Best bedding materials for menopause and night sweats - take back control of your sleep

Take control of your sleep quality and safeguard your mental health with our experts’ advice and top product recommendations

how to decorate a guest bedroom, neutral bedroom with wood paneling on one side and tongue and groove on the other, rattan bed, artwork, plants
(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

The best bedding materials for menopause and night sweats are essential if you've found your sleep disturbed night after night. So we've rounded up the best materials for bed sheets, duvets and pillows to keep cool and wick away the sweat.

Sometimes, sleep issues are a simple matter of finding the best mattress. But when you reach a certain age, this won't cut it alone if you're finding your sleep disturbed by night sweats, insomnia and heart palpitations.

Research published by Silentnight last month found that 83% of menopausal women suffer from sleep problems. The survey of 1,000 menopausal and perimenopausal women revealed that 61% experience night sweats, 41% suffer from insomnia and 23% have heart palpitations at night. 

Best bedding materials for menopause

If you've found your sleep impacted it's time to take a practical approach by learning how to sleep better and invest in the best bedding for your needs. 

For a comfortable night’s sleep, we need our body temperature to drop by a degree or two. Keeping your bedroom cool and using light, breathable layers of bedding and nightwear is key. 

 We asked Kirsty Wilson, a fabric consultant for the best bedding materials for menopause and night sweats to keep you cool and dry. 

Kirsty Wilson

Kirsty qualified at De Montfort University and started The Fabric Consultancy to help product developers embrace sustainability.

1. Linen

Fabric expert Kirsty explains, ‘Linen is ideal for regulating your body temperature due to its unique characteristics. Flax fibres make a strong, durable yet luxurious fabric that is breathable with a high air-permeability rating yet heat conductive.

'Linen is a great fibre for the environment: it’s biodegradable and recyclable, and the flax plant can grow in very poor soil that wouldn't be useful for food production.’

Best for quality: Classic white linen duvet cover, from £170, The Linen Works 

2. Bamboo

‘Bamboo is rising in popularity, especially for bed linen, because it has hypoallergenic properties, is breathable and feels  soft and luxurious. 

It is also strong, durable and anti-static. It seems to be the perfect fibre choice and is often touted as a sustainable one due to its ability to grow quickly without the need for pesticides or fertilisers. However, harvesting the fibres can be a very energy intensive process and there are reports of deforestation to make way for bamboo plants due to demand.’ 

3. Cotton

Cotton’s absorbency makes it perfect for bedding. Kirsty explains, ‘Cotton fibre will absorb 7-11% of its weight in moisture. If you do become hot in bed, the cotton will absorb that moisture and take it away from the body, leaving you feeling cool and comfortable.’ For luxury and durability, a high-thread-count Egyptian cotton is best, although sleep consultant Jane Armstrong warns against this for night sweats, recommending lighter cotton sheets with low thread counts.

4. Silk

‘Silk is the ultimate luxury fabric,’ says Kirsty. ‘It’s also soft, durable, biodegradeable, helps to regulate body temperature and even helps to improve your skin.’ It sounds like a dream – and of course, you deserve a treat to get you through your meno-years. 

Kirsty adds, ‘It’s very expensive, should only be dry-cleaned.' But our Editor in Chief Heather Young is a big fan of the Marks & Spencer Pure Silk pillowcase, as it's machine-washable on a delicate cycle. 

The best duvet for menopause

Natural fillings make the best duvets for menopause. They are a must for their breathability, but you need your duvet to be washable, too, in case of a sweat-through situation. Wool is by far the most breathable material for a duvet, offering the best temperature regulations. 

While most wool duvets are hard to care for the Deluxe Washable Wool duvet from Woolroom can be machine washed on a wool cycle at 40°c

An alternative natural filling is Down it is far more breathable than a synthetic option, making for a cooler sleep. However, prices can be very steep, the best budget option we've found is the Marks & Spencer Duck Feather & Down 13.5 Tog Duvet starting at £55 for a single duvet.

However, according to sleep experts bamboo is also a great option like the Panda Cloud Duvet. Not only is it temperature regulating, but it is also moisture and odour-wicking which is essential if you are suffering night sweats. 

The best pillow for menopause

 Finding the best pillow can transform your sleep experience. Once again wool is a great material for temperature regulations such as the Woolroom Chatsworth Collection Washable Wool Pillow. However, Simba has also created a synthetic pillow that helps regulate temperature. The Simba Hybrid Pillow uses an 'astronaut-inspired temperature regulation' that coats the cotton pillow outer in a formula that absorbs, stores, and releases heat when you need it.

