Sheets affect your sleep more than you know—from rubbing against your skin to trapping and releasing heat. So these protective, rectangular pieces of cloth should be designed with your comfort in mind, but this isn’t always the case. Low-quality weaves as well as man-made fabrics can trap heat during the night, leaving you damp and shivering. Cooling sheets, in contrast, are engineered to absorb and dissipate heat, regulate your body temperature, and create a healthy environment for deep, undisturbed slumber. Paired with a cooling mattress, our top recommendations should keep you rested and renewed all year long.
- BEST OVERALL: California Design Den 800 Thread Count Sateen Sheets
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: CGK Unlimited Extra Deep Pocket Sheets
- BEST COTTON: Threadmill Home Linen 600 Thread Count Queen Size Set
- BEST LINEN: DAPU Pure Stone Washed Linen Sheet Set
- BEST BAMBOO: BAMPURE 100% Organic Bamboo Sheets
- BEST TENCEL: Sijo Premium 100% Austrian Eucalyptus Lyocell Tencel Sheet Set
- BEST MICROFIBER: Starcast Bed Sheet Set
Popular Types of Cooling Sheets
It’s not easy choosing sheets. They’ll be close to your body every night, so this purchase deserves careful selection. Many sheet sets claim cooling properties, but don’t deliver in practice. Knowing your materials is key to selecting the best cooling sheets for you and your family.
When it comes to sheets, you may first think of cotton. This natural fiber is excellent at keeping you fresh and cool, but quality definitely counts. Upland cotton has short staple fibers and is used to make the majority of cotton products. But, for sheets, the superior choice is long or extra-long staple fiber cotton. Staple refers to the length and strength of each individual cotton fiber. Plus, the longer the staple the softer it will feel.
Extra-long staple cotton is further divided into Pima and Egyptian varieties. Pima originates in the U.S., while the real Egyptian cotton comes from the Nile Valley region of Egypt. That said, because Egyptian cotton is so desirable, it is a term that brands often use to imply quality fabric, though it may not necessarily originate in Egypt. So if your sheets say “Egyptian cotton,” do the “touch test” and see whether they are really smooth and silky enough to deserve that name.
Like cotton, linen is all natural and renowned for its cooling, moisture-evaporation properties. Linen threads are woven from flax plants grown in various regions famous for flax and linen production. The phrases “French linen,” “Belgian linen,” or “Belgian flax” often appear on sheet labels and product descriptions. Only “Belgian Linen” is trademarked by the Belgian Flax & Linen Association, certifying that it is grown and woven in Belgium. French and Belgian flax simply signifies that the flax was grown in those countries. It is often woven and manufactured in China or elsewhere.
Known for its silky smoothness, especially when compared to cotton and linen, bamboo is an all-natural fiber that is growing in popularity. Due to a faster growing season and production methods that tend to be more sustainable and eco-friendly than those conventionally used with cotton and flax, bamboo is swiftly catching on as the all-natural sheet material of choice. Its cooling properties are also considerable. According to brand research, bamboo is almost twice as absorbent as cotton, smoother to touch, and longer lasting. Bamboo sheets can also be more expensive than cotton and microfiber, but the investment may be worth the price.
Tencel, which is fabricated from sustainably-sourced and responsibly-processed natural raw wood, is the only branded fiber where sheets are concerned. The raw wood material is manufactured into modal fibers that are ultra-silky and luxurious. In addition to sheets, Tencel is also used in many designer clothes. The main benefit of Tencel is its lush feel, which is smoother than cotton or linen, making it especially ideal for those with skin sensitivities. It is also one of the more expensive fabrics for sheets, but is competitive with cotton, linen, and bamboo when it comes to cooling properties and supreme comfort.
When it comes to microfiber, read the fine print. Many affordable sheet sets are made of microfiber, which means extremely dense, microscopic polyester fibers. Known for its amazing cleaning properties, microfiber can also make soft and comfortable sheets. However, many people find microfiber to be warm and clingy. Certain brands are attempting to boost microfiber’s cooling properties by using thinner, more breathable weaves. However, microfiber is best as an inexpensive alternative to cotton, with the added bonus that it may wrinkle less in the wash.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Cooling Sheets
Your own likes and dislikes are essential when buying sheets. Texture makes a big difference, so consider whether you like silky smooth, soft and velvety, or woven and airy. Whatever material you choose, it’s important to make sure the fabric is high quality and produced with high manufacturing standards and low toxicity. After all, it’s your health and wellbeing we’re talking about.
