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The 8 Very Best Cooling Sheets

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Sixty-five degrees: That’s the ideal temperature for a good night’s sleep, according to clinical sleep educator Terry Cralle. But cracking the window or kicking a leg out from under the comforter sometimes isn’t enough, especially if you’re someone who runs hot. Which is why swapping in cooling sheets — whether they’re made of a looser-weave fabric that lets air released by your body flow through them more easily or from material that’s known to effectively wick away moisture from sweaty sleepers — can be an effective way to combat overheating and lead to more restful nights. We talked to 13 sleep doctors and experts to hear their recommendations about the crispest, coolest sheets out there.

Best cotton | Best linen | Best lyocell | Best Tencel | Best Tencel-cotton-blend | Best bamboo | Best (less expensive) bamboo | Best bamboo infused with silver

What we’re looking for

Material: Most of the sleep experts we spoke to agreed that sheets made of natural fibers, like cotton and linen, are your best bet for sweaty sleepers because they’re the most breathable (and therefore cooling). When it comes to cotton, the weave of a fabric matters, too. Percale sheets, with their tight one-over, one-under weave, will be cooler and more lightweight than sateen options, which have a looser three-over-one weave, which can feel more dense.

Sheets made from naturally derived fibers can also be cooling. Lyocell, which also goes by brand name Tencel, is a type of rayon made from eucalyptus trees and is considered a semi-synthetic fiber because of how it’s processed (generally speaking, the wood is broken down then dissolved using a chemical process to create a wood pulp, or cellulose, that’s then spun into fibers). The resulting fabric is soft and lightweight, and it’s known to have good temperature- and moisture-regulating properties. Bamboo is another type of rayon as it’s made from bamboo wood and goes through a similar process as lyocell; it is also considered to be soft to the touch and cooling.

Moisture wicking: While all these sheets are breathable, if you’re a sweaty sleeper, you’ll want to look for bedding that not only promotes airflow but absorbs moisture and draws it away from your body. However, as Keith Cushner, the founder of sleep-product-review site Tuck, points out, some sheets that claim to be cooling can be deceiving. “Calling sheets moisture wicking doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be breathable,” he explains, which is why he says you should take careful note of the material of any sheets that promise to cool you down before investing in a pair. (All the options shown below, no matter what material they’re made of, are queen size, unless noted otherwise.)

Best cooling cotton sheets

Percale

If breathability is your biggest concern, go for sheets made of a natural fiber like cotton. Within the cotton category, percale was recommended by seven of our panelists including Cralle; Cushner; Dr. Margarita Oks, a pulmonologist at Lenox Hill Hospital; Dr. Shelby Harris, a psychologist who specializes in behavioral sleep medicine and the author of The Women’s Guide to Overcoming Insomnia; psychotherapist Heather Turgeon, the co-author of The Happy Sleeper; and Ben Trapskin, the founder of bedding-review site the Sleep Sherpa. “Percale is naturally very crisp,” says Oks, “making it easier and more comfortable for people to sleep.” Cralle notes that the matte finish of percale sheets “is going to be cooler than sateen,” which, as mentioned above, is more dense because of the way it’s woven.

Cushner adds that percale-cotton sheets are the way to go if you’re looking for something that’s both cooling and affordable. In terms of how to choose a percale set, Trapskin says to look for a single-ply thread count — meaning that each thread used in the sheets is made of one strand of yarn rather than two. Trapskin likes this affordable set from Sol Organics. “Organic sheets aren’t treated with harsh pesticides, which can weaken the cotton fibers,” Trapskin says. “These sheets are durable and sustainable from an environmental and economic perspective.”

