For a More Comfortable Night of Shut-Eye, Try the Best Cooling Sheets
Eight sets to soothe sweaty sleepers.
Published Aug 25, 2021 1:00 AM
If you’re a hot sleeper, waking up drenched in sweat is something of a regular occurrence. But there’s good news: The issue might be your sheet set. “Building a cooling bed is all about natural, breathable materials—you’re looking for fabrics that allow air to pass through them so they can be naturally temperature regulating,” notes Whitney Thornburg, design director of Coyuchi. Instead of mulling over details like thread count, Thornburg argues there are more important features to consider—like material, manufacturing process, and texture—but at the end of the day (or, in this case, night), she says the best cooling sheets are simply the ones that feel the best to you. Here are seven sets worth giving a trial run.
- Best overall: Coyuchi Organic Crinkled Percale Sheets
- Best value: Bedsure Bamboo Cooling Sheets
- Best color: Parachute Linen Sheets
- Best neutral: Snowe Home Percale Sheet Set
- Best for couples: Bed Threads Flax Linen Sheet Set
- Best premium: MGBW Vintage Washed Cotton Percale Sheet Set
- Best bamboo: Ettitude Signature Sateen Sheet Set
- Best eucalyptus: Buffy Eucalyptus Sheets
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
Material: The coolest sheets are made from natural fibers—linen and cotton, particularly percale, which refers to the weave. Unlike jersey or sateen, which clings to skin, percale sheets won’t stick. “While percale has a cool, smooth finish, linen is another great option for hot sleepers,” points out Ariel Kaye, founder and CEO of Parachute. Made from flax plants, linen sheets are a stronger, more durable option with hollow fibers that absorb moisture from the air and release it again based on humidity. “This is how the fabric keeps you cool in summer and warm in winter,” she adds. But don’t hit snooze on bamboo or eucalyptus, just be mindful of synthetic fibers like polyester or rayon (it may feel cool to the touch but often doesn’t breathe well, sometimes even trapping heat).
Thread count: According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal thread count for sheets falls somewhere between 200 and 400, but Kaye argues it isn’t the most important indicator of a sweat-free sleep and more akin to a marketing gimmick. “Consumers love quick, easy ways of quantifying value, so summing up the quality of our sheets with a handy metric is really satisfying,” she says. Adds Thornburg, referring to the practice of packing in threads to artificially inflate the count (which is calculated by the number of threads per square inch), “The problem is, a high thread count doesn’t necessarily equal high quality.” If anything, avoid multi-ply sheets—it doubles the number but can take away from overall durability and softness.
Color: For hot sleepers, it’s important to look into how the fabric is grown or processed. Organically grown fibers aren’t sprayed with chemicals; this paired with a conscientious processing method—nontoxic dyes, bleaches, and finishes—will be gentler on your skin, explains Thornburg. But that doesn’t mean your color should fade either. It’s easy to default to a neutral bedding palette of whites, creams, and grays, but Kaye reveals that Parachute’s new color launches are being added into people’s carts quicker than ever before.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Coyuchi Organic Crinkled Percale Sheets
Certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), this set is a high-quality option that’s been through rigorous testing. One benefit of going au naturel with Coyuchi is washability. “Natural fibers age more gracefully than synthetics,” adds Thornburg, resisting pilling and getting softer with every spin cycle. The company’s original percale is a plain weave cotton with a crisp texture that Thornburg likens to a fine dress shirt, but the brand’s crinkled version offers a more well-washed, relaxed feel that’s extra-soft to the touch. If you’re still on the fence about which set is the best for you, take advantage of the company’s Natural Home Advisors to walk you through it, then rest assured: If you don’t love your choice, the company will still take it back. In partnership with the Renewal Workshop, previously used linens are either cleaned and repaired or, if too damaged, recycled.
Best Value: Bedsure Bamboo Cooling Sheets
Bamboo is the vegan dream of cooling sheets—snag a queen set of these sheets for a luxurious, satiny feel at a fraction of the cost of regular sheets. Made with bamboo-derived viscose rather than rayon, the fibers are still super-breathable and promise to wick the sweat from your skin. Backed by both Oeko-Tex chemical-free and Intertek certifications, this set is free of any harsh chemicals so you can catch up on your shut-eye without worry. The only downside, however, is that the material is prone to wrinkling, but that’s nothing a quilt or duvet can’t cover up.
