There are a number of external factors that influence our quality of sleep, such as ambient sounds, blue light from electronics and disruptive sleep partners. Temperature also plays a large role in our ability to not only fall asleep, but to stay asleep.
According to Christina Graham, a Noom coach with experience in sleep education, a drop in body temperature is necessary for us to move into the deeper stages of sleep.
“Our body temperature begins to drop about two hours before bedtime, coinciding with the release of the sleep hormone melatonin,” she said. “Our core temperature drops throughout the night and then slowly rises towards the morning as we wake.”
Graham said that because of this, higher core temperature spikes, caused by the environment or otherwise, can lead to restless sleep patterns and a delayed approach to both slow-wave and REM sleep.
If you find yourself feeling too hot to fall asleep or waking up frequently throughout the night, Graham said you may want to consider whether your bedding is making a negative impact on your body temperature. If so, silk sheets might be a good option.
“Silk sheets are thought to be ideal for promoting sleep since silk fibers are breathable and have low conductivity, which allows our bodies to regulate the core temperature in warm and cool environments. Silk is also known to wick moisture away from the body, which can keep us cool and dry,” she said.
And if you’re allergy prone, they’re good for that, too. Dr. Jyoti Matta, director of the Center for Sleep Disorders at Jersey City Medical Center, explained that silk is a hypoallergenic material that doesn’t trap dust, potentially promoting improved breathing.
That being said, Jonathon Reckles, a fabric-cleaning service expert with CD One Price Dry Cleaners, pointed out that silk sheets are often an investment and may be more difficult to care for compared to cotton or linen bedding.
“The fabric in silk pillowcases is weak and easily damaged when wet, so either use the delicate cycle in the washing machine or hand wash without squeezing or wringing,” Reckles said. “If washing alone, warm water can be used. We recommend up to 120 degrees, and we also recommend an air-dry or at least low temperature drying in a dryer.”
When shopping for silk sheets, Graham said it’s important not to confuse silk with satin, a cheaper alternative which, although it may feel cool to the touch like silk, is composed of a man-made fiber weave which can trap heat, making it harder to drop your body temperature.
″The American Sleep Association recommends searching for a 100% Mulberry silk sheet with a 15 momme or above rating. The higher the momme, the stronger and more durable the weave,” Graham said.
Also, because chemicals may be added to silk fibers in the dying process or promote antimicrobial properties, Graham suggested that you may want to look for the Oek-Tex standard certification, since Oek-Tex is an independent service that verifies healthy environmental standards in textiles.
As warmer weather is fast approaching, hot and sweaty sleep may be on the rise. To sleep cooler and more comfortably, shop this list of Oek-Tex certified silk bedding, 100% Mulberry silk sheets with assorted momme ratings and even cooling natural silk alternatives that are less expensive and lower maintenance.
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