What bedding material is best? Sleep and bedding experts advise

Your bedding impacts your sleep quality and mood in the morning – these are the 5 best materials for your bedroom

green and white bedroom with tongue and groove paneling, artwork, storage ideas, wall lights
(Image credit: Interior Fox/Veronica Rodriguez)

The correlation between your bedding and a restful night's sleep is no secret. 

Choosing the best bed sheets for your needs will help you fall asleep in comfort – and at the right temperature – so you can wake up and feel rejuvenated. 

There is already a lot of information about finding the sheets of your dreams – from knowing the best places to buy bedding to the bed sheet colors to avoid. However, the question of what bedding material is often more of a mystery. At least, until now.

We asked sleep experts what you need to know about the best materials on the market (including the type used in five-star hotels) to elevate your bedroom ideas to new heights. Here's what you need to know about the most sought-after sheets available.

What bedding material is best? 

Before browsing, Tony Klespis, a certified sleep science coach from Mattress Clarity, warns against a misconception that often influences buying decisions. 

pressed flower artwork

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

'Generally, a higher thread count sheet set will be more expensive and will also have a more luxurious, silky feel. But, high thread count sheets are not the best for those that sleep hot because they will trap heat,' he says. Therefore, while it is common practice to opt for bedding with a high thread count, it may not be best if you live in a hot environment.

'The thread count of bedding will vary depending on the material and doesn't necessarily relate to its quality,' he says. For example, some high-quality linen and Tencel sheets will have a lower thread count but can be luxury alternatives. We explore these options below. 

1. Tencel

As Tony suggests, Tencel's thread count is a great option for hot sleepers. However, its benefits don't end there. 'Lyocell (most commonly known by its brand name Tencel) is a fabric derived from the pulp of eucalyptus trees,' he says. This means the material contains tiny hydrophilic fibers that are great for soaking moisture as your sleep. And the expert is not alone in his admiration for this best luxury bedding

'Hot sleepers should opt for bedding materials such as linen, bamboo, or Tencel, which are moisture-wicking, breathable, lightweight,' says Amelia  Jerden, a sleep accessories specialist at Sleepopolis who also praises its lightweight but luxurious qualities. 

2. Cotton 

Cotton is perhaps the most popular sheet fabric currently, but it is easy to understand its appeal. This material promotes a seamless airflow and has moisture-wicking properties that encourage a long, comfortable sleep. And while all cotton has its benefits, the experts recommend improving the option further by investing in organic cotton that is best for breathability. 

'Because organic cotton plants are made without pesticides, they yield longer-staple fibers, resulting in a softer, more breathable fabric,' adds Byron Golub, director of product and merchandising at Saatva

Textured wall. Full length mirror, yellow gold bedding

(Image credit: Future)

3. Linen

Similar to sateen, linen is one of the best materials to choose from for a cool night's sleep. But which type of linen is best?

'The highest quality is made from French or Belgian flax, which grows taller than flax grown in other places,' Byron says. 'The taller the flax plant, the longer the fibers taken from these plants to produce yarn. Longer fibers mean better breathability and moisture-wicking properties.'

Plus, linen can absorb up to 20% of its weight in moisture before feeling wet – so you will remain dry – and your sleep is less likely to be interrupted through the night. 

4. Bamboo

Bamboo, the natural fabric that comes from the pulp of bamboo grass, is loved by experts for its natural, hypoallergenic, and breathable qualities. Like linen, it is a great option for those who are hot sleepers as it can absorb three times more water than its weight. 'This means it is extremely effective at wicking moisture away from your body,' Byron explains. 

Amelia similarly recommends using bamboo, or silk materials, if you are hypoallergenic, as these organic materials will likely promote uninterrupted sleep.  

5. Sateen

The experts have already praised sateen for being breathable and cooling, but it's important to note its good looks, too. 

This material is the perfect option if you're wondering how to sleep better in a hot climate – whether you alternate them through the seasons or use them permanently – depending on where you are in the world. And it will always look luxurious, as Amelia emphasizes below. 

Melinda Mandell white bedroom with black bed, orange cushion and artwork

(Image credit: Project Melinda Mandell / photograph Michelle Drewes)

What bedding is used in 5 star hotels?

'Cotton is one of the most popular materials used in bedding and is what you will typically find in a 5-star hotel,' Amelia explains. 'Most hotels tend to choose high-quality cotton percale sheets over cotton sateen because a percale weave is more breathable, offers a crisp and cool feel.' 

However, the expert adds that some establishments may also opt for sateen sheets as they showcase a shiny and silky appearance which epitomizes the typical luxurious feel of a top hotel. 

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.