Keep Cool and Comfortable All Night with Cooling Bed Sheets
Feeling hot at night when you’re trying to sleep can really disrupt your goal of a solid eight-ish hours. And that hot, sweaty feeling doesn’t only happen in summer. In fact, you don’t even have to live in a humid climate to experience it. Many of us go to sleep feeling great, but wake up overly warm or even sweaty. Not only does sleeping hot negatively influence our sleep quality, it can lead to issues like grogginess and dehydration the next morning.
Sleeping too hot can happen for many reasons, including seasonal heat from summer nights or your winter furnace, and medical reasons. Thermal discomfort can also happen due to your bedding, especially if you sleep beneath a well-stuffed duvet or in tightly woven sheets. Additionally, some mattresses, including older-technology foam mattresses, can trap heat.
If you relate to waking up at night feeling sweaty and kicking off blankets, a set of cooling sheets could help with getting a better night’s rest. Here’s what to know about how sheets can help with temperature regulation and how to shop for the best cooling sheets.
How Do Cooling Bed Sheets Work?
Cooling sheets are woven in a specific way to help maximize breathability while being made of airy materials that also wick away moisture in case you do sweat.
A warm bedroom or a warm body can have a brutal effect on quality sleep. Dr. Chris Winter, a neurologist, sleep advisor to Mattress Firm and author of the book, “The Sleep Solution,” explains that kicking off the sheets at night because of overheating isn't ideal for getting restorative sleep. “We think you can improve sleep quality, depth of sleep and the speed with which you fall asleep, and reduce wakefulness all by reducing temperature,” he says. The sheets you use can play a big part.
Winter references a 2004 study that observed how people’s sleep changed when exposed to mild heat throughout the night. Not only did low levels of heat raise the body temperature of the participants, it decreased REM sleep and increased wakefulness and whole-body sweat loss. The combination is good evidence of the benefit of keeping cool for a restful night’s sleep.
Mattress Firm Sleep Expert® Rob Mcfarland knows all about sleeping hot since he resides in the warmth of Tucson, Ariz. “We have so much evidence that human beings fall asleep faster and get better quality sleep if they’re sleeping between 60 and 72 degrees,” he says.
Mcfarland explains that if you’re looking to sleep cool, breathable sheets are key in allowing the mattress to breathe and give hot air the chance to escape. The best cooling sheets are often made of hollow fibers. Mcfarland says his top choices are sheets made of TENCEL, bamboo or modal, or those that come in a percale weave.
The three materials of TENCEL, bamboo and modal all focus on breathability and moisture wicking. Sheets in a percale weave tend to be some of the best cotton sheets for hot sleepers thanks to their crisp feel and breathability.
Benefits of Cooling Bed Sheets
There are many benefits to cooling sheets. For one, if you have a high-quality mattress with cooling technology, cooling sheets will help your bed do what it’s meant to do. Additionally, those sheets allow your body to stay in the ideal temperature zone for your best sleep.
Today, many mattresses are designed with cooling in mind. Upper comfort layers like cooling gel foams and breathable covers all help your mattress sleep cool. Using a set of cooling sheets allows for breathability and airflow so the mattress’s cooling effects can work as intended.
“If you're not maximizing the cooling in your bed, you're kind of wasting your investment in the mattress,” Mcfarland says.
If you often wake up sweaty and overheated, sleeping on cooling sheets could help you get better rest. As Winter says, sleeping too hot can lead to a loss of REM sleep and disrupt an otherwise great night of sleep.
Finally, if you experience night sweats, whether due to a warm environment or hormonal changes, your sheets could help lower your risk of overnight awakenings. The best cooling sheets are both moisture-wicking and breathable to keep you pleasantly sweat-free.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Cooling Bed Sheets
When shopping for cooling bed sheets, keep in mind that the material is important. Mcfarland recommends TENCEL, bamboo or modal sheets to help wick moisture and keep you sleeping cool.
