Athletes need seasonal sheets

You’ll sleep better if you dress your bed for the weather changes.

Having an evening regimen, the right pillow, and even an adult bedtime story help athletes sleep soundly, which can translate to improved performance in the gym. But if you’ve already tried these tips and still toss and turn, the solution might be something you haven’t: seasonal bedding.

In order to achieve ideal and deep sleep, setting the stage for your circadian rhythm—your body’s internal clock that’s controlled by temperature, light, and darkness—to work its sleep-inducing magic is key, says Courtney Bancroft, Psy.D., a clinical health psychologist and insomnia specialist in New York City. “One way to do this is by adjusting your sheet fabric.”

Individual sets for summer and winter and a third set for fall/spring should set you up for comfortable sleep year-round. Below, a breakdown of top fabrics and brands, plus how to care for your new (bed) threads.

To keep your new sheets in peak condition, give them a pre-wash which removes extra starches and finishes that build up during the production process. And once you’re enjoying them, remember that your sheets need frequent washing, too: “Laundering sheets weekly is important to eliminate dust mites, body oils, pet hair, and other things that accumulate,” says Patrice George, associate professor of textile development and marketing at the Fashion Institute for Technology (FIT).

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    If you thought linen was only good for curtains, napkins, and summer shirts, it’s time you brought this lightweight fabric into the bedroom: With its ropy yet light texture, linen is breathable, durable, and will keep you coolest in the summer. Sheets that are 100 percent linen are extra absorbent making them perfect for weather conditions in when we sweat the most, says George; a satiny Supima cotton is a good second choice.

    Sets to try:

    Santiago Linen Sheets
    by Libeco

    Purity Doppio Ajour Linen Sheet Set by Frette

    Stonewashed Belgian Linen Bedding by RH, Restoration Hardware

    White Bedford Satin Sheeting by Ralph Lauren

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    For the two seasons in which temperature changes are most volatile, percale weave—a tightly-woven, medium-weight fabric—sheets made from Supima cotton are your top choice. “Percale sheets in a thread count between 180 and 300 allow your body to regulate its temperature and really get into that comfortable zone where you can get a deep sleep,” says Jimmy MacDonald, co-founder of Authenticity 50, an online bedding retailer, says. And since fewer yarns are left exposed during the weaving process, pilling happens less frequently so these sheets will last you longer than others, adds George. 

    Sets to try:

    M’ama non M’ama by Pratesi

    Giza 45 Percale Collection by Ferra

    Signature Sheets by Authenticity 50

    Etcetera Embroidered sheets by D Porthault

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    “Flannel works great for the wintertime,” MacDonald says. “If you’re in a cold region it’s nice to have that warmth.” To keeps things a little cooler if you tend to heat up at night, use a percale fitted sheet and pillowcases with a flannel topsheet (or vice versa); you’ll get less pilling and better temperature regulation.

    Set to try:

    Glacier Park Flannel sheets by Pendleton

    Cloud Brushed Flannel sheets by Coyuchi

    Supima Flannel sheets by LL Bean

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