This unexpected Australian sleep secret could change the game for hot sleepers – we put wool bedding to the test

Forget everything you think you know about wool bedding − these sheets aren't itchy or scratchy, but soft, smooth and ultra-breathable

Shleep Essentials Bedding Collection on a bed in the forest.
(Image credit: Shleep)
Homes & Gardens Verdict

Merino wool is a miracle material for hot sleepers and eco-conscious shoppers everywhere. Shleep uses the finest threads to make their luxury bedding, which is naturally breathable, thermoregulating, and wrinkle-free. The only catch is that it's seriously expensive − we're talking several thousand dollars for one sheet set.

Reasons to buy
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    Light and soft

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    Surprisingly low-maintenance

Reasons to avoid
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    Limited size range

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    Very expensive

You can trust Homes & Gardens. Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing the latest products, helping you choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

You wouldn't think it, but wool is one of the best bed sheet materials for hot sleepers. I don't mean the itchy, scratchy stuff your grandma buys to knit sweaters, but fine merino wool that feels soft and smooth against your skin.

That's the stuff they use at Shleep. When I spoke to their founder, Indi McCullough, she proclaimed merino wool a miracle material: it's 'smooth as silk, luxe as cashmere, and light as gossamer'. Merino wool makes the sort of lightweight layer that's ideal for hot sleepers and warmer climates. Since wool is naturally thermoregulating, it's suitable for cold sleepers and winter weather, too: it's truly trans-seasonal. 

As H&G's resident sleep writer, I've tested some of the world's best bed sheets. I've tried everything from luxury linens and crisp cottons to breathable bamboo blends. Out of all the bed sheet types, merino wool is one of the best for hot sleepers and shoppers with sensitive skin. Full disclosure, though: it's seriously expensive. 

Shleep Essentials bedding review

I tested the Shleep Essentials collection for a little more than a month, as the weather turned from a harsh winter to the start of spring. In that time, I was seriously impressed with the thermoregulating powers of merino wool, as well as its durability: you get the sense that these sheets could last for years.

Shleep Essentials | $210 - $1,286 at Shleep

Shleep Essentials | $210 - $1,286 at Shleep
At Shleep, you'll find everything from flat and fitted sheets to duvet covers and pillowcases, as well as a range of blankets, sleep masks, and headbands, all made from the finest merino wool.

Shleep Essentials Collection Specifications

Shleep Luxury Merino Wool Bedding on a bed against a gray background.

(Image credit: Shleep)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
SizesFull/Queen, King, California King
Material70% fine Australian merino wool, 30% bamboo
ColorsOlive Grove, Mesa Canyon, Coral Peony, Arabian Nightsky, Tropical Sand, Charcoal Slate
ProductsDuvet Cover, Fitted Sheet, Flat Sheet, Pillowcases
CareMachine-washable and dryer-safe
MSRP$210 (Standard Pillowcase) - $1,286 (California King Duvet Cover)

Who would the Shleep Essentials collection suit?

Bags of Shleep bedding on a Naturepedic Mattress Topper.

(Image credit: Future / Emilia Hitching)
  • Hot sleepers: wool is naturally thermoregulating to keep you cool for the summer and warm in the winter. It's also incredibly moisture-wicking. According to Shleep CEO, Indi McCullough, Merino wool can hold up to 35% of its own weight in moisture, wicking sweat while you sleep. With enough fresh air, that sweat should naturally evaporate: all the more reason to air your bedding every morning.
  • Anyone who wants the best wool money can buy: You don't have to take my word for it. The Shleep Essentials bedding collection is certified and approved for sale by Woolmark, the global authority on Merino wool. Shleep uses the finest Australian merino wool. In the context of wool, 'fine' isn't a qualitative term so much as a measurement. The fineness, or thinness, of wool is measured in microns. If a human hair is around 100 microns, then your average strand of merino wool is around 24 microns. Shleep only use strands of merino wool that measure 19.5 microns or less. Fine wool is softer and more supple, but it's weaker, too. That's why Shleep blend their merino wool with bamboo to toughen it up a little. Each piece in the Shleep Essentials bedding collection is made from 70% merino wool, 30% bamboo.

A bag of Shleep bedding on a Shleep fitted sheet.

(Image credit: Future / Emilia Hitching)
  • Anyone who likes a little luxury: Merino wool is synonymous with high, slow fashion. It's the sort of material you'd expect to see in the best designer bedding collections.
  • Anyone who's keen to experiment with color: Shleep Essentials come in six colors: Olive Grove; Mesa Canyon; Coral Peony; Arabian Nightsky; Tropical Sand; and Charcoal Slate. Each shade is inspired by the natural landscape in Australia, as well as a few scenes that Indi has admired on her travels. These colors are rich and saturated, yet understated. Picking up a sheet set in Mesa Canyon, for example, would be a great way to experiment with colorful bedroom ideas without overwhelming your space. 
  • Shoppers with money to spare: Shleep Essentials bedding is seriously expensive. We're talking around $1,000 for a single fitted sheet. That's the price you pay for the finest wool and the richest dyes. If you love the look of Shleep, but you'd like to save a little money, you could always explore some of their other collections: there's Premium Merino Jersey, with a healthy dose of Tencel, as well as Luxury Knitted Fleece. 

