Is there anything more comforting than waking up on a chilly winter weekend morning while feeling warm and cozy, all curled up in your bed? You can thank your bedding for keeping you toasty while you debate vacating your happy place for eggs and toast.
When you start to feel a brisk fall breeze or a frosty nip in the air, it may be time to swap out your cool summer bedding for sheets more suited to the dropping temps. But how exactly do you choose the best sheets for cold weather?
There are many factors involved in creating the perfect bed sheet—including weight, thread count, material, and finish. These elements all work together, resulting in a softest bedsheet material. The right set of bed sheets can keep you warm and cozy through the cold night without any middle-of-the-night wake-ups from temperature fluctuation.
When choosing bed sheets for cold weather, you first need to consider how they are made and what materials are used. Let’s start by going through some of the most popular sheet materials and see how they weigh in when it comes to warmth.
Cotton is the base material for many types of sheets and bedding, with the organic cotton source location, weave type, and thread count determining the classification. Some types of bed sheets typically made with cotton include brushed cotton, jersey, and cotton flannel.
Brushed cotton sheets are not quite flannel because they are only napped on one side, but they give cotton an extra level of softness and warmth.
Meanwhile, flannel sheets are the warmest option for your winter bed. The double-napped fabric makes flannel sheets extra fluffy and helps to contain heat to keep you toasty all through the winter night.
Synonymous with luxury, a silk sheet is made from the threads of the silkworm. The highest quality of silk is mulberry silk, which—like the name suggests—is created from threads of silkworms that are fed mulberry leaves.
Even if you’re not looking for a whole bed of silk, a silk pillowcase can offer a soft and luxurious place to rest your head. While some claim silk sheets can be excellent for temperature control all around, they tend to be a bit more breathable—meaning they might not trap in warmth quite as well as a flannel cotton sheet.1
Thus, although silk evokes feelings of luxury and sophistication, the smooth, satin-weave sheets are also often the most expensive—and while they are great for keeping cool, they aren’t the most ideal for the depths of a winter night.
Tencel™ Lyocell is an eco-friendly branded fabric engineered from recycled wood from trees like eucalyptus that makes for a lightweight, soft, and hypoallergenic material. In bed sheet form, the fabric is a moisture-wicking superstar which helps to keep you cool and your body temperature consistent through the night.
Tencel™ sheets are perfect for sleepers who run hot due to their moisture-wicking qualities from body heat. They aren’t necessarily the warmest sheet option, but if you’re a hot sleeper, they may be a good choice for your winter bedding.
Synthetic sheets like polyester are usually a solid budget-friendly option. They aren’t the best at regulating body temperature (cue night sweats), but they are highly wrinkle-resistant and hold up well in the wash. You’ll sometimes find polyester sheets labeled as microfiber or in a poly-cotton blend, which can be a good alternative if you’re on a budget.
If you tend to overheat, however, note that polyester is the opposite of its luxurious counterpart, silk—it might trap you in too much of that hot air rather than keep you too cool.
So, which material tops the list of the best sheets for winter? When it comes to warmth, nothing beats the soft, gentle fluff of flannel and flannelette. Synonymous with the cooler months, flannel sheets are a fabric staple in the wardrobe and the bedroom, and for a good reason. The fluffy fuzz of flannel makes little air pockets that retain body heat to keep you extra warm, and the soft furriness gives you the feeling of ultimate comfort.
If you’re looking for the warmest, softest, coziest sheet to keep you extra toasty during the deep freeze, flannel and flannelette are, therefore, your best bet. However, consider your individual sleep needs when it comes to choosing your bedding. A hot sleeper won’t need as much in the way of heat conservation as a cool sleeper, for example. For you, a middle-road option like brushed cotton or silk might help to achieve a balance of warmth and comfort.
Aside from the sheet’s material, you’ll also see thread count listed on most bed sheet packages. Thread count refers to the number of threads used in the fabric weave per square inch and can range anywhere from 100 to 800 and above. Generally speaking, the higher the thread count, the better the sheet quality—but this isn’t necessarily always the case.
When it comes to sheet suppleness and breathability, a higher thread count may actually be detrimental by making the material unnecessarily thick and stiff. According to some sleep experts, a too-high thread count could also end up leaving you uncomfortably toasty rather than pleasantly warm.2
Instead of aiming for the top, look for a thread count somewhere in the middle. Along with the fabric type, this can help you reach a perfect balance of cozy warmth during winter months.
Another factor to consider when looking for the best warm sheets for winter is how they hold up to wash, wear, and tear so they can keep you toasty all season long. After all, for those warm bed sheets to keep your toes comfortable when the snow piles up outside, it’s important to them to avoid any snags, tears, or frays, too.
If you’re not a fan of taking special care when it comes to laundry, you may want to skip the silk and choose warm sheets that are relatively easy to wash and dry, like cotton.
Just like when you dress in layers for seasonal weather, you should dress your bed in layers during the cooler months. Now that you know all about the ideal warm bed sheets for winter, top your cozy sheets with an extra fluffy duvet or crinkle coverlet blanket (or both) for ultimate warmth.
It may be tempting to snuggle up under the biggest, bulkiest comforter you can find, but layers—including your sheets—are the key to achieving warmth in the winter. That’s because temperatures tend to fluctuate inside and out, and you can easily shed (or add) bedding layers to accommodate any sunny days or snowfalls.
Here are some layers to consider for warmth:
The most important part of layering your bedding is staying warm enough for a deep, restful sleep without waking up from overheating. With these layers, you can find the right balance while giving yourself some wiggle room.
Our final tip on winterproofing your winter bedding? Do what works for you. If flannel sheets make you overheat, but you sleep extra smooth on silk, go for it. Likewise, if your partner overheats but you find yourself reaching for that throw blanket, aim for flexible bedding. Two twin-sized duvets instead of one queen can allow each of you to shed layers as needed without relying on the other to agree.
Either way, you’ll be sure to brush off the cold with cozy bedding that will make you forget all about the snowy tundra outside your window. Whether you prefer brushed cotton or cozy flannel, when paired with the right mattress and sleep accessories, you’ll be toasty while you drift into dreamland from your head to your toes.
At Casper, we’re focused on building a brighter world through innovative sleep products that encourage more productive and restful sleep. From comfortable mattresses to warm and cozy sheets, we can help you build the bed of your dreams.