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Quality sleep is essential, but no one can get a good night’s rest while they’re drenched in sweat and ripping off the duvet, much to their partner’s dismay. Unfortunately, sleep sweating is common, but there’s good news: It doesn’t have to be permanent. Moderate nocturnal perspirers can find some relief from the discomfort with the right products — from cooling mattress toppers and bamboo sheets (yes, worth the hype) to the right pajamas or a customized fan.
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However, be aware that chronic night sweats — where the body frequently drenches pajamas and sheets — is something that should be checked out by a doctor to rule out a more serious underlying cause. “If somebody has excessive generalized sweating and it’s really bad whether at night or during the day, it needs to be evaluated,” Dr. David Pariser, a founding board member of the International Hyperhidrosis Society and professor of dermatology at Eastern Virginia Medical School, says. “It could be a sign of one of the more serious problems and you can’t fix that yourself.”
What the Experts Say
Sources in both the skin and sleep fields agreed on two points: First, that severe sleep sweating of an unknown cause requires a visit to the doctor to rule out infections, cancer, thyroid problems, or medication side effects. And, second, that sleep sweating is a totally normal response to certain environmental conditions and isn’t always the result of something serious.
Dr. Brendan Camp, a double board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology in New York City, recommends keeping bedrooms at a cool temperature, as well as using lightweight blankets and moisture-wicking sheets and pajamas. (Avoiding exercise, alcohol, and a large meal before bedtime can help too.) Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor at Cornell University, added that people should also avoid caffeine and consider applying an antiperspirant in known problem areas before bed to reduce sweating overnight.
On the sleep side, Dr. Joseph Dzierzewski, sleep researcher and vice president of research and scientific affairs at the National Sleep Foundation, also mentioned similar strategies to combat sleep sweating. “The best sleep can be achieved in places that are quiet, dark, cool, and 60 to 67 degrees,” he says. “Being comfortable is also a prerequisite for healthy sleep. Identifying a mattress and bedding that supports and keeps you cool is also important.”
BEST SHEETS OVERALL
Molecule Percale Performance Sheets
The Molecule Percale Performance Sheets keep things cool at bedtime using Tencel, a semi-synthetic form of viscose/rayon, by blending it with long-staple cotton (a more comfortable, higher-quality cotton). Tencel is known to be softer, more absorbent, and better at moisture-wicking than cotton and is better for sleep sweaters due to its antimicrobial qualities. The faster moisture evaporates, the less likely bacteria will take hold, and the percale weave on these sheets gives them hotel-bed levels of crispness and breathability.
These sheets are made with a middle-of-the-road 200 thread count so they’re soft but lightweight, and they have more than a fair price point given the quality. For the most part, sheet thread counts range from 200-800, with most falling in the 250-600 range, and the higher the thread count, the heavier (and likely more expensive) the sheet. A 200 thread count is the lightest one can go without sacrificing quality. For sleepers who need to cool down and don’t have a lot of other specifications, these are our top pick.
BEST SHEETS FOR LUXE BREATHABILITY
100% Bamboo Viscose Sheet Set | 400TC Luxury Sateen Weave | LUXOME
Why It Stands Out: The Luxome Luxury Sheet Set is made from 100% viscose from bamboo, making the sheets naturally breathable, moisture-wicking, and soft. “In general, lightweight, breathable fabrics such as linen, some types of cotton, and bamboo tend to be particularly good options for sheets for those who sweat at night,” Garshick says.
Coolest Feature: These sheets feature a thread count of 400, and while that’s heavier than the previous recommendation, the viscose fabric and sateen weave — a weave of one yarn under, three or four yarns over pattern — are known for feeling luxe without trapping too much heat.
Hot Take: Both budget-friendly and luxurious sheets can be too hot depending on what they’re made of. These are expensive, but their breathability means that hot sleepers won’t regret investing in the more deluxe weave and higher thread count.
BEST LIGHTWEIGHT SHEETS
Linen Core Sheet Set
Why It Stands Out: The Brooklinen Linen Core Sheet Set is, unsurprisingly, made out of 100% linen, an excellent lightweight fabric for sleep sweaters looking for relief. Linen isn’t as soft as cotton or a sateen weave, but it’s more durable while still being lightweight and breathable.
Coolest Feature: Brooklinen stone-washes these sheets for softness so you don’t have to deal with the stiff break-in period.
Hot Take: Who better for linen than Brooklinen? Sure, these sheets are expensive, but linen sheets (and shirts and pants, for that matter) are popular in warmer weather because they’re moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and breathable. All of that can help stop sleep sweating.
