Sleep well with Cotton 2

If you’re looking for a good night’s sleep, 100 per cent cotton sheets paired with comfy cotton PJs are what new research recommends.

What we’ve all suspected for decades have now been confirmed by science – you get a better night’s sleep in cotton.

Many factors influence a good night’s sleep including age, psychological conditions, culture and environment, but a recent study has found the fabric and sleepwear you sleep in significantly contributes to quality shut eye.

It’s become well known that quality sleep contributes to overall health and wellbeing, and can greatly impact our energy levels, mood and productivity during the day. Modern lifestyles place greater demands on human sleep patterns, with research surrounding sleep, recovery and performance by two scholars, indicating about 30 per cent of adults are affected by sleep disruption.

The study Improved Thermal Management Performance of Bedding Systems for Effective Recovery in Dynamic Sleep Environments through Cotton-containing Products”, funded by the Cotton Research and Development Corporation and conducted by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) analysed body temperature differences and humidity levels between 100% cotton and polyester pyjamas and bedding.

It looked at the relationship to optimum body temperature and absorbency and found the type of sheets and what you wear to bed impacts quality of sleep, with cotton’s naturally absorbent fibre coming out on top.

To get a quality night’s sleep, the ideal core body temperature should be between 36C and 38C, while humidity levels should remain between 40 and 60 per cent.

Sheets and sleepwear made from 100% cotton, cotton-rich and synthetic materials, with similar weights and constructions, were put to the test in a controlled simulated environment at RMIT.

The study found 100 per cent cotton sheets maintained levels in the ideal core body temperature range from 33.5C to 34C, while synthetic sheets caused the core temperature to rise to 36.5C – two degrees outside the ideal range.

When it comes to humidity, levels increase throughout the night as sleep continues. While cotton maintained ideal humidity levels, synthetic materials trapped humidity against the body, causing it to rise outside ideal comfort levels.

The recommendation follows that if you are looking for a good night’s sleep, read the fabric content label on your next pair of pyjamas or set of sheets – and buy 100 per cent cotton, Australian cotton if you can!

For more information: Spotlight Winter 2019.pdf (


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