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Getting great restful sleep can be a challenge. This is especially true of those who live in hot, humid environments. Sweaty sleepers have quite a few options to help them keep cool and comfy throughout the night, and silk sheet sets are one of the most popular choices.
Silk sheets can keep you cool. Silk is naturally absorbent and breathable, and these qualities may make it a worthwhile option for those seeking heat relief while sleeping. If you’re looking for a sheet fabric to reduce your body temperature at night, silk is one of your best bets.
This article will examine the qualities, characteristics, and properties of silk that help to make it a worthwhile option for hot sleepers. We’ll also explore the various features you should look for when choosing a new set of silk sheets.
How do silk sheets affect body temperature?
When a person falls asleep, their internal body temperature begins to drop.
This begs an important question: why do sleepers get unbearably hot if their body temperature decreases?
The answer is heat transfer. Almost every fabric that comes into contact with your skin absorbs and retains a little of your body’s natural heat. Some fabrics and materials absorb and hold onto this heat better than others. Memory foam, for example, is a known heat-trapping material.
So, when you lay down to get some shut-eye, your body is flooding your nearby surroundings with warmth. While some of the materials in your bed can transfer heat away from the body and release it into the surrounding air, some absorb body heat and retain it. To offset this heat transfer and help keep things cool, you can cover your mattress with naturally absorbent, breathable, and heat-reducing fabrics.
Let’s find out why silk sheets are effective at keeping sleepers sweat-free and comfortable.
Factor #1: Silk Fabric Can Absorb Sweat and Draw Moisture Away From Sleepers
Waking up drenched in sweat is not a pleasant experience, which is why many hot sleepers choose sheets that can absorb some excess sweat and help keep them dry. Fabrics that are naturally absorbent tend to work best. While cotton is infamous for being particularly absorbent, silk also absorbs moisture incredibly well.
It’s important to note that while 100% silk products can soak up and hold onto moisture, mixed silk fabrics tend to be better at wicking-away sweat. In addition, natural silk can retain body odors derived from sweat, resulting in foul-smelling sheets.
Contrary to popular belief, organic silk is not naturally antimicrobial. Processed silk products, especially mixed silk fabrics, do have antimicrobial qualities, but this is only the result of chemical treatment. So, while silk can absorb sweat and help keep sleepers dry, it can also become a haven for sweat-borne bacteria and microbes.
To keep your sheets smelling, looking, and feeling their best, it’s important to either wash them consistently or choose a silk fabric made with mixed fibers. Pure silk is also prone to staining, so you may want to choose a mixed option for the sake of hygiene, convenience, and aesthetic appeal.
Still, silk is an effective option for sweaty sleepers because it is absorbent, and staying dry is the first step to keeping cool in bed.
Factor #2: The Breathability of Silk Can Help Reduce Heat Insulation
Airflow is an important aspect to consider when trying to sleep comfortably. Sheets, blankets, and mattresses that restrict or reduce airflow can make sleepers feel hot. While heat transfer spreads heat out across surfaces or through materials, thick fabrics can actually cause the opposite to happen.
Thermal insulation occurs when heat isn’t absorbed or transferred. Think about wearing a waterproof parka or jacket on a hot, humid summer day. You’d likely feel sweaty and overheated after only a few minutes. A good deal of that heat would be trapped body heat that cannot escape the confines of the tightly-woven material.
Breathable fabrics are loose enough to allow air to pass through them. They help to reduce thermal insulation. Airflow can also facilitate evaporation.
When our bodies produce sweat, it’s in an attempt to cool off. However, sweat can only evaporate when it has access to airflow. Consequently, sweaty sleepers can find the greatest amount of relief by choosing breathable fabrics.
Silk is porous enough to allow air to pass through it, allowing sweat to evaporate and the skin to cool.
The Verdict: Silk Sheets Can Help Keep Hot Sleepers Stay Cool
Natural silk sheets and mixed fabric silk sheets are both capable of reducing nighttime discomfort caused by heat. Silk can absorb moisture to help keep sleepers dry, and it is also breathable enough to allow sweat to evaporate.
Still, not all silk sheets are made equally, and some may be better at cooling than others. Keeping an eye out for specific features can help you to find the most effective cooling silk sheet set.
Features to Look For In Cooling Silk Sheets
There are several crucial features to look for when choosing a new set of silk sheets. The first thing that most buyers will want to decide is whether to invest in 100% pure silk fabric, or a silky synthetic blend. However, thread count and washability are also essential factors to consider.
While all-natural silk does a pretty good job at absorbing sweat, transferring heat away from the body, and breathing, synthetic materials or silk blends tend to accomplish these feats more effectively.
Most silk blends have all of the prized qualities of silk but without many of its drawbacks. If you’re seeking a super-cooling sheet set with a silky smooth finish, a blend may be the best option.
Low Thread Count
Thread count refers to the number of threads contained within a single square inch of fabric. The lower the thread count, the more breathable a set of sheets will be, and vice versa. While sheet sets with high thread counts are attractive because of their durability, they can also increase thermal insulation.
The most breathable cooling silk sheets are those that have thread counts of about 300. Any less and the integrity of the fabric may be compromised. Any more and the airflow of the sheets is dramatically decreased. Finding a balance between quality and breathability is one of the greatest challenges, but understanding thread count can help.
Ability to Machine Wash
Most silk items must be hand-washed, which can become a significant problem for hot sleepers. Those who tend to wake-up sweaty also tend to wash their linens more regularly, and washing a queen-sized set of sheets by hand every other day is not a practical option.
Be sure to find a silk sheet set that is machine washable. There are several silk blends that work well in standard washing machines, but organic silk sheets tend to be a bit trickier. If you want to skip the tiresome hand washing routine, be sure to check out silk sheets with synthetic materials.
Silk sheets made with several natural fibers, like cotton and bamboo, are also a fantastic option.
Silk sheets can provide ample cooling comfort for hot sleepers.
Silk is naturally absorbent, and it’s breathable. These qualities help silk to reduce heat build-up and increase airflow, resulting in a cooler and more restful night’s sleep. Pure silk is less effective at decreasing heat, but synthetic blends or mixed silk fabrics that contain cotton, eucalyptus, or bamboo can significantly increase cooling effects.
If you’re searching for a quality set of silk sheets, it’s important to consider a few key factors. Materials, thread count, and machine washability are all essential aspects to keep in mind before making a final purchase. Using the information in this article, you can decide whether silk sheets are right for you.
- HowStuffWorks: What does thread count really mean?
- NCBI: Facts and myths of antibacterial properties of silk
- SciELO: A study on the functional properties of silk and polyester / lyocell mixed fabric
- Sciencing: How Does Evaporation Cause Cooling?
- The Laundress: Washing Silk at Home
- Textile Learner: Characteristics of Silk Fabrics
- Wikipedia: Heat Transfer
- Wikipedia: Thermal Insulation