BEST COOLING PAJAMAS
Nordstrom Cooling Pajamas
Why It Stands Out: So many pajamas are cotton- and flannel-based, which makes them super comfortable but not as good at wicking sweat as other materials. Nordstrom has addressed the problem with this matching set designed for optimal temperatures under the sheets. The fit is light and breathable and the fabric isn’t too heavy.
Coolest Feature: The fabric blend here just shouts cooling comfort: The combination of mostly rayon, about a third of CoolMax polyester, and a bit of spandex works together to capture less heat, improve breathability, wick moisture, and lower the chances of excessive sleep sweating.
Hot Take: After sheets, pajamas are the first line of defense against sleep sweating. The Nordstrom pajamas incorporate the same features that make cooling sheets work and apply them to sleepwear. With the fit and fabrics here, these pajamas will do their part to capture and evaporate excess sweat.
BEST COOLING COMFORTER
Evercool™ Cooling Comforter | Lightweight Down Alternative for Hot Sleepers<br>
Why It Stands Out: The Rest Evercool Cooling Comforter features a proprietary Evercool fabric that’s designed to absorb and disperse heat 10 times faster than cotton.
Coolest Feature: Rest fills the comforter with Sorona, a high-tech proprietary polyester developed through an eco-efficient and renewable process that’s breathable and moisture-wicking.
Hot Take: A smartphone is high-tech, but so is this comforter. The fabric is designed to both disperse heat quickly and absorb and eliminate moisture as well.
BEST FOR COOLING DOWN BED
Sleepme OOLER Sleep System
Why It Stands Out: Sleep systems like this one use a machine to cool or warm water or air and circulate it around the bed, rapidly adjusting the surface temperature of the mattress. Instead of temperature taking a top-down approach, like air from a fan, it’s a bottom-up system that cools from underneath the body. The Sleepme OOLER Sleep System is one of the most advanced and highest-quality sleep systems on the market that delivers on its high price tag. Just ask SPY Wellness Editor Taylor Galla, who sleeps with it every night.
Coolest Feature: The top-tier system uses two key features to keep sleepers cool throughout the night — a specially-made Cool Mesh Pad spread over the bed and a control unit that uses circulated water to cool the whole bed to a specified temperature.
Hot Take: Spy’s Wellness Editor Taylor Galla swears by the OOLER: “I have an OOLER and, personally, I’ve never slept better,” she says. “Being able to turn it on/off, program its schedule, and set an exact temperature on the app is very convenient. I live in a place with freezing winters and it’s great for warming up a bed as well as cooling it down. It’s an investment, but it’s worth every penny.”
BEST COOLING MNATTRESS
Aurora Luxe Cooling – Brooklyn Bedding
Why It Stands Out: The Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Luxe Cooling mattress was designed from the bottom up to cool sleepers down. For all its technology, this mattress could cost a lot more.
Coolest Feature: The top layer of the mattress incorporates a phase change material treatment into its construction to help with cooling, with a cooling top layer as well as breathable coils underneath that won’t retain heat.
Hot Take: For people who want to go all in on tamping down their sleep sweating, the Aurora Luxe Cooling mattress features cooling technology and design at every level. Plus, the mattress can be upgraded to include a GlacioTex cooling cover, a special blend of polyester and polyethylene with high thermal conductivity, meaning it draws heat away from the body efficiently.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep Sweating
What are the best materials for stopping sleep sweating?
Generally, most people will benefit from lightweight synthetic or semi-synthetic materials with moisture-wicking and breathable qualities such as rayon and Tencel (aka Lyocell). Depending on the buyer’s priorities, cotton sheets may be more comfortable but they will not evaporate sweat as easily. Silk sheets are a popular option for hair and skin health, but they don’t handle moisture very well, Garshick says. Polyester is also popular and works really well as a moisture-wicker in sleepwear and athletic gear too.
I’m a frequent sleep sweater, how concerned should I be for my health?
Experts say sleep sweating can be a sign of a serious issue, but it is often completely normal and not a health problem in and of itself. People dealing with excessive, unexplainable sweat all over their bodies at any time of day could have medical problems. “Sweating at night can be related to hyperhidrosis, but it is important to also consider medical conditions, such as thyroid problems, diabetes, sleep apnea, and malignancies, and medications,” Camps says. Pariser and Garshick also include neurological factors, cancers, other infections, hormonal changes due to pregnancy or puberty, anxiety, stress and even tuberculosis, as uncommon as it is in the U.S., as potential causes for excessive body sweating.
Why is achieving quality sleep important?
It’s literally life and death! “Population-based, representative research conducted by the National Sleep Foundation routinely reveals that the majority of the U.S. adults have poor sleep health and are not satisfied with their sleep,” Dzierzewski says. “This is particularly troubling given the known associations between sleep and multiple health outcomes, including heart disease, pain conditions, mental health disorders, car crashes, and others.”
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