Are Heavyweight Percale sheets good for hot sleepers and hot climates?
Some of you who tend to sleep hot at night - or perhaps live in a hot climate like Queensland - have been emailing us wondering whether our Heavyweight Cotton Percale sheets would be the right choice. Doesn't heavier mean hotter? It’s a natural assumption that if it’s hot, lighter sheets are better. That can be true, but not always.
The short answer is, yes - absolutely, our Heavyweight Cotton Percale is perfect for hot sleepers. And here's why.
It comes down to what the fabric is made of and how it is constructed. Natural fibres tend to ‘breathe’ better than synthetics. Certain weaves allow more air to circulate through the fabric which helps to keep you cool. Some weaves feel warmer to the touch and others feel cooler. Thread also count plays a part in keeping you comfortable, but probably not in the way you might think!
Synthetics tend to trap heat so make fairly hot sheets. We choose 100% cotton for our Heavyweight Percale, it's simply more breathable and cooler to sleep on. Other good natural fibre options are linen or hemp.
Percale over Sateen
Sateen is a type of weave where one yarn floats over 3-4 yarns. The result is a smooth, soft and warm fabric as this type of weave can be more tightly woven and therefore less breathable and heavier than percale. Not the best choice if you want to stay cool. Percale on the other hand is a one over / one under or basket weave. Typically that means a lighter fabric, lower thread count than sateen and it also feels cooler to touch. The plain weave allows air to circulate better which stops heat being trapped.
Lower thread count
Yes, you read that right. We’ve been conditioned to think that higher thread count is better, which is not really true. Thread count plays a part but it doesn’t have a lot to do with quality – it does however affect how hot a sheet will feel. High thread counts mean more cotton and tighter weaves, which makes for a hotter sheet. A rough rule of thumb is that the higher the thread count, the hotter the sheet will feel.
If you would like to know more about thread count, we’ve linked some resources at the bottom of the page, but the takeaway here is that if you feel hot at night, lower thread counts are your friend.
Typically our customers are deciding between the lighter Washed Cotton and the Heavyweight Cotton and assume that the Heavyweight sheets will be hotter – but no - both these fabrics are percale, and they are both equally good if you tend to sleep hot. The difference lies in whether you personally prefer sheets of a lighter weight or something with a bit more heft.
The Washed Cotton (now discontinued) is a 400 thread count percale which uses finer yarns. The Heavyweight is a 200 thread count percale – at this point you may be wondering how a lower thread count sheet can be heavier than a higher thread count? It’s because we use a thicker, and therefore heavier, yarn. The end result is a fabric which weighs about 155g/m2 vs 115g/m2 for washed cotton.
So yes, our Heavyweight Cotton sheets are heavier but due to the nature of the weave and the lower thread count, they are still cool and airy and breathable. Plus, because they’re quite crisp, they don’t cling to your body like some fabrics can which also helps keep the temperature down, and your sleep more comfortable.