How to Choose a Summer Duvet: Expert Tips to Improve Your Summer Sleep

Fact checked by Megan Soliman MD, MSc
Board-certified physician at Saba University School of Medicine

Even if you‘re usually a deep sleeper, the summer heat and humidity can keep you tossing and turning all night. If sleeping with a leg out of your covers no longer cuts it in the hotter months, a summer duvet may be the solution. Switching your usual duvet for a lighter, thinner option can help you stay cool at night and sleep better in summer.

But what should you look for in a summer duvet? And what bedding to choose to improve your summer sleep? Let’s dive in!

Should you switch your duvet in summer?

That depends on where you live and your sleeping preferences. If you live in a mild climate where heat waves are usually rare and brief, you may not feel the need to invest in a separate duvet for summer. Some people decide to ditch the duvet altogether and sleep under a sheet, instead. If that works for you, great! But what if you can’t sleep without a duvet, even on the hottest nights? In this case, getting a summer duvet may help you sleep better.

Consider getting a lighter duvet for the summer if you:

  • Live in a hot, humid climate. If the summers are very hot where you live, a thinner duvet can make you more comfortable at night, and maybe even save a bit on air conditioning.
  • Get easily overheated at night. If you’re generally prone to night sweats, a light, breathable duvet and cooling, moisture-wicking bedding can improve your sleep quality year-round, particularly in the warmer months.
  • Have different temperature preferences from your other half. Some people like to be wrapped in a thick blanket no matter the season. Separate duvets can be the ideal solution for partners who like different temperatures at night. And the one who is always cold can simply throw an extra blanket on top, or just sleep under their preferred duvet.

What to look for in a summer duvet?

What is the difference between a winter and a summer duvet, really? Many people think it’s just the thickness, but there’s a bit more to it than that. For example, look into the material the duvet is made of. Down duvets tend to be more insulating, which means they’re great at keeping you warm at night, but you may feel too hot when sleeping under a down or feather-filled duvet in summer. Wool blankets are also great for winter, as they are dense and can trap your body heat, but they may be a bit much when it’s hot outside.

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Another important thing to consider when choosing the perfect summer duvet is its tog. Tog stands for Thermal Overall Grade and tells you how warm the duvet is. The higher the tog, the warmer the duvet. Duvets that measure 4.5 togs and under can help keep you cool in hot weather, even if they are made out of traditionally wintery material — even feather-filled and down duvets with low tog can be remarkably breathable and lightweight.

Alternatively, synthetic duvets filled with microfibers are a great option for summer — they are lightweight, cool, and hypoallergenic, so amazing for those with allergies too.

The right cover material is also essential — look for something that’s breathable, moisture-wicking, and temperature controlling. Some of the excellent fabrics for cooling duvets include:

  • Cotton
  • Silk
  • Tencel
  • Eucalyptus
  • Bamboo
  • Lyocell

If you tend to get very hot in summer, consider getting a specially designed cooling duvet and cooling sheets that can absorb your body heat and stop you from overheating. Additionally, you may look into cooling mattresses and pillows — they often have special gel inserts that help control your body temperature.

Pillowcases and bedding from cooler materials for the summer

If getting two separate duvets to take you through the hot and cold nights seems excessive — for example, if you have limited storage space — you can invest in an all-seasons or a multi-tog duvet. All-seasons duvets usually measure around 7–8 togs, while multi-tog duvet sets can include a light tog duvet and a medium tog duvet. This allows you to layer them for colder months and sleep under the lighter one when the weather gets hot.

Natural, cool materials for duvet covers and sheets

Cooling sheets and bedding can be an excellent solution for hot sleepers. Opt for natural fabrics if you often get very hot during the night — they’re breathable and help regulate your temperature. This applies to your sleepwear too; lightweight pajamas made of natural material like cotton can prevent you from overheating at night.

