Many sheets claim to suit sweaty sleepers who tend to wake up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat. The reality is that some materials heat us up during the night and others cool us down. Luckily the difference between them is quite straight forward. After learning a few core truths you’ll be ready to buy just the right sheets for you. The ones that will keep you cool throughout the night. Read on to find out what are truly the best sheets for sweaty sleepers.
What Is Sweating?
Let’s start from the beginning. Sweating or perspiration is simply the body’s response to the body temperature rising. As the heat goes up above the normal threshold, your brain signals the body to revert the changes to keep the heat at optimum level. This signal is sent to the roughly 4 million sweat glands all over your body. As a result, they start releasing sweat through the pores of your skin. This pushes excess heat out of your body and when the water from the sweat evaporates, you cool down.
Sweating can be the result of exercising, a nervous situation, hormonal imbalance, or just being in a hot environment. What interests us most when it comes to sleeping is the hot environment. This does not mean that you have to drop down to a hot savanna to take a nap there. It could be that your bedroom temperature is higher than the suggested 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit (16-2ooC) for ideal sleeping conditions, or simply that your body heats up while you’re dreaming away. It could be that your blanket is to blame for the extra heat. But this time we’ll focus on what’s below and find the best sheets for sweating.
Sheets That Keep You Cool
Imagine that you’re working out. Your heart starts pumping faster, your body heat goes up and you feel a sweat coming on. If your shirt is made out of a water resistant fabric, the sweat has nowhere to go. It will start piling up, eventually sliding and dripping down your skin. What you want, is a shirt that is either breathable or one that is absorbent. The first kind will let the air move through the shirt without trouble. And the second kind will soak up the excess water from your body. It’s the same with bed sheets. The best bet for sweaty sleepers is to go with breathable or absorbent sheets.
You can think of this as a preventative method. Rather than letting your body heat rise to a such a high level that triggers sweating in the first place, the heat gets conducted to the sheet. These are the bed sheets that keep you cool at night. A breathable bed sheet requires a lower thread count. A sheet’s thread count simply refers to the number of horizontal threads (weft) and vertical threads (warp) in one square inch. So forget about the supposed high-end sheets with a maximum thread count. Instead, go for an airier thread count of 200 to 400 and a natural fabric, like linen or bamboo.
What you want is a sheet that will have space between the threads. This will allow your body to transfer heat into them. In a way, you can think of breathable sheets as bed sheets that don’t make you sweat. They simply won’t let your body heat rise to a level that would activate the sweating process, so they’re great for sweaty sleepers. If you want to know what are the coolest sheets, this is it – breathable sheets. They’re also the best sheets for hot flashes.
Sheets That Wick Away Sweat
A key rule to remember is that natural fibers normally love water and soak it up where they can. Synthetic fibers are the opposite – they repel water or at least try to avoid water. If you’re sweating away during the night, sweat resistant sheets will not work to your advantage. What you want is for the bed sheet to take in the excess water. But you don’t necessarily want it to hold onto that moisture. The sheet should get rid of the moisture and stay dry. So it can a delicate balance between natural and synthetic fibers that would give you an excellent absorbent sheet. Much like good exercise gear that takes in the sweat from your body and lets it evaporate from the surface of the fabric.
What Are the Coolest Sheets?
Many sweaty sleepers prefer natural fabrics as a safe choice. Not all natural fibers fit into this class, however. The natural golden trio that will keep you dry at night is linen, cotton, and bamboo. But it’s also worthwhile looking into synthetics or even high-tech sheets. There are many clever products on the market these days. Just be careful, many synthetic materials tend to heat up quickly, these are not the type of bed sheets that stay cold.
Linen Bed Sheets
Linen should not need much introduction in the bedding scene. Funnily enough it’s sometimes forgotten, despite its prominent role in bed linen. It is the oldest fabric known and is a highly valued textile thanks to its coolness in hot weather. Linen sheets can be considered the ultimate no sweat sheets.
Linen is actually made from the fibers of flax, also known as linseed plants. Flax is not only valued for its fibers. It is also cultivated for its seeds which are filled with nutrients. The plant is not too picky and can grow in different climates. But it prefers environments that are cool and damp. The biggest flax production comes from Canada, Kazakhstan, China, Russia and the US.
