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Better Summer Bedding: Tips And Trips For Sleeping Well In Warm Weather

We’re coming up on the hottest part of summer, and if you haven’t been feeling it already, you might find yourself struggling to get a good night’s sleep as temperatures start to rise. Even if you have air conditioning (and especially if you don’t!) one of the best ways to beat the heat is to swap out your bedding. Lightweight, breathable fabrics and filling material might not look much different than what you’ve been using to stay warm in the winter, but they’ll make a world of difference when you’re trying to get some shuteye.

Upgrade To Light, Breathable Natural Sheets

Sheets and pillowcases made with natural fibers like cotton, linen, and silk not only feel nice and smooth on your skin, but can help keep you cooler in warm weather (by Brian Dittmar Design, Inc.)
Sheets and pillowcases made with natural fibers like cotton, linen, and silk not only feel nice and smooth on your skin, but can help keep you cooler in warm weather (by Brian Dittmar Design, Inc.)

Shop Sheets and Sheet Sets:

The simplest swap you can make to improve your summer sleeping situation is to replace whatever sheets you have on your bed currently with ones made of a light natural fiber, like cotton, linen, or silk. While synthetic fabrics are fine for more moderate temperatures (and heavy flannels are great for cold weather), when the mercury really starts to rise, you want sheets that are going to help cool you down rather than trapping heat. Natural fiber fabrics do that in two ways: first by allowing more air to pass through their knit, and second by wicking away heat and moisture, which means your own body heat isn’t working against you, and you won’t spend the night stewing in your own sweat.

Ditch The Heavy Bedding Layers And Opt For A Lightweight Knit Blanket

Sleeping with nothing more than a sheet and thin blanket might look a little bare bones, but it's one of the best ways to keep cool on a blistering summer night (by DHD Architecture and Interior Design)
Sleeping with nothing more than a sheet and thin blanket might look a little bare bones, but it’s one of the best ways to keep cool on a blistering summer night (by DHD Architecture and Interior Design)

Shop Blankets:

Next, if you haven’t already don it, it’s probably time to ditch most of the layers on your bed as well. In cold weather, the more layers you have the better, and in summer the reverse is true: you’ve got to shed those thick heavy comforters, blankets, quilts, or duvets that are designed specifically to trap heat. Instead, look for natural fiber blankets with a loose knit or weave – I’m talking visible holes to ensure you’re getting some air touching your skin. As with natural fiber sheets, light blankets are a natural choice for your summer bedding because they allow you to get all snuggled up without leaving you to boil alive on a hot night.

If You Need Heavy Layers To Sleep, Choose Them Carefully

A down comforter might sound like the last thing you want in the hottest part of summer, but lightweight ones breathe well while still giving you the heft of a real top layer of bedding (by ATELIER RAUMFRAGEN)
A down comforter might sound like the last thing you want in the hottest part of summer, but lightweight ones breathe well while still giving you the heft of a real top layer of bedding (by ATELIER RAUMFRAGEN)

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If you’re like me and sleep better under a lot of weight, chances are the idea of stripping your bed down to nothing but a sheet and blanket sounds pretty terrible. Unfortunately as a rule of thumb, blankets that are heavier keep you warmer, because they trap heat better. If a weighty top layer is an absolute must, look for a duvet or comforter with a light, natural filling. Once again, these will breathe just a little bit better than ones with a synthetic fill, because they won’t be compounding the heat trapped under them quite as badly. Maybe surprisingly, lightweight down comforter or duvet is actually a good option for summer, because all that air that allows them to trap heat in winter makes them lighter and more breathable in hot weather.

Seriously, Buy Yourself Some Summer Pillows

Changing out your bedding has a more obvious impact, but having the right pillows for summer weather can also help you beat the heat (by Jackie Glass Inc.)
Changing out your bedding has a more obvious impact, but having the right pillows for summer weather can also help you beat the heat (by Jackie Glass Inc.)

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The same goes for your pillows. We all know the pure pleasure of flipping a pillow over to put your hot face on a cool surface in the dead of summer, but you might not realize that some pillows will keep your head cooler than others. Again, down or lightweight down are very breathable, while a natural-fiber pillowcase (especially a silk one!) will feel smooth and cool on your skin and help regulate your temperature throughout the night.

To Combat Late-Night Chills, Supplement Your Summer Bedding With A Bed Scarf

Having a lightweight knit bed scarf is a great way to add a fun accent to your bed set and provide a little extra warmth when you need it that won't get in the way when you don't (by Reed Design Group)
Having a lightweight knit bed scarf is a great way to add a fun accent to your bed set and provide a little extra warmth when you need it that won’t get in the way when you don’t (by Reed Design Group)

If you live somewhere that has highly variable day-to-night temperature changes, sleeping under nothing but a thin sheet might sound great when you crawl into bed (and when you wake up in the morning), but a lot less appealing in the middle of the night when the temperature starts to drop. The same goes for people whose air conditioners tend to “catch up” with the weather around midnight, giving you a few hours that are just a few degrees too cool. The solution? Accessorize. A throw blanket or bed scarf that lives at the foot of your bed is not only a stylish, trendy touch, but also a convenient spot to tuck your toes if they get cold, or an easy way to add an extra blanket if the night ends up chillier than it started.

Put Dark Colored Bedding And Heavy Fabrics In Storage For Summer

Swapping to lighter and brighter linens can help make your space feel more summery, so when you're shopping for warm weather linens, think about style as well as material (by William Lyon Homes)
Swapping to lighter and brighter linens can help make your space feel more summery, so when you’re shopping for warm weather linens, think about style as well as material (by William Lyon Homes)

Shop Quilts:

While it might not really help you beat the heat, now is also a good time of year to switch to lighter colored linens as well. The “wear light clothing to reflect sunlight” rule doesn’t really apply to the inside of a bedroom, but linens in light, bright, summery colors can make your space seem airier and more inviting (especially if you’re keeping the blinds closed to block out daytime heat). All-white bedding is a popular option both because it makes your bed feel like a swanky cabana bed, and for one slightly less appealing reason: you can bleach it to get it back to 100% fresh and clean, which matters a little more during months of beach trips, bug bites, grass stains, and sweaty nights. To be fair, this switch is mostly aesthetic, but an easy one to make if you’re already opting for different fabrics, and a good way to make a minimalist summer bedding set feel stylish and appealing.