When it comes to natural materials that can keep you cool in your sleep, you have several options:

Bamboo

Bamboo is a versatile fiber that can be used to produce different fabrics such as rayon, viscose, and lyocell. Since bamboo grows quickly, this material is often praised for its sustainability. Bamboo bedding and sheets are durable, soft, and cool to the touch. They are lightweight and breathable, so they’re a great option for those who get hot during the night.

Cotton

If summer nights keep you tossing and turning and you often wake up sweaty, then a 100-percent cotton bed linen can help you have a good night’s sleep. This natural material is breathable; it absorbs your body heat and keeps you cool and dry at night. Cotton is also hypoallergenic and can prevent skin irritation. So if you have sensitive skin or sunburn after spending a little too much time in the sun, pure cotton bedding — and nightwear — can be a real blessing. This fabric lets your skin breathe, draws moisture away, and can reduce itchiness.

Unmade bed with a lighter summer duvet

Tip: a lot of summer bed covers and duvet sets are made of a mix of cotton and polyester, which is a synthetic fiber and can counteract the cooling properties of the natural fabric. So make sure to read the label and opt for bedding that is made of pure cotton.

Linen

Linen is a popular material for summer duvet covers — and clothing — and for a good reason. Just like other natural fibers, it is breathable and has moisture-wicking properties, so sheets and duvet covers made of linen are perfect for sweaty sleepers. Linen is also pretty durable, but can feel a bit rough at first — it will soften up with time and several washes though. One downside of linen — if you can call it that — is that it creases very easily. So if you like your bedding to look extra smooth and sleek, it may not be for you. Otherwise, it’s an amazing fabric for comfortable summer nights.

Silk

Can you think of something more luxurious than silk sheets? But silk bedding doesn’t just look and feel fancy, it’s actually an amazing option for sweaty sleepers too. This smooth fabric is cool to the touch, helps regulate body temperature, and absorbs moisture well.

But silk bedding goes beyond just providing a comfortable sleep on a hot night — it can actually give you a beauty boost!

Silk pillowcases are delicate to your skin and help minimize sleep creases and wrinkles, as well as prevent hair breakage and frizz. So consider investing in a silk bedding set to get the beauty sleep you deserve.

Other ways to stay cool at night

While switching your duvet and bedding for the summer is a sure way to stay cool at night, there are other tricks you may try to sleep soundly in hot weather.

  • Keep a fan near your bed. Even if you already use air conditioning, having a fan by your bed can improve air circulation and keep you cool. If you live in a dry climate, you can also get a humidifier — together with a fan this will create a cool mist that can stop you from overheating and getting dehydrated at night.
  • Sleep on a lower level. The hot air rises, so if you have your bedroom on the top floor, you may feel hotter and sweatier at night. Try sleeping on a lower floor or move your mattress to the floor. This may help you feel more comfortable in the heat.
  • Get a cooling gel pad for your pillowcase. You know how good it feels to flip your pillow over and press your cheek on its cool side. Well, a cooling pad has the same effect. It can keep your head and neck cool and help you sleep like a baby.
  • Cool your pulse points. Just before you go to bed, cool down your wrists, ankles, knees, and the insides of your elbows with an ice pack, cold water, or a frozen towel. This helps to regulate the temperature throughout your entire body.
  • Freeze a water bottle. Put your water bottle in the freezer a couple of hours before bed. You can then use it as an ice pack to cool your neck and forehead or keeps it on the bedside table to create a cool sleeping environment. Plus, you can take refreshing sips of water during the night to stay hydrated.
  • Wrapping up

Getting enough sleep is essential for your well-being year-round, but hot and humid summer nights can have you tossing and turning and wake up tired and sweaty. A lightweight summer duvet can help improve your sleep in the warmer months. Look for a duvet with a tog of 4.5 or lower and a cooling cover material like eucalyptus or tencel.

Another way to sleep soundly in summer is to switch your bedding. Opt for sheets and duvet covers made of natural, breathable fabrics, such as cotton, bamboo, or silk. They help to draw your body heat away from you and keep you cool at night.

October 24, 2022