What's it like to sleep on Shleep Essentials bedding?

Shleep sleep bedding on a bed with a Cozy Earth Cuddle Blanket.

(Image credit: Future / Emilia Hitching)

I've never slept on anything quite like merino wool. It has a little more texture than silky smooth cotton sateen, but it isn't quite as coarse as the best linen sheets. While the Shleep Essentials bedding collection isn't quite as naturally cooling as, say, the Ettitude Signature Sateen Sheet Set, merino wool makes a far better thermoregulator than cheap, synthetic materials.

It took me a few nights to get used to the feel of merino wool. Now, I'm totally on board, and I'd recommend the Shleep Essentials bedding collection to almost anyone, especially hot sleepers. Merino wool is an excellent moisture-wicker, which makes Shleep Essentials the ideal sheet set for anyone who suffers from night sweats and hot flashes. 

Shleep Luxury Merino Wool Fitted Sheet on a mattress.

(Image credit: Future / Emilia Hitching)

Onto more practical points. As a sleep writer, I'm often asked how often you should wash your bedding. My answer: it depends on the material. Something like merino wool is pretty low-maintenance. Naturally anti-static, merino wool attracts minimal dust, dirt, and lint. Plus, it's stain- and odor-resistant to keep you feeling fresh.

These sheets are machine-washable and dryer-safe, and come with their own mesh wash bag to protect the wool. Like a lot of natural fibers, merino wool curls and clumps, so you might want to invest in a fleece brush, like the Superio 3-in-1 Garment Brush from Walmart.

While I find it hard to fault the Shleep Essentials bedding collection, I recognize that merino wool isn't for everyone. The Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set is softer and smoother, made from long-staple cotton and woven into silky sateen. Here at H&G, we've tested dozens of sheet sets, and we reckon these are the best bed sheets overall. If you're keen to experiment with prints and patterns, I recommend shopping at Piglet in Bed, where you'll find the best linen bed sheets in every conceivable color.

How do Shleep Essentials rate online?

Shleep bedding in Rust against a gray background.

(Image credit: Shleep)

It's almost impossible to find verified customer reviews for Shleep Essentials bedding. There isn't a dedicated section on the Shleep site, nor at any of their third-party retailers. I'll update this article as and when reviews roll in, but for now, you'll just have to take my word for it. 

Should I buy Shleep Essentials?

Shleep Luxury Merino Wool Bedding on a bed against a white wall.

(Image credit: Shleep)

There's no getting around the fact that Shleep sheets are seriously expensive. If you were to buy their Essential Fitted Sheet, Duvet Cover, and Pillowcases to fit a Queen-sized bed, you should expect to spend more than $2,000. Add in the Essential Flat Sheet and that's another $800. If you're working with a tighter budget, you might be better off with a set of the best affordable bed sheets. Amazon's best-selling Martha Stewart bedding could keep you cool and comfortable for a fraction of the price.

Then again, you get what you pay for. When you spend top dollar at Shleep, you know that you're getting the finest wool and the latest technology, as well as excellent eco-credentials. If I were you, I'd start with a pair of the Shleep Essential Pillowcases. That way, you can sample the finest luxury Merino wool against your hair and skin without committing to the entire collection. If you don't like it, you're only down a few hundred dollars. If you do, then it's worth investing in the sheet set. 

How we test sheets

Bags of Shleep bedding on the Naturepedic Mattress Topper.

(Image credit: Future / Emilia Hitching)

We put a lot of thought into how we test sheets. It's more than a matter of sleeping on the job. Our expert testers sample sheets for weeks, if not months, to monitor their performance over time. The best bed sheets are suitable for all seasons and able to withstand the wear and tear of nightly use and countless cycles in the washing machine. 

We assess each sheet set against the same criteria: comfort; quality of construction; ease of care; and the all-important price. We expect different sorts of results from different bed sheet types. In the case of Shleep, we'd expect Merino wool to feel soft and smooth, yet not as silky as cotton sateen, nor as crisp as cotton percale

Where possible, we cross-check our findings against a range of verified customer reviews to give you diverse perspectives from every sort of sleeper. We compare all of our findings against the cost of the sheet set to help you determine value for money.  

Emilia Hitching
Sleep Editor

Emilia is our resident sleep writer. She spends her days tracking down the lowest prices on the best bedding and spends her nights testing it out from the comfort of her own home – it's a dream job. Her quest to learn how to sleep better has taken her all around the world, from mattress factories in Arizona to sleep retreats in Scandinavia. Before she joined Homes & Gardens, Emilia studied English at the University of Oxford. She also worked on the other side of the aisle, writing press releases for regional newspapers and crafting copy for Sky.