The Best Fabrics for Bedding and Sleepwear 🛌💤
When we sleep, we should be as comfortable as possible. Fabrics for sleepwear and bedding can play a major role in how well we sleep at night. We want to be cool enough so that our bodies can drop off to sleep, but warm enough that we are still comfortable as well. We’ve probably all been told to wear lightweight, loose, breathable fabrics to bed for the most comfortable sleep. We’ve heard: don’t wear polyester fabrics because it prohibits air circulation; do wear cotton because it’s lightweight and breathable.
While that advice does remain true to a certain extent, we have entered a whole new world of fabric development and design and now we have more choices than ever before. Do you tend to sweat a lot at night? Or do you easily feel chilled? Choose the best fabrics that cater to your body and environment! Here is a list of some old and new nighttime fabric options.
Cotton, a natural, soft fiber grown from the cotton plant, has been used in textiles for a long time, and for good reason. It is soft, lightweight, and breathable, which allows air circulation to your skin. It is extremely common, durable, and easy to wash. For all these reasons, a soft cotton fabric still may be a great choice for sleepwear and bedding.
There are seemingly thousands of different kinds of cotton fabric, so finding the best one for bed might take a little groundwork. For bedding, you might see labels like“Egyptian cotton,”“Pima cotton,” or“American Upland.” None other than home guru Martha Stewart explains that the different names refer to cotton fiber length and, correspondingly, quality. Egyptian cotton has the longest fiber length and is considered the softest of all cotton fabrics, Pima cotton has the second longest fiber and is considered the second best quality, and American upland cotton(usually written simply as“100% cotton”) is still soft but the quality can vary greatly.
It should also be noted that cotton does not insulate well(with the exception of cotton flannel), and therefore, if you tend to get cold at night, you should opt for another blanket or perhaps a different, more insulating fabric choice. In addition, cotton absorbs a lot of moisture, which means if you perspire a lot at night, the cotton fabric will keep the moisture pressed against your skin, potentially causing discomfort as well as creating a home for bacteria.
Wool is the textile made from the natural hair of a sheep, goat, or similar animal. When you see wool, you probably think“warm” and maybe also“itchy.” For many kinds of wool, this is can be true. Wool is an excellent insulator, but the amount of insulation you might want likely depends on your sleeping environment, so choose the weight and weave of your fabric accordingly so you don’t get overheated. Watch out: some wool can be quite itchy, which can irritate the skin at night.
Merino wool has gotten more popular for sleepwear, underwear, and active-wear alike because(1) it is made from the very soft, fine merino wool fibers(not itchy!),(2) it is absorbent(according to the Swartwool website, Merino wool can retain up to 30% of its own weight in moisture and still feel dry to the touch),(3) it is very breathable with good wicking capability(the wool fibers transfer moisture away from your skin so it can evaporate effectively), and(4) it is a great insulator, keeping you at the right temperature. For this reason, merino wool and merino wool blends are an excellent choice for soft, breathable sleepwear with a cozy feel.
Ahhh, what sounds nicer than a pair of silk pajamas or nestling into clean silk sheets? You’ll feel like royalty. Silk is a natural protein fiber made from the cocoons of silkworms. It is incredibly soft, strong, and is an excellent thermoregulator, keeping you cool when it is warm and warm when it is cool. All that being said, perspiration can easily weaken and stain silk, and therefore any fabric in contact with the skin(like, say, pajamas and sheets) should be cleaned regularly. Silk can absorb a lot of moisture, and that means a lot of sweat if you tend to perspire at night. It is also generally recommended that silks be cleaned with dry cleaning methods. Therefore, while certainly luxurious and comfortable, silk may not be the most practical choice for sleepwear and bedding.
But, if you’d like good insulation, a super soft fabric, and don’t mind the dry-cleaning bill, then these might be worth looking into!
Like silk, linen is considered more of a luxury material for sheets and sleepwear(read: more expensive). Unlike silk, linen is a natural fiber derived from the flax plant. Linen has been around for centuries, but still remains popular because it is so breathable and cool. If you live in a hot climate, consider linen a great bedding and sleepwear fabric option. High-quality linen is soft, very strong, durable and can last decades(according to Martha), so even though it may have a higher initial price tag, it can be good value. Unfortunately, linen wrinkles easily, so if you mind the wrinkled look on sleepwear and sheets, be ready to get your iron out regularly.