Outside view of VIDA Building

Are Cooling Bed Sheets for You?

Woman sleeping in bed. Image credit: Andrea Piacquadio

April 2021

It won’t be long before summer arrives in Rochester. And while your apartment has central air conditioning, summer’s heat isn’t the only reason you might want to invest in a set of cooling bedsheets. If you’ve never heard of them, they really are a thing. Here are all the reasons you might want a set and the different types available.

When can cooling sheets help?

Based on saving energy and money, you may not want to set the temperature for your air conditioning too low. In that case, cooling sheets can make you more comfortable. Some people also suffer from night sweats due to health reasons such as medications, hypoglycemia, and menopause. If you sleep with a partner, the two of you together will create more body heat in your bed. And some people just run hotter and can often overheat at night.

How do cooling sheets work?

Depending on the type of sheets you buy, they can work in one of two ways. Breathable sheets allow for more airflow through the material so you stay cooler. Absorbent sheets work just like athletic wear that wicks away moisture. Which is best for you? Think of it this way. If better airflow will reduce the heat in your bed enough to cool things down, then breathable sheets are fine. If you’re going to sweat no matter what you do, absorbent sheets are better.

What about fabrics?

If a sheet set isn’t labeled as breathable or absorbent, you can tell how it will perform based on the fabric. Natural fibers will be more breathable. Percale cotton, linen, and bamboo (which many consider to be the most breathable) are common choices. Synthetic fibers are used for absorbent sheets. Performative polyester or tencel are common materials. And at the risk of having too many options, you can also buy sheets that combine natural and synthetic materials. These will give you a bit better airflow while providing some absorbency.