If you’re one of the many people who tend to get hot and sweaty in bed, no matter how cool you keep your home, you know how hard it can be to get a good night’s rest during the summer. Enter 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, cooling sheets, experts say, can combat overheating and lead to more restful nights. But as Keith Cushner, the founder of sleep-product-review site Tuck, points out, some sheets that claim to be cooling can be deceiving. “Moisture-wicking sheets don’t necessarily mean that they’ll be breathable,” he says, which is why he says you should take careful note of the composition of any sheets that promise to cool you down before investing in a pair.
As Dr. Michael Grandner, the director of the sleep and health research program at the University of Arizona, explains, the best cooling sheets are the ones that allow for the most airflow. “Your body’s ability to regulate temperature is a big part of how it regulates sleep,” he says. “And one of the ways that the body regulates temperature is by excreting small amounts of sweat.” With breathable sheets, this moisture evaporates into the air, thus cooling your body down. Less breathable sheets, on the other hand, lock in this heat and you wake up feeling sweaty.
Before we get to the sheets, though, take note: According to the experts we spoke to, while sweaty sleep is common, it can have a medical cause — so be sure to check in with a doctor if you’re having night sweats. If you’re simply running hot, though, cooling sheets can offer some serious relief. “Given that the ideal temperature for sleep is around 65 degrees, sleeping with cooling, breathable, and moisture-wicking sheets can be a plus and a significant contributor to a good night’s sleep,” says clinical sleep educator Terry Cralle. We talked to 13 sleep doctors and experts to hear their recommendations about the crispest, coolest sheets out there.
If you want cooling sheets that are breathable
Best cooling cotton sheets
Most of the sleep experts agreed that sheets made of natural fibers, like cotton and linen, are the best bet for sweaty sleepers because they’re the most breathable. Crisp percale cotton was recommended by seven of the experts. “In general, you want a fabric that’s not too tightly woven … the more breathable the fabric the better,” says Dr. Margarita Oks, a pulmonologist at Lenox Hill Hospital. “Percale is naturally very crisp, and it’s a polyester or a cotton blend, which will make it easier and more comfortable for people to sleep.” Cralle also recommended percale sheets and noted that the matte finish of the sheets “is going to be cooler than sateen,” which is a fabric with a tighter weave. Dr. Shelby Harris, a psychologist who specializes in behavioral sleep medicine and the author of The Women’s Guide to Overcoming Insomnia, also says that percale is the way to go for cotton sheets, and psychotherapist Heather Turgeon, the author of The Happy Sleeper, loves how percale feels “crisp and light.”
Cushner agrees that percale-cotton sheets are the way to go if you’re looking for something cooling and affordable. Ben Trapskin, the founder of bedding-review site the Sleep Sherpa, says to look for a percale sheet with 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 set from SOL Organics, an affordable line of natural sheets. “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
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 are his favorite, and Oks says many of her sleep-apnea patients have been also been happy with these sheets. Former Strategist senior writer Lauren Levy also raved about them, saying of their cooling power, “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 (less-expensive) cooling linen sheets
For something at a slightly lower price point, try Parachute’s linen sheets, which come recommended by Trapskin, who also likes Brooklinen’s linen sheets. While these cost less upfront, just know the set only comes with two pillowcases and a fitted sheet (you’ll have to pay extra to include a flat one). Like Brooklinen’s linen sheets, Parachute’s are also available in lots of colorways, including this pale blush. According to Cralle, “the color of your sheets can play a role in staying cool while sleeping: Lighter colors reflect light, while dark colors absorb it.” So in choosing a color of cooling sheets, think of it like choosing a shirt on a hot day — when it’s warm out, you tend to stay cooler wearing a lighter color.
Best cooling eucalyptus sheets
Eucalyptus 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 that 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.”)
If you want cooling sheets that are moisture-wicking and breathable
Best overall cooling Tencel sheets
For sweaty sleepers who want something breathable and moisture-wicking, Harris, Cralle, Tal, Cushner, and Trapskin all suggest sheets made of Tencel, a fiber derived from the pulp of eucalyptus trees. The fabric is “better at absorbing moisture than most other fibers, making it great for sweaty sleepers,” according to Trapskin, who adds Tencel is also “naturally wrinkle-resistant and a sustainable material.” Harris agrees that it’s a good pick for sweaty sleepers because it has “great moisture-wicking abilities.” Tal and Dr. Michael Gelb, a sleep specialist, praised Tencel’s moisture-wicking properties as well, with Gelb specifically recommending these Tencel sheets from Sheex. Annie Schlecht, an occupational therapist and certified sleep consultant, also loves Sheex for “people who really struggle with night sweats and have tried more organic materials without success.”
Softest cooling Tencel sheets
Sleep-science coach Alex Savy, the founder of sleep-product-review website SleepingOcean, also recommends Tencel sheets for sweaty sleepers. He says they are “naturally breathable and can help with thermoregulation during the night.” His favorites are these Tencel sheets from Zoma, which he says “have a silky-smooth sateen weave and feel heavenly soft against the skin.” They even come with a one-year warranty, something Savy says “can indicate quality and durability.”
Best cooling Tencel-cotton-blend sheets
If you want to try Tencel sheets at a 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 too, if sheets alone aren’t doing the job.
Best cooling bamboo sheets
Like eucalyptus and Tencel, 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, eco-friendly, and cool to the touch.” Anishka Clarke, a co-owner of Ishka Designs, told us these 100 percent bamboo 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
Savy agrees that bamboo sheets are another great option for those who sleep hot and can sweat overnight. Gravity’s are made of a cotton-bamboo blend that he says is “super breathable” and does “a great job of wicking excess moisture away, which contributes to their overall cooling effect.” He adds that bamboo fibers are “naturally antimicrobial and can help protect you from allergen build-up.”
Best cooling bamboo sheets infused with silver
These cooling bamboo sheets recommended by Stephen Light, a sleep-science coach and a co-owner of Nolah Mattress, have even more antimicrobial properties because they’re infused with silver. This, he says, “helps eliminate nasty odors” from building up and, in turn, means the sheets “don’t need washing as often.” 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.”
Best cooling sheets for heavy sweaters
Dermatologist Jeremy Fenton of the Schweiger Dermatology Group acknowledges that natural fibers like cotton and linen are more gentle on the skin, but told us that sheets made of synthetic fibers designed to “wick moisture away from the body tend to be a little better for people who are going to sweat regardless of the temperature.” Lisa J. Pieretti, the executive director and co-founder of the International Hyperhidrosis Society, says that her organization loves Wicked Sheets and that it suggests them to people who struggle with night sweats. Like athleticwear, the sheets are made from a poly-nylon blend to wick moisture away from the skin. (Gelb also recommends nylon-blend sheets, which he says “feel good and dry quickly.”) The fabric is treated with UV protection to prevent the absorption of heat from the sun, and trace copper elements prohibit the growth of bacteria on the sheets.
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