Bedding materials to avoid – 5 fabrics that may be harming your sleep

Materials in the bedroom matter more than any other room in the home – these are the ones the experts urge against

A grey bed with cushions in neutral greys and beiges in front of two large wall lights
(Image credit: Future / Jonathan Gooch)

The relationship between the right bedding and a peaceful slumber is evident – but part of finding the best bed sheets involves knowing which ones to avoid

If you find yourself feeling consistently too hot overnight, or you're looking for expert-approved ways to sleep better, you may be looking to change your bed linen. And while there is a lot of research around what bedding material is best, the materials to avoid are slightly less-explored. Though, they are equally as important. 

Therefore, we asked sleep experts for the five bedding materials that are usually best to avoid – so you can shop for the best luxury bedding of your dreams. 

5 bedding materials to avoid – according to sleep experts

If you're looking to improve your sleep, knowing the best places to buy bedding and the bed sheet colors to avoid are great places to begin. 

These are the options the experts steer clear of – but if you sleep well with this bedding, there is no need to reverse your bedroom ideas. However, if you're looking for ways to fall asleep faster (and sleep for longer), it may be worth considering a change. 

1. Nylon

bedroom with checked headboard

(Image credit: Future/Polly Eltes)

Nylon may be well-known for its durability, but the positives behind this silk-like material mean it is actually unsuitable for the bedroom. 

'One material that shouldn’t be in bedding is nylon,' says Stephen Light, a certified sleep science coach, and CEO at Nolah Mattress. 'While it’s durable and tear-resistant, it’s also water-resistant. It means that it’s not breathable and can trap your body’s heat. It can make you sweat at night, so you’ll feel uncomfortable and find it hard to sleep.'

And Stephen is not alone in his sentiments. Amelia Jerden, sleep accessories Specialist at Sleepopolis, reinforces that nylon is best left beyond atop your best mattress. She, too, suggests that nylon's water-resistant qualities will not absorb your sweat or body oils – increasing your risk of skin irritations and interrupting your sleep. 

2. Polyester

bedroom with black four poster with green headboard

(Image credit: Future/ Mary Wadsworth)

Like nylon, polyester is admired for being strong, tear-resistant, and hard to wrinkle – with these qualities all being part of their downfall. However, the problems with polyester don't end there. 

'Polyester should be avoided because most are manufactured with carcinogens that can lead to heart, lung, and skin problems, Amelia says. 'It has also been shown to cause respiratory issues and negatively affect immune systems, especially those in children.' Polyester is also a non-biodegradable fabric (like nylon) and contains 'toxic chemicals' which are harmful to your skin and the environment.

3.  Bedding with thread counts over 1000

bedroom with red patterned headboard, green throw and yellow chair

(Image credit: Future/ James Merrell)

You would be forgiven for believing that material with a thread count of over 1000 is among the best luxury bedding on the market. However, this is not always the case. Tony Klespis, certified sleep science coach at Mattress Clarity, urges caution when investing in sheets with a notably high thread count – warning that they are not always what they seem.

'A common misconception when looking at sheets is that the higher the thread count, the better the quality of the material,' he says. 'Be sceptical of sheets with a thread count of over 1000, as sometimes companies will inflate the thread count on their label by using threads with multiple fibers in each. This can result in a less durable material that may pill more easily.  

4. Weighted blankets 

Twin beds with blue cushions in loft space with beams and rooflight

(Image credit: Dan Duchars)

Weighted blankets may be suitable if you don't struggle to sleep in the heat. However, if you're looking for how to keep a bedroom cool, the experts urge you to look for a cooler alternative. 'Weighted blankets have a heavy design to help you relax, but they also tend to trap heat,' Tony warns.

If you crave the cozy room style of a weighted blanket, it is better to look for a weighted blanket that’s designed to keep you comfortable, such as those with a loose knitted design to encourage a cooler airflow. 

5. Flannel sheets 

bedroom with blue walls and beetle prints

(Image credit: Brent Darby)

Similarly, if you’re a hot sleeper, it may be best to avoid flannel sheets where possible. Tony explains that, like weighted blankets, flannel may lead you to overheat and disrupt your sleep in the process. 'Bedding with a high thread count traps heat because there isn’t space between threads for air to flow through,' he adds.  

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.