. Other Cooling Fabrics
How does bamboo compare with other materials for bed sheets? Let's look at some other common types of cooling sheets and see how they measure up.
There's a good reason summer clothing is often made of linen. It's a very loose and absorbent fabric that releases hot air easily. Compared with bamboo, linen sheets are slightly more absorbent but slightly less breathable.
Bedding made from linen has a rougher texture than bamboo viscose. Although it gets softer with repeated washing, it can't ever match the silky-smooth feel of bamboo viscose.
On the plus side, linen is often more durable than average bamboo sheets. It's possible, however, to make long-lasting bamboo bedding by sourcing only the strongest fibers (like Hush does).
Cotton has a bad reputation when it comes to cooling, and for good reason. Most people know that you shouldn't wear cotton clothing when exercising, because it quickly gets soaked with sweat and clings to your skin. Compared to cotton, bamboo viscose can absorb much more water before getting saturated.
However, that doesn't mean it's impossible to make cooling cotton sheets. Long staple varieties like Supima or Egyptian cotton allow for soft, lightweight weaves that provide a decent amount of breathability.
If cooling is a priority, look for sheets made with long staple cotton in a percale weave. These are the most breathable cotton sheets. Still, bamboo sheets tend to be cooler than any bedding made of cotton.
Bamboo isn't the only wood that can be turned into cooling fabric. Tencel spun from eucalyptus fibers is another popular choice for cooling bed sheets.
Tencel sheets only differ in a few ways from bamboo viscose (also known as bamboo rayon). The main distinction is the manufacturing process. Tencel is made with a closed-loop technique that recycles the water and chemicals used to extract the natural fibers. For this reason, many people consider it more eco-friendly.
Note that you can reduce the ecological impact of viscose production by responsibly handling the chemicals involved. Hush makes sure to source our fabric from ethical and environmentally conscientious suppliers.
You can also make bed sheets from fabrics like polyester, microfiber, and nylon. Like bamboo sheets, they're hydrophobic, meaning they wick sweat away from your skin. However, these fabrics are made from inorganic substances like coal and petroleum instead of renewable resources like bamboo.
Synthetic sheets are arguably better at helping get rid of sweat than bamboo. But they won't keep you cool. These fabrics are not breathable. They're extremely dense, so they trap heat against your body.
If you have a problem with cold sweats at night, synthetic materials could be a good option for bedding. Otherwise, stick with bamboo.
Are Bamboo Sheets Over-Hyped?
Some online sources argue that the selling points of bamboo are overblown, and in some cases, they have a point. When bamboo bed sheets were first hitting the market, many companies made claims that haven't held up under further research.
For instance, some sellers like to brag about the antibacterial chemicals in bamboo wood. Bamboo sheets may help to reduce fungal and bacterial growth, but that's mostly because they keep moisture from building up in your bed.
Also, some companies exaggerate the eco-friendly nature of bamboo fabric. Bamboo does grow much faster, uses less water, and requires fewer pesticides than most other textile crops. But turning it into bed sheets involves some chemicals. And unfortunately, not all manufacturers are careful to keep those chemicals out of the soil and water.
However, this is only a problem if you’re buying fabric from companies that cut corners. At Hush, we take care to purchase only ethically-made bamboo viscose. Our sheets are also OEKO-TEX certified, meaning they’re free of questionable chemicals.
It’s worth noting that many critics of bamboo also exaggerate their points. For example, some claim that bamboo viscose isn't really moisture-wicking or quick-drying. This is simply false — research has shown that bamboo fabric sheds moisture faster than cotton. If it seems like it takes longer to dry out when wet, that's because it can soak up 40% more moisture before feeling damp!
Others say that bamboo isn't really softer than cotton. True, both fabrics can vary a lot in their feel depending on the weave and the quality of the fibers used. However, it's undeniable that a bamboo sheet will be softer than a cotton sheet with an identical thread count.
We'll put it this way: are the benefits of bamboo sheets sometimes exaggerated? Yes.
But are bamboo sheets cooling, moisture-wicking, lightweight, and soft compared to other materials? Also yes.
Choosing the Best Bamboo Cooling Sheet
When shopping for cooling bamboo sheets, always double-check that they're made of pure bamboo. Many companies try to pass off blends of bamboo and microfiber or polyester as "bamboo sheets."
It's also important to read reviews from customers whenever possible. Poorly-made bamboo sheets fall apart or pill quickly, so check to see if reviewers are complaining about durability issues.
In our not-so-humble opinion, the best cooling sheets your money can buy are our Hush bamboo sheets. They're made entirely of high-quality, naturally breathable bamboo viscose, and our proprietary Iced finish makes them frosty to the touch. If they're not the coolest sheets you've ever slept in, you can return them anytime within 100 days of purchase. So give them a try today!