Breathability: Natural versus Synthetic
Natural fibers are the gold standard for moisture-wicking fabrics: cotton, linen, bamboo, and wood-based Tencel. Artificial fibers like polyester-based microfiber simply don’t have the same chemical structure and biological properties that make plants so good at regulating their own temperature—and ours. That said, humans are ingenious at mimicking the effects of natural moisture-wicking, so don’t write off artificial fabrics altogether. When choosing microfiber sheets, look for lightweight and double-brushed fabric, meaning it is finished on both sides.
Quality and Texture
Thread count is one signifier of quality where sheets are concerned. A note of caution when shopping; be on alert against super-high thread counts of 1,000 or more as this typically signals that sheets are blended with artificial fibers.
- For cotton sheets, aim for a thread count of at least 400 for decent softness and wrinkle resistance. The sweet spot is anywhere from 600 to 800 thread count.
- Due to the extra thickness of linen fibers, thread count for linen sheets is lower than cotton. High-quality linen sheets should have a thread count between 80 and 150.
- For bamboo and Tencel, look for a thread count of about 300 or up.
- Microfiber bedding boasts the highest thread count and can be upwards of 1000 or more. Again, this doesn’t necessarily signal quality, but it is an indicator of softness.
When it comes to texture, if you like your sheets silky smooth, go for higher thread count cotton, bamboo, or Tencel fabrics. Linen sheets, even stonewashed varieties, tend to be more textured and rougher when new. However, they soften after multiple washes and can grow more comfortable over time. Microfiber is very soft, dense, and slightly velvety to the touch. However, some people don’t like the tendency of microfiber to catch on nails and skin.
Size and Fit
Sheets, like mattresses, come in standard sizes: twin, full, queen, king, and California king. Extra long sizes may also be available. For deep mattresses, look for deep-pocket fitted sheets, with a snug elastic band all the way around the bottom, so that your sheet won’t shift and stretch out. Top sheets should fully cover the top of the mattress with about an extra foot on each side. Most sheet sets come with two pillowcases, though some contain four. The best sheet sets provide a crisp, tailored fit without being overly tight or baggy. They should also hold up to years of washing and light tumble drying without falling apart or fading significantly.
Health and Sustainability
When buying sheets, one helpful rule of thumb is to look for Standard 100 Oeko-Tex certification, wherever possible. This global entity certifies materials against harmful substances and ensures environmental practices are used in the manufacturing process. Not all high-quality sheets have this certification, but if health and sustainability are concerns of yours, keep it in mind.
When selecting all-natural fibers, especially cotton and linen, choose sustainably-sourced, organic materials when possible. This provides a level of reassurance that crops are cultivated and fibers are woven with fewer pesticides, toxins, and artificial dyes and chemicals. This is important for reducing harm to the environment, but is equally important in reducing allergens and carcinogens from entering your home and body.
Our Top Picks
A cool night’s sleep was never easier. These recommendations are based on quality materials, non-toxic manufacturing, precise fit, and attention to detail. Most importantly, these sheets are woven from fabrics intended to breathe, release moisture, and regulate body temperature all through the night.
The material of California Design Den sheets holds up to scrutiny. Made of 100 percent extra- long staple cotton, these 800-thread-count, sateen sheets are heavy enough to feel luxurious, and light enough to keep you cool all night long. Each set comes with a flat and fitted sheet, plus two pillow cases. The deep-pocket fitted sheet contains an 18 mm elastic border that locks in place to ensure a perfect fit, also making it suitable for tall mattresses.
The sheets should stay soft, wash after wash. But, to prevent wrinkles, make sure you pop your wet sheets into the dryer immediately. Woven from cotton fabric deemed free from harmful substances and certified Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex, choose from 17 luxe colors in sizes ranging from twin to California king. In summary, California Design Den sheets are beautiful, breathable, and made to last.
It’s surprisingly hard to find microfiber sheets that stand the test of time and meet the “cooling” requirement, which is why CGK Unlimited Extra Deep Pocket Sheets are a great find. Made of 100 percent polyester microfiber, they are ultra-durable but also lightweight. This ensures that sleepers won’t get sweaty, which can be a problem with other microfiber sheets.
