Almost two-thirds of people in Britain struggle to fall asleep, and 60% of Brits also say they aren’t content with their current sleep cycle. Sleep affects many aspects of your body, such as brain functionality and development, hormonal balance and emotional stability. A bad night’s sleep can set you up for a bad day, so giving yourself the best chance possible is important.
James Higgins, CEO of Ethical Bedding, the UK’s only BCorp-accredited sustainable bedding company, provides his insights into which bedding fabrics are best for your sleep style and how different materials can affect your ability to get a good night’s sleep, including tips on bedding hygiene.
Eucalyptus is best for light sleepers
Light sleepers tend to have their sleep interrupted by factors outside their control, such as the noise of cars passing or a family member in the hallway. When you’re a light sleeper, you are sensitive to noise, light and touch, so fabrics such as polyester are not recommended, as it has a rougher texture and stiffer makeup, which can irritate the skin easily. On the other hand, eucalyptus bedding is perfect as it’s very soft and naturally hypoallergenic whilst also being temperature regulating and breathable fabric, ensuring you stay comfortable all year round.
Bamboo is best for hot sleepers
Hot sleepers pull the sheets off through the night and become restless when the duvet covers become slightly warmer. If you’re naturally a hot sleeper, you will want to avoid bedding made from flannel, fleece or cotton sateen. These materials retain heat for longer periods; they aren’t ideal for those who like to stay cool. Bamboo bed sheets, on the other hand, are cool to the touch and very breathable; they pull the moisture away from the body into the fibres of your bedding so you can stay cool throughout the night.
Cotton is best for cold sleepers
For those who wake up in the middle of the night wishing they had worn thicker pyjamas, being a cold sleeper means using fabrics that retain the heat under the duvet for longer. Usually, heavy-weight cotton or fleece is your best option if you are a cold sleeper. These materials are great for retaining heat and moisture; adding a fluffy comforter is also good. Stay away from linen as it contains a loose knit weave allowing large spaces for air to flow through.
Silk is best for restless sleepers
If you find yourself tossing and turning, waking up multiple times throughout the night, you are most likely a restless sleeper. Silk bedding is perfect for restless sleepers as it’s a lightweight, hypoallergenic, calming fabric that avoids skin irritation. The temperature-regulating properties of silk also mean you don’t have to worry about being too hot or cold throughout the year. It’s best to avoid fabrics like polyester, which can be scratchier on the skin.
Microfiber is best for animal lovers
If you love to sleep with your pets close by, ensure you have the right fabric to avoid pet hair sticking to your duvet covers. Microfiber is the ideal fabric when you have pets in the bedroom. As a tightly woven and silky material, a simple shake of the sheets will slip off when animal hair gets on the bed. Flannel is, however, not recommended as it is extremely clingy and requires a lot of maintenance.
How bedding hygiene can affect your brain
Bedding quickly gets dirty by absorbing the body’s natural oils, fluids and sweat. However, James also explains how washing your bedding regularly can affect how quickly you fall asleep and the quality of your rest. We spend around 8 hours a day in close contact with our bedsheets. That’s eight hours of sweating, tossing and turning, and drooling that your bedsheets put up with each night. We recommend that you wash your sheets weekly, as the build-up of bacteria and smells can affect your ability to have a good night’s sleep.
In the early stages of our sleep, our circadian rhythms (body rhythm) are still very much ticking, and our sense of smell is performing at its usual rate. If your sheets are beginning to have an unpleasant smell, your brain can become irritated and keep you from settling down and becoming sleepy, so it’s important to maintain that fresh scent for other than just hygiene reasons. Itchiness from unclean sheets can also be a physical blocker to getting your good night’s rest. We become restless and move around more than usual when we feel skin irritation. This keeps our mind stimulated and stops it from switching off as we focus on staying awake to resolve an issue rather than calming down and falling into a slumber.