A detail view showing the soft texture of Oolie organic cotton sheets in white cotton installed on a bed.

Sheets for Hot Sleepers Ranked From Best to Worst

Well, hello, summer!

Time for cold treats, unstructured time with the kids, and longer daylight hours.

As fun as summer can be, the combination of hot daytime weather, warmer nights, early sunrises, and late sunsets can strain your family’s sleep routine. Kids and parents still need plenty of solid rest, even when school’s out!

Yet not everyone sleeps the same, and seasonal temperature changes affect us all differently.

You or your kids may “sleep hot,” even in winter, with the windows cracked! What’s a hot sleeper to do on those warm summer nights?

We put together this quick guide to sheets for hot sleepers, ranked from best to worst.

The Secret to Choosing Bedding for Hot Sleepers

Our goal is to help your entire family get their best sleep.

In the summer, that means chilling out when the temperature rises.

Outside of bedding, of course you can take steps to cool the bedroom. (In fact, scroll down for tips for cooling your sleep space.)

But choosing the right sheets is critical: The material that touches your family members’ skin all night long has an enormous impact on how comfortable everyone is — and on how well you all sleep.

So, hot sleepers: Say hello to the power of evaporative cooling.

See, your body already knows how to cool itself! When you sweat and that perspiration evaporates, some of your body heat goes with it. That’s evaporative cooling, and it works best in drier, low-humidity climates. (Or in an air-conditioned space: A/C also lowers humidity, which amplifies the evaporative cooling effect.)

You just need bedding that doesn’t get in the way of your body’s natural processes.

So here are our recommendations for sheets for hot sleepers ranked from best to worst:

Best Sheets for Hot Sleepers: Percale

Percale is a tight, flat weave that feels cool to the touch, even at room temperature. It breathes well, so it supports your body’s natural evaporative cooling process and won’t retain much heat. (Because of the tight weave, percale can feel and look a bit “textured” or “crinkly.”)

We’re biased, but we love our organic percale sheet sets, organic percale crib sheets, and organic percale extra deep fitted sheet.

A detail view showing the soft texture of Oolie organic cotton sheets in natural, unbleached cotton installed on a bed.

Runner-up: Linen Sheets

Linen is also quite lightweight and, depending on the weave, can allow for lots of airflow. So linen can be great for hot sleepers. But as a practical matter, linen tends to be much more expensive as a material, and a lot fussier in terms of maintenance (as compared to, say, cotton bedding).

Good for Some: Sateen Sheets

A nice sateen weave is a good middle-of-the-road option. Sateen is soft and temperature-neutral: not as cool as percale, but not warm or hot. If you could only own a single set of sheets for year-round use, we’d recommend organic sateen sheet sets.

Detail view of the sateen fabric texture and softness, shown in the natural color of undyed and unbleached cotton.

Not Great for Most: Jersey Sheets

Jersey cotton is soft and stretchy — think like your favorite pair of sweatpants. It’s lovely to the touch, but doesn’t allow for as much airflow, so it tends to trap more heat and feel warmer than percale and sateen.

For babies, a jersey crib sheet can feel soft and snuggly, without adding too much warmth in the summer months.

A natural, interlock jersey, Oolie organic cotton crib sheet, unprinted, revealing its natural, undyed, unbleached color.

Worst Sheets for Hot Sleepers: Flannel

Flannel can be sooooo soft and cuddly, but if you’re a hot sleeper yourself, then you already know it is sooooo warm! Great for chilly winter nights, but avoid at all costs during the warmer months (unless you keep the A/C very, very cool).

That said, for your newborn, a flannel crib sheet could be a great choice — even in the summer. Some babies prefer wearing a lightweight, breathable bodysuit or sleep sack, but sleeping on a cozy, warm surface.

A natural, flannel, Oolie organic cotton crib sheet, unprinted, revealing its natural, undyed, unbleached color.

Not Recommended: Microfiber

Some people love the feel of microfibers — and no judgement if you’re one of them — but we can’t recommend them. Sheets made from synthetics or highly processed plant matter are often described as “wicking,” meaning that the textile will pull moisture away from your skin. Sounds great, right? Well, “wicking” is great when you’re working out and actively sweating, but it’s not so great if you’re hoping to capitalize on the power of evaporative cooling, when you need the air to pull away that moisture (and heat) — not your sheets. (Besides, there are environmental downsides to manufacturing synthetics, such as producing forever chemicals and microplastics that we’d rather not have in the world, let alone near our bodies.)

Tips for Cooling Your Sleep Space

Once you’ve got the right sheets, try these tips to cool your sleep space and boost the evaporative cooling effect:

  • Open a window (if your area cools off at night).
  • Put on a fan, ideally one with an oscillating movement to keep air flowing throughout the space.
  • In dry climates, swamp coolers are very effective and more energy-efficient than traditional air conditioners.
  • In other climates, use a heat pump system (if possible) for the best efficiency.
  • Otherwise, traditional air conditioners not only cool but also lower humidity, to boost the effect of evaporative cooling. 
  • Keep shades drawn during the day to block out the sun’s rays.
  • If your home has a sleeping porch, organize a “camp out” or “sleepover” for the kids.
  • Cool off using pulse points, such as by gently holding ice cubes or cooling packs on the inside of your upper arms. (Brrr! This will cool you off fast!)
  • Take a cool shower just before bed, or:
  • Wet your hair slightly before bed, and let that evaporative cooling work its magic as you drift off to sleep. 😁
  • Plant a tree! If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with large, established trees you probably know first hand that trees help regulate temperature. Invest in your kids future by enhancing the canopy in your neighborhood.

The Best Sheets for You

Choosing the right bed sheets is crucial for a good night's sleep, especially for those who tend to overheat during the night. The best sheets for hot sleepers combine breathability, support your body's natural cooling process, and provide comfort throughout the night. Ultimately, the best choice depends on your personal preferences and needs, your climate, and your home. Investing in quality bedding can make a significant difference in your sleep quality, ensuring you wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the day. 

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