Best Color: Parachute Linen Sheet Set
For a lived-in look that’s still as stylish as ever, nothing beats linen. We dare you to think outside the neutral box and give something bolder a try: Parachute recently released a collection of inky colors that feel like they were inspired by a Dutch still life (we especially love denim-hued Dusk), and the reviews have been so positive that they’re selling out fast. True to the company’s word, previous purchasers have verified that these sheets get softer with each wash, and since they’re more durable than traditional cotton, this set will likely outlive anything else that’s folded in your closet.
Best Neutral: Snowe Home Percale Sheet Set
Domino’s deputy commerce editor, Samantha Weiss-Hills, is not only a hot sleeper but a light sleeper. “If I get too warm, I wake up. And I’ve tried so many styles of sheets—linen, sateen, cotton, you name it. I’ve slept on expensive sheets, affordable options, different sizes of beds, but percale is a breath of fresh air, so to say, for me,” she says. Snowe’s set in particular is the perfect balance of crisp and soft—don’t let their stiffness after the first wash fool you; Hills confirms they relax as soon as they’re put back on the bed. With simplified, subdued color options (choose among Essential White, Ash Grey, Slate Blue, Classic Ivory, and Blue Pink), go with Snowe to provide the perfect neutral base all year long.
Best for Couples: Bed Threads Flax Linen Sheet Set
Linen is ideal for couples who have different sleep styles: Heat tends to dissipate through the looser weave, providing a lightweight feel for those inclined to sweat, but its rich texture also offers a cozy embrace for cold sleepers. Bed Threads recommends using its prewashed linen sets sans duvet or comforter in the summer and layering up when the weather cools. And with more than 20 different colorways, they’re easy to mix and match depending on the season and your mood. The versatility is what our commerce content director, Sophie Miura, loves best. Years later, she reports the color is still just as bright as the day she brought them home.
Best Premium: MGBW Vintage Washed Percale Sheet Set
“Choosing bedsheets is such a subjective decision, but crisp cotton percale sheets have the reputation of being the coolest sheets to the touch,” says Sarah Stern, director of accessories at Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. This set may also be the softest on the list thanks to a stonewashing process that roughs up the tightly woven fabric just enough to make it feel like a perfectly worn tee. It’s also an eco-friendly option thanks to its Oeko-Tex certification.
Best Bamboo: Ettitude Signature Sateen Sheet Set
Our go-to market guru, Cat Dash, has always fancied herself a ride-or-die percale or linen user—until she tried Ettitude’s bamboo sheets. “When they first arrived, they were pretty silky, and I was seriously skeptical (in fact, I waited several weeks before giving them a try). However, after a few washes, they’ve settled into a matte supersoft finish that I’ve come to love,” she shares, adding that they’re getting better with every wash. “Hopping into bed at any time feels luxurious, but especially so when my bed is dressed with this set.” Not convinced? The company also offers a 30-night sleep trial.
Best Eucalyptus: Buffy Eucalyptus Sheets
With reviews that liken these sheets to the feeling of cool water or a soft breeze, cult-favorite brand Buffy’s eucalyptus sheets are a no-brainer for hot sleepers. But there’s an even better reason to consider them. Softer than linen and more breathable than cotton, the set is also hypoallergenic and dyed with natural ingredients like gardenia and pomegranate instead of harsh chemicals. The benefits don’t end there: The manufacturing process uses 10 times less water than cotton for an even more sustainable sleep.
What’s more important: breathability or moisture wicking?
“The weave and the texture you like to sleep on are most important,” says Kaye. You want to choose a fabric that allows air to pass through, like percale or linen. Moisture-wicking features are an added benefit, but shouldn’t be priority number one: A lot of sheets that stick to your skin, like polyester, are absorbent but not as breathable. That’s why five-star hotels rely on cotton. It wicks moisture, breathes well, is soft to the touch, and is made to last.
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