Designed with extra deep pockets to fit any mattress from 18 to 24 inches deep, the elastic fitted sheet fits snugly and will stay in place. As a bonus, each set comes with four pillowcases in total (two more than usual), letting you swap out pillowcases for a midweek refresh. These sheets are softer than cotton and ideal for folks with allergies and skin sensitivities.
These sheets may just have it all. Sustainable craftsmanship and breathable quality are Threadmill’s aim, and they deliver. These sheets are made of 100 percent extra long staple cotton with a 600 thread count. The fabric is Oeko Tex certified and free of harmful chemicals. Their factory is entirely powered by solar and wind energy, and no plastics are used in the packaging.
Beyond eco-friendliness, these sheets are beautifully made. Woven from the finest cotton, the finish has a soft luster that will stand up to daily use and washing, if you refrain from using bleach. Each set includes a flat sheet, a deep pocket fitted sheet for mattresses up to 16 inches thick, and two pillow cases. The set comes in 16 solid colors as well as damask stripes. Available in sizes from twin to California king, these sheets will keep you snug yet cool, night after night, for years to come.
With 100 percent French linen and a 108-thread count, the pedigree of this set is outstanding. Dapu sheets are harvested in an environmentally-friendly fashion from the flax fields of Normany. The fabric is certified Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex and stonewashed for softness and that comfortable, broken-in feel. The fitted sheets are extra deep and have 360-degree elastic edging.
Sizes twin through king are available in six chic colors, with extra pillowcases offered separately in both natural and off-white. The highly-competitive price is less expensive than other French linen brands. Dapu all-natural sheets will keep you fresh, thanks to premium-grade French linen, renowned for its cooling properties.
Better for the environment and designed for a good night’s sleep, Bampure sheets are 100 percent organic bamboo viscose. They are chemical-free and Oeko-Tex certified, assuring high manufacturing standards. Bampure sheets are odor resistant, which may help reduce how frequently they need washed.
While these sheets will keep you cool in the summer, they’re just as good for the winter, thanks to natural fibers that provide insulation without trapping moisture. Their soft, sateen weave feels luxurious, like silk or the highest thread count cotton. Each six piece, deep pocket set comes with a flat sheet, a fitted sheet for mattresses up to 16 inches thick, plus four pillowcases. Choose from 12 rich hues.
If you love sleeping on the purest of sheets, Sijo’s 100 percent Austrian Eucalyptus Tencel sheets are grown and manufactured with fewer chemicals than organic cotton, rayon, or even eco-friendly bamboo. The fabric is certified Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex, and the eucalyptus is sourced from forests certified for sustainable practices by the Forest Stewardship Council. According to brand tests, tencel absorbs and evaporates 70 percent more moisture than cotton in a controlled environment, so no more night sweats or shivers.
Sijo’s sheets come in three or four piece sets (with or without a flat sheet) in sizes from full to California king. Softer than silk, cooler than linen, and easy to care for, choose from seven all-natural hues, and upgrade your sleeping experience for good.
Some microfiber sheets can feel artificial and cheap. Not these. Made of the highest quality microfiber, Starcast’s fabric is designed to be even softer and more breathable than cotton. Proof is in the double-brushed weave, which ensures both sides of the fabric are equally soft and skin friendly. The microscopic threads release heat in the summer and retain heat in the winter.
Each set contains a deep pocket fitted sheet for mattresses up to 15 inches thick as well as a flat sheet and two pillowcases. Sizes range from twin to king. Resistant to stains, wrinkles, pilling, shrinkage, fading, allergies, and more, Starcast sheets come in five bold colors, at a price that will let you rest easy.
FAQs About Your New Cooling Sheets
Still on the fence about which sheets to buy? These answers may help you decide.
Q. What makes bed sheets feel cool?
The type of fabric and its weave make the biggest impact on breathability and temperature regulation, leading to the feeling of cool comfort. Natural fibers tend to have optimal cooling properties.
Q. What are moisture-wicking sheets?
Sweating at night is common. Moisture-wicking sheets are made with fabric that is able to absorb and evaporate moisture, leaving your skin dry.
Q. Does a higher thread count make sheets hotter?
Not necessarily. Higher thread count signifies smoothness and can be a measure of quality for natural fibers. You should only be cautious of ultra-high thread counts of 1,000 or more, which often signal dense, man-made materials.