The reason why linen is considered as one of the best fabrics that keep you cool is because of its ability to wick away water quickly and to release it in a whim. The sheets will remain dry throughout the night and will have a cool feel to them. Not only is linen a highly breathable fabric, so one of the best options for sweaty sleepers, it’s also one of the strongest vegetable fibers out there. Investing in a good linen sheet will get you a companion for decades. Linen sheets have a more authentic feel to them and while they’re not the silkiest, they have little match in coziness.
Best Cotton Bed Sheets
Cotton is probably the most widely used from all natural fibers, as it has a variety of uses. You’ve probably seen a picture of a cotton plant, or even the real thing yourself. It grows in a fluffy boll, so it’s easily distinguishable from other plants. Cotton likes warm climates and grows in tropical and subtropical regions. The biggest cotton producers in the world are China, India and the US.
Cotton is a natural water-loving fiber that wicks away moisture. For the not-so-profuse kind of sweaty sleepers, a good quality cotton bed sheet is a good choice. It will relieve you from the extra moisture thanks to its breathability and you won’t have to worry about losing sleep over sweating. Cotton sheets are easy breezy sheets that will keep you dry. And not only that, they’ll keep your nights cool.
Bear in mind that not all cotton is the same quality. There’s quite a lot of variety actually. Starting from the highest quality cotton, the different types are Egyptian cotton, Pima cotton (with its trademark name Supima cotton), and American upland cotton. This last one is usually much lower quality and is described simply as 100% cotton sheets, without any further specification.
Bamboo Bed Sheets
Bamboo bed sheets may not have a familiar ring to them at first. This plant is probably more familiar to us in the cooking scene or as a building material. But this fabric is also used for making bed sheets and has become largely popular. Once you try them, you’ll know how well kept a secret they are and why they’re considered one of the best sheets for night sweats. Bamboo is a hygroscopic fabric, which means that it will wick away the water from its surroundings. It’s a highly breathable fabric that has a silky and luxurious feel to it.
You can find 100% bamboo sheets, or bamboo blends with cotton or microfibers. A big plus of the bamboo sheet is that it is hypoallergenic. So it works very well for sweaty sleepers with skin conditions, such as eczema. Bamboo sheets are truly one of the best sheets to keep you cool and dry all night long.
The Nusleep bed sheets fall in the realm of high-tech bedding. They’re made of 80% lyocell, a synthetic yet absorbent material, and the remaining 20% is reserved for the special 37.5® Technology. The particles in 37.5® Technology have 3 qualities that play a big role in keeping the sheets dry and cool.
- The particles love water and easily wick moisture away during sweaty nights
- They add a lot of surface area which lets the sheet absorb moisture even faster
- They absorb the infrared energy that our bodies emit which heat the particle. As a result they will speed evaporation in case you are hot. Similarly, they retain the heat in case you are cold, so they work well for cold sleepers as well as sweaty ones.
What should sweaty sleepers stay away from?
If a fabric does not breathe well or does not wick moisture, sweaty sleepers should keep their distance. It will not keep you dry and you will have a bad time rolling around in your own sweat. Of natural fabrics, silk sheets will not give you the comfort of a dry night’s sleep. They’re luxurious and smooth and definitely serve their purpose on a steamy night with your partner. But for an everyday recovering sleep it’s best to keep them in the closet waiting for a more special evening.
Microfiber sheets that contain polyester or polyamides such as nylon, do wick moisture, can have a soft touch and for some an appealing glare but they are not breathable. Don’t be tricked by the promise that these sheets are the ones that will keep you cool at night. They work well for some people but if you tend to be more on the sweaty side, it’s best to avoid them. Check out our article on What Are Microfiber Sheets?
You should also be aware of most high-tech sheets. More often than not the chemicals used in the sheets are lost in the washing process and the sheets lose their initial potential after a short time. They’re not the best sheets to keep you cool or dry at night. But some of them can pleasantly surprise you. The best way to know is to try them out yourself because they do suit some people very well.