Temperatures outside may be dropping, but if you’re one of the many people who tends to get hot and a bit sweaty when trying to fall asleep, the chillier air will do little to help you get a good night’s rest (and your overactive apartment radiator certainly won’t help, either). Enter cooling sheets: the crisp, airy bedding that can combat overheating and help you sleep through the night.
Before we get to the sheets, though, take note: According to the sleep experts we spoke to, sweaty sleep is common, but 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 ten sleep doctors and experts to hear their recommendations about the crispest, coolest sheets out there.
Best overall cooling sheets
Most of the sleep experts agreed that sheets made of breathable natural fibers, like cotton and linen, are the best bet for sweaty sleepers — and crisp percale cotton was recommended by three of the experts that we asked. “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.
Ben Trapskin, founder of the 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 says. “These sheets are durable, and sustainable from an environmental and economic perspective.” For their combination of crisp, cool comfort, their organic makeup, and their affordable price point, Trapskin’s choice is our pick for best overall.
Best linen cooling sheets
Several of the sleep experts we spoke to suggested linen sheets, which, according to Dr. Joshua Tal, a psychologist who specializes in sleep disorders, 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. Many of Oks’s sleep apnea patients have been happy with Brooklinen’s linen sheets, as was former Strategist senior writer Lauren Levy, who raved about Brooklinen’s offerings. On their cooling power, she says, “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.”
For something at a slightly lower price point, try Parachute’s linen sheets, which come recommended by Trapskin (as does Brooklinen). Parachute’s sheets are also available in more colorways, like this soft blush. Save the darker shades — like coal and indigo — for winter because, as Cralle says, “the color of your sheets can play a role in staying cool while sleeping, with lighter colors reflecting it while dark colors absorb it.” Think of it like choosing a shirt on a hot day — when it’s warm out, you tend to stay cooler when wearing a lighter color.
Best eucalyptus and Tencel cooling sheets
Eucalyptus is another naturally cool fiber to look for in a pair of cooling sheets, according to Oks. “Eucalyptus generally has some natural temperature regulating properties,” she says. And while Oks 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 Oks 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 and Giggles, which specializes in eucalyptus sheets. (And 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.”)
Cralle, Tal, and Trapskin all suggested sheets made of Tencel, a fiber derived from the pulp of eucalyptus trees. Tencel is one of Trapskin’s fabric picks because it’s “better at absorbing moisture than most other fibers, making it great for sweaty sleepers. Tencel is also naturally wrinkle-resistant and is a sustainable material.” Tal and Dr. Michael Gelb, a sleep specialist, praised Tencel’s moisture-wicking properties, as well, and Gelb recommended Tencel sheets from Sheex.
If you want to try Tencel sheets at a lower price point, Trapskin recommends Molecule Sheets. 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 moisture-wicking sheets
Gelb also recommends nylon-blend sheets, which he says “feel good and dry quickly.” Lisa J. Pieretti, executive director and co-founder of the International Hyperhidrosis Society, says that her organization loves Wicked Sheets and that they suggest them for many people who struggle with night sweats. Like athletic wear, Wicked sheets are made from a poly-nylon blend to wick moisture away from the skin. 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.
There are some advantages of choosing synthetics over natural fibers. Dermatologist Jeremy Fenton, of the Schweiger Dermatology Group, acknowledges that cotton and linen are more gentle on the skin with the caveat that “people who are going to sweat regardless of the temperature, tend to do a little better with sheets that wick moisture away from the body.”
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