Have you ever had trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep? If you tend to wake up in the middle of the night alternately shivering or sweating from too much heat, chances are that the problem lies in your bedclothes, both what you and your bed are wearing. What your pajamas and sheets are made of matters a great deal to how comfortable you are when you sleep, how easily your body can regulate temperature, and what happens to night sweats. The biggest problem is artificial fabrics that block airflow, trap sweat, and often feel to slick or stretchy to be truly comfortable. With polyester, nylon, and other artificial blends, overheating or freezing is all too common. The real question is what kind of pajamas and sheets you really need to sleep comfortably all the way through the night.
Warm and Cold Weather Pajamas
What you wear to bed matters, and not just for your before and after fashion statements. Even if your silk pajamas are a hit at sleepovers and for socializing in the late evening, silk is often too slick to be comfortable in bed and requires regular dry cleaning. Instead, stick with 100% cotton breathable light-weight jammies for most of the year. Even if this is an old soft t-shirt and some worn out sports-shorts, if they are cotton, they are much more likely to allow easy temperature regulation, absorb night sweat efficiently, and stay comfortable on your skin at any temperature. In the winter, switch to cotton flannels to stay warm and consider a lightweight pair of socks to help insulate your feet down at the bottom of your bed.
High Thread Count Cotton Sheets
If you’ve ever thought your sheets were too slick, stretchy, or rough, you probably are dealing with an artificial fabric blend or an unfortunately low thread count. The thread count on sheets determines how soft they are. The higher the count, the softer the sheets. Start with 100% cotton or as close as you can get for breathability and sweat management then check to make sure your count is above 500. If you want to go higher, don’t bother with anything above 1000, as this usually involves thread-inflating tactics that don’t improve the softness after a certain point. If you’re on a budget, look for lower thread counts of ‘combed’ cotton from a well-known and highly rated brand, as these are likely to also be quite soft at lower prices.
There are a lot of different fabrics that are available for PJs and bedding so let’s go down the list quickly as to what they’re really useful for. A lot of people like the luxury of silk or satin for either use but these can lack breathability, are more likely to form stains from any night sweats, and can be expensive to maintain. Wool is another popular alternative, especially for cold weather pajamas, but wool PJs often get too warm once you’re under the covers. For either wool or silk, consider a nice robe or an evening PJ outfit that is separate from what you actually sleep in. As for unnatural fibers like polyester and rayon, stay away unless you want to wake up in a puddle.
Sleeping Au Natural
When you have high-quality sheets (that you wash regularly), one option that many people privately prefer is to sleep in the buff. This can be relaxing, enjoyable, and reduce your chances of overheating when your room is the right temperature. The choice to wear pajamas to bed is a personal decision for everyone. They can absolutely help you regulate your body temperature and handle night sweats but if you’re most comfortable not bothering with PJs at all, do whatever works for you to get a good night’s sleep.
Knowing and carefully choosing the fabric for your bedclothes can make a huge difference in the quality of your sleep. Your best bet almost every time will be soft, durable 100% cotton because it can keep you warm, allow for air flow, and help you regulate your sleeping body temperature.