Best cooling linen sheets

Linen

Several of the sleep experts we spoke to suggested linen sheets. According to Dr. Joshua Tal, a psychologist who specializes in sleep disorders, they are very breathable and “pick up cool air.” Oks says that since linen is made of a looser weave than, say, a cotton sheet with a high thread count, it traps less heat. Harris agrees. “I tend to prefer linen sheets because they’re breathable and cooler overall than cotton,” she says. “I also love the crisp, clean look.” Cushner agrees that linen is the most breathable of bedding materials but admits it is often pricier than cotton and can feel a little rougher at first. Brooklinen’s linen sheets, available in 11 colors and patterns, are a favorite of Cushner, Trapskin, and Oks, who says many of her sleep-apnea patients have been happy with these sheets. Former Strategist senior writer Lauren Levy also raved about them, saying, “It won’t feel chilled when you slip into bed, but instead of waking up in a pool of sweat from heat-locking fabrics, you’ll stay fully temperature-controlled throughout the night.”

Best cooling lyocell sheets

Lyocell 

Eucalyptus, or lyocell, is another naturally cool fiber to look for in a set of sheets, according to Oks, who says, “It generally has some natural temperature-regulating properties.” While she notes that the cooling effect of eucalyptus sheets has not been scientifically proven, the fact that it’s a “very breathable” fiber is one reason why she says it feels “so nice on somebody’s skin when they’re sweating at night.” Oks told us her patients are fans of the brand Sheets & Giggles, which specializes in eucalyptus sheets. (If you want to try a eucalyptus-based comforter, former Strategist writer Lori Keong wrote that sleeping under Buffy’s was like “being cocooned in a cold compress.”)

Best cooling Tencel sheets

Tencel | Moisture wicking

For sweaty sleepers who want something breathable that’s also moisture wicking, Harris, Cralle, Tal, Cushner, and Trapskin suggest sheets made of Tencel, a brand of lyocell. The fabric is “better at absorbing moisture than most other fibers, making it great for sweaty sleepers,” according to Trapskin, who adds that Tencel is “naturally wrinkle resistant and a sustainable material.” Dr. Michael Gelb, a sleep specialist, recommends these Tencel sheets from Sheex. Annie Schlecht, an occupational therapist and certified sleep consultant, loves Sheex for “people who really struggle with night sweats and have tried more organic materials without success.”

Best cooling Tencel-cotton-blend sheets

Tencel-cotton blend | Moisture wicking

If you want to try Tencel sheets at an even lower price point, Trapskin recommends these from Molecule. The sheets are made of a Tencel-cotton blend, which, thanks to the cotton, “will give the sheets a more familiar feel.” Trapskin says Molecule sheets nail the perfect blend — and the brand makes a cooling mattress if sheets alone aren’t doing the job.

Best cooling bamboo sheets

Bamboo | Moisture wicking

Like lyocell, bamboo sheets get high marks from sleep doctors. Tal likes how they’re both lightweight and soft, and Harris is a fan because bamboo is “hypoallergenic, ecofriendly, and cool to the touch.” Anishka Clarke, a co-owner of Ishka Designs, told us these 100 percent bamboo-rayon sheets are “softer than you’d imagine. Supersoft. Like, baby soft on your skin” and extremely durable — generally lasting twice as long as cotton.

Best (less expensive) cooling bamboo sheets

Bamboo | Moisture-Wicking

Airbnb host Brandon Lee, who identifies as a hot sleeper, uses these more affordable — and “extremely breathable” — 100 percent bamboo-rayon sheets. He says the fabric “outperforms almost every other bedsheet fabric I’ve tried including linen, cotton, and Egyptian silk.” Bamboo rayon, he adds, is “not only softer and more lightweight” than other fabrics but moisture wicking too.

Best cooling bamboo sheets infused with silver

Silver-infused bamboo | Moisture wicking

These cooling bamboo sheets recommended by Stephen Light, a sleep-science coach and a co-owner of Nolah Mattress, have even more anti-microbial properties because they’re infused with silver. This, he says, “helps eliminate nasty odors” from building up. Echoing the other experts who told us about bamboo, he says the “fabric naturally has moisture-wicking properties and inherent breathability and is extremely lightweight.”

Our experts

• Anishka Clarke, co-owner of Ishka Designs
Terry Cralle, clinical sleep educator
• Keith Cushner, founder of Tuck
Dr. Michael Gelb, sleep specialist
Dr. Michael Grandner