However, if you find that this isn't enough sleep expert Jane Armstrong says, ‘Cooling pillows are helpful with managing hot flushes and to support temperature control.’ Dave Gibson adds, ‘Cooling mattress pads and cooling toppers can help, too.’ 

Try CoolSoft – a technical fabric developed by adding fine particles of mica ore crystals to polyester fibres that are layered to form a cool function yarn. It has an instant cool-to-the-touch feel and can transfer heat away from your body all night. 

how to decorate a guest bedroom, neutral bedroom with wood paneling on one side and tongue and groove on the other, rattan bed, artwork, plants

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Why does menopause impact sleep?

Sleep issues are symptoms of hormonal changes. Dave Gibson, founder of The Sleep Site explains, ‘The steady loss of progesterone and oestrogen during menopause can have a significant impact on sleep. Firstly, it’s harder to get to sleep and stay asleep as progesterone has a soporific effect. This is compounded by the reduction in the production of melatonin (our sleep hormone) during this time. 

'Then there are the dreaded hot flashes triggered by adrenaline surges because of oestrogen loss. Other issues include sleep apnoea, which happens as the airways become over-relaxed.’

Other factors can pile on top of the hormone disruption, explains Jane Armstrong, a Sleep Consultant: ‘The period in which these symptoms commence is known as perimenopause and can last from three to seven years. It is common to find that poor sleep develops from these changes, and is also affected by lifestyle factors such as alcohol and caffeine consumption, reduced exercise and increased stress due to family and work commitments.’ 

Guest bedroom with bed layered in blue and pink blankets

(Image credit: Future PLC/JoannaHenderson)

More than two-thirds of the women surveyed by Silentnight lost an average of two-and-a-half hours of sleep per night. That adds up to 17 hours a week.  

Dr Naomi Potter, a menopause expert reveals, ‘Good quality sleep is a vital element of our health and wellbeing. It is arguably the most important of all the health pillars. A lack of sleep – for example, four to five hours a night instead of seven to eight – can have a negative impact on brain function. It can cause symptoms such as brain fog and memory difficulties.

'Poor sleep can also impact mental health and mood, which is often vulnerable during the menopause. Women with poor sleep during menopause are two to three times more likely to experience depression.’


What fabric is best for night sweats?

Sleep expert Dave Gibson explains, ‘The more obvious solutions for helping with hot flashes include wearing light, loose, breathable cotton or silk nightwear, and using cooling sheets made from breathable moisture-wicking materials such as bamboo, cotton, linen or silk which can help dissipate heat and keep you cool.’ 

What is the best material for a duvet for night sweats?

‘To avoid increasing body temperature,’ says Jane Armstrong, ‘invest in one made from bamboo.’ Try the Cloud from Bamboo London. It’s breathable, washable and moisture wicking. If your perfect duvet proves hard to find, how about not having one? Dave Gibson advises, ‘Rather than having a duvet you could consider having layers of sheets so you can remove one layer if needed.’ 

What are the best sheets for hot flashes and night sweats?

While quick-drying polyester or percale might be your go-to for making laundry a breeze, they’re not the kindest choice if you’re running hot. Go for a breathable natural fabric that’s absorbent enough to wick moisture away from your skin, such as linen, cotton or bamboo.

Meet the experts

Dave Gibson

Dave is a certified stress-management coach, naturopath and hypnotherapist, as well as a qualified osteopath. He works with clients and companies on stress management, posture and vitality through exercise, diet and sleep. Since he launched in 2014, his advice has been featured in national newspapers and on BBC Radio. He has also worked as an osteopath for  the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Jane Armstrong

 Jane has been a qualified sleep consultant for more than 12 years. She trained at Sleep Scotland and the Southampton Sleep Clinic, and completed a qualification in Advanced Paediatric Sleep Practitioner training. Jane is also trained in cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia, applied to both adults and children. She works for consultancy Hunrosa and her special interest is how sleep can improve our mental health.

Dr Naomi Potter

Naomi gained a masters degree in psychology before qualifying as a doctor in 2003. After 16 years practising as a GP for the NHS, she now specialises in menopause care and treatments. Naomi also holds advanced certification from the British Menopause Society – the highest level of menopause training available. Her practice, Menopause Care, consists of 10 clinics around the UK.

Vanessa Richmond

Vanessa Richmond has been a freelance writer, editor and editorial consultant since 2021. Her career in magazines began in 1998 and, apart from a four-year stint at women’s lifestyle magazine Red, it has been spent working on interiors titles including House Beautiful, Country Homes & Interiors and Style at Home. She first joined the Ideal Home team in 2006 as Chief Sub-editor and subsequently became its Associate Editor, Editor and Editorial Director. Now she writes for and Ideal Home magazine as a freelance journalist.