Summer nights spent trying to find the cool patch in the bed, windows and doors open, fan on high and endless rounds of pillow flipping as sleep continues to elude. Anyone who's lived in a hot climate, is menopausal or is a naturally hot sleeper will have experienced one of these nights more than once. So if the pedestal fan and open windows just aren't enough for a good night's sleep, this discussion on summer bed sheets and bedding just might help.
Let's begin by putting the flannelette sheets and winter weight bed covers away, and going in search of bed sheets and bedding that will be cool to the touch all night, breathable, moisture wicking (that means they draw sweat away from the body) and have a high standard for temperature regulation for those nights where the thermometer doesn't drop.
Luckily there's only a few real variables to take into consideration when it comes down to it; Fabric choice, weave and weight.
Best fabric choices for summer bed sheets
Along with your flannelette sheets, you might want to put any bedding that is synthetic or synthetic blended into hibernation for the summer months too. These fabrics are more often made for durability than comfort with breathability, moisture wicking and temperature regulation significantly reduced in the process. This means a sticky nights sleep and a strong possibility of the wrong side of the bed in the morning.
For a crisp, cool and breathable nights sleep, bed sheets made of natural fibres or natural fibre blends have been tried and proven to be the only ones truly up to the task. Think organic cotton, linen, hemp linen blends or Tencel. This is because the naturally long fibres absorb moisture, drawing it away from the body and towards the outside of the sheet, here it evaporates leaving the skin and the bed sheet surface cool to the touch. Their naturally porous and fibrous construction allows for body heat to be drawn away from the skin surface making their capacity to regulate temperature on a hot night superior to any other bed sheet fabric choice.
Best weave choice for summer bed sheets and bedding
The two most popular weaves you will see for cotton or natural fibre sheets are percale and sateen.
Percale is lightweight, crisp and durable, think hotel sheets. Sateen is soft and smooth with a lustrous sheen on the surface. A useful rule of thumb when purchasing bed sheets is that Percale will be cooler to sleep with than sateen due to its looser weave. Percale allows more heat to escape and greatly improves the temperature regulation of your fabric choice.
Best weight for summer bed sheets and bed covers
The weight of your sheets and bedding is very personal and will depend on the thread count and fabrics used. Linen and Hemp being on the heavier end of the scale, for those who like a weighted sheet or coverlet, and cotton and Tencel being lighter, finer and obviously a little cooler. Thread counts are not definitive as there is a lot of room for interpretation among manufacturers, however a high thread count sheet will have a tighter weave to pack in all those fine yarns, this means the gaps between the yarns are fewer and smaller trapping heat and moisture. As a general guide, a medium thread count of 200 - 350 is perfect for a hot sleeper or a hot night.