Do you ever feel like your sheets are smothering you in a sweaty, sticky hug? Heavy, warm sheets can make it nearly impossible for hot sleepers to fall asleep, and could even cause you to wake up later with night sweats. Tossing and turning for half the night in your cotton sheets is a sure sign you need to use cooling bed sheets instead.
If you find yourself throwing off your sheets halfway through the night because they're making you feel like you're trapped in a sauna, it's time to upgrade your sheet set. In this article, we'll help you figure out the best cooling sheets for year-round use.
What's Wrong With Regular Sheets?
When it's time to go to bed, our body temperature naturally decreases by about 1-2 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, sleep specialists recommend keeping your bedroom at a cool temperature (often as cool as 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit) for a good night's rest.
This is because cooler temperatures actually help the body produce melatonin, which causes us to feel tired and ready for bed. This also allows your body to release other regenerative hormones as you sleep.
When you feel too hot, you'll have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Hot flashes and night sweats are two ways your body tries to tell you that it is too hot to sleep.
If you feel too warm at night, your bedding could very well be part of the problem. Some people will almost always feel too hot at night because they are hot sleepers who would benefit from a cooling sheet set at any time of year. For others, the problem comes because they are using warm, winter sheets during the summer.
Some of the most problematic sheet materials include fleece, flannel, jersey, and silk. Fleece and flannel actually trap heat to keep you warm. This may help with winter temperature-regulating, but it's the exact opposite of what you need when it is warm outside.
Silk may seem super luxe with its sateen finish, but the tight weave of silk sheets means they aren't even remotely breathable. Just because a sheet feels silky soft and is wrinkle-resistant doesn't mean it's the right pick for getting a good night's sleep. Sateen sheets offer a luminous sheen, but they end up being thicker than sheets that use a percale weave, which uses a simple criss-cross pattern to provide a light, crisp feel. The added thickness of sheets with a sateen weave causes them to drape more heavily over your body and trap heat.
Another common issue is many people focus on high thread count, assuming that a higher thread count means higher quality. This isn't always the case. The quality of the thread actually matters more than the total thread count when trying to determine if the sheets will stand the test of time. Plus, the higher the thread count, the less breathable the sheets. Don't be fooled into buying a set of sheets just because it boasts an 800+ thread count.
Who Benefits the Most From Cooling Bed Sheets?
Breathable cooling bed sheets are a boon to hot sleepers — those of us who feel like we need to crack the window open in the middle of December, even while our spouse is bundled up under a thick layer of blankets.
Feeling too warm doesn't just make it harder to fall asleep. When your body temperature gets too high at night, you may end up experiencing what is called "chronic hyper-arousal insomnia.” In this condition, your body heat literally wakes you up and makes it nearly impossible to fall back asleep, even after you remove your blanket and top sheet.
This is an especially common problem for those who already suffer from anxiety. When you feel anxious, your heart rate and blood flow increase, causing your body to heat up, no matter how much airflow is in the room.
Hot flashes from menopause can easily strike at night, leaving you feeling like you need to toss your bedding onto the floor. These hot sleepers may be eager to replace the current bedroom set with breathable sheets, a cooling mattress, and a cooling duvet cover or weighted blanket.
Of course, some people naturally feel warmer than others at night, regardless of whether they experience these other conditions.
If any of these situations describe you, a cooling bed sheet could be just what you need.
What Materials Are Best for Cooling Bed Sheets?
Cooling bed sheets are designed to counteract the issues hot sleepers experience night after night. The combination of breathable, moisture-wicking materials, as well as the use of percale weaves, helps regulate body temperature and prevent overheating.
There are five primary materials found in cooling bed sheets:
- Bamboo: Bamboo is generally considered the best material for cooling bed sheets. Not only do they feel the softest, but they are also hypoallergenic and wrinkle-resistant, making them a great choice for those with sensitive skin. Despite feeling naturally light, these eco-friendly sheets are machine washable and hold up well under regular use. Bamboo sheets offer better water absorption than cotton, allowing them to better wick away sweat during the night.
- Microfiber: Microfiber sheets are a synthetic cotton that has become especially popular in recent years. The tight weave of these sheets makes them extremely durable and stain resistant, though it can also trap body heat. Despite this, their moisture-wicking properties can help keep you cooler, and they also dry quite quickly. However, because there are so many microfiber sheets now available, make sure you're actually getting a quality sheet set. Check the label for the sheets’ GSM (gram per square meter) rating. A higher GSM indicates a more durable sheet.
- Linen: Linen sheets are light and breathable thanks to their open weave. Manufactured from natural flax plants, linen is hypoallergenic and antibacterial. Though the flax fibers are quite durable, this material wrinkles easily and often feels rough and scratchy at first. It can take over a year of washing before linen sheets feel as soft as some of the other materials on this list.
- Egyptian cotton: Egyptian cotton sheets represent a big step up from standard cotton sheets. For starters, Egypt provides ideal growing conditions for cotton, resulting in a higher-quality and more durable yarn. This makes it more porous and breathable so you can sleep better at night. A standard cotton mattress topper, on the other hand, could easily cause you to overheat.
- Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus isn't just for koalas to snack on. Eucalyptus sheets have strong, durable fibers that are extremely wrinkle resistant. They are hypoallergenic and have great moisture-wicking properties,while also being resistant to dust.
As you can see, there isn't any tech wizardry behind picking the best cooling sheets. What ultimately allows cooling sheets to help you feel cool and comfortable during the night is the material as well as the use of a breathable weave that allows for better airflow. While each of the materials in this list are better than standard sheets, bamboo is generally the best bet for hot sleepers. Choosing sheets with a percale weave will also help you sleep cooler thanks to their finely-woven criss cross pattern, which provides better airflow.
Of course, using cooling bed sheets is just one way to stop feeling so hot at night. Showering before bed will also help your body begin the cool-down process. Wearing loose pajamas (or if you're extra bold, sleeping in the buff) also makes it easier for your body to regulate its temperature. Also, avoid big meals shortly before bed, as the digestion process can actually raise your body temperature.
Sleep Better With Cooling Sheets From Hush Blankets
These high-quality bamboo sheets offer the durability and breathability you need to sleep soundly and cooly. Order your own set today, and feel for yourself why our sheets are the best bamboo bed sheet sets available.
Hush Blankets cooling sheets and pillowcase sets are the perfect addition to your bedroom — especially when paired with our cooling weighted blankets. Made from 100% organic viscose bamboo, this fitted sheet and pillowcase set are made with anti-pilling technology that allows them to become even softer over time — without pilling or losing the cooling effect that keeps you from overheating.