When choosing the right set of sheets, always pay close attention to the sizing. A set of queen sheets doesn’t always have a universal sizing system and, in particular, the fitted sheet could vary in size when it comes to how thick a mattress it’ll comfortably fit.
If your mattress is the culprit to sleeping too hot at night, a cooling pad could be a great addition that can lower the temperature. Cooling pads use materials that help draw heat away from the body, like that in the nue by Novaform Cooling Memory Foam Topper.
To keep your mattress clean and free of dust, it’s always smart to use a mattress protector. These are often waterproof to help fend off any spills of moisture. In line with cooling sheets, be sure to shop for a breathable mattress protector.
Mattress Firm’s Cooling Sheets
When it comes to shopping for the best cooling sheets, Mcfarland has some expert recommendations he says will help with getting a comfortable night’s rest.
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Breeze° Cooling Sheet Set
Not only does Tempur-Pedic make some of the best cooling mattresses, the company makes great cooling sheets. The Breeze set is made with TENCEL Lyocell fibers combined with cooling nylon technology. This cool-to-the-touch material spells sweat-free nights by wicking moisture away from the body. If you usually struggle with the fitted sheet slipping off the mattress, the Tempur-Pedic Breeze is ideal: It remedies the issue by adding a StayTight strap on each corner.
Sleepy's Eco Tencel Blend Sheet Set
Eco-friendly materials lend to the breathability and cool-to-the-touch elements of the Sleepy’s Eco Tencel Blend Sheet Set. The fitted sheet’s extra-wide elastic ensures it stays securely over the mattress. Additionally, hot sleepers who suffer from allergies could also sleep better on the Sleepy’s Eco Tencel sheets thanks to their hypoallergenic properties.
Purple SoftStretch Sheet Set
Another of Mcfarland’s top picks for cooling sheets is the Purple SoftStretch Sheet Set, made from the same brand as the popular Purple Mattress. These sheets offer cooling via a bamboo blend material for moisture-wicking comfort and silky feel. As a bonus, the fitted sheet comes labeled to easily identify the head and foot sides.
Sleepy's Supima® Cooling Cotton Sheet Set
For those who prefer to sleep on cotton sheets, the Sleepy’s Supima Cooling set is made of 100% American-grown Supima cotton fabric and comes in 12 color options. With a 600-thread-count weave, the sheets sleep cool since cotton is one of the best breathable materials around. The Sleepy’s Supima cotton set could be some of the best sheets for hot sleepers who have a deep mattress since the fitted sheet in this set is designed to accommodate mattresses up to 19 inches in height. Mcfarland mentions that in terms of durability, cotton is one of the strongest fibers we have, so the cooling bed sheets could have a long lifespan.
How to Care for Your Cooling Bed Sheets
Once you’ve found the perfect cooling bed sheets to keep you sleeping cool through the night, you’ll want your sheets to last as long as possible. The easiest way to prolong the lifespan of bed sheets is to take good care of each set. Mcfarland says this simply means you’ll want to follow the manufacturer's care instructions. He also mentions most sheet sets fare best if they’re put in the dryer on a low-heat setting or hung up to dry. All of the sheets on our list of the best cooling sheets can be machine-washed at home.
Mcfarland says it’s best to wash your sheets once a week. Many sleepers prefer to have more than one set of sheets to make changing sheets on the weekly laundry day a bit easier with less stress of making sure they dry before bedtime.
A set of cooling sheets helps regulate body temperature throughout the night and allows you to get a better night’s sleep. In addition to cooling sheets, be sure your room’s ambient temperature isn’t too warm. While bedding can help you sleep cool, it’s hard for the bedding to do its job if the room is too hot, Mcfarland advises. “Your mattress and bedding should act as heat reduction, but they won’t be air conditioning,” he explains.
The best way to stay cool in bed is by sleeping in a temperature-regulated environment with cooling bedding. A great set of cooling sheets could be your ticket to sweat-free slumber.