Although you may think choosing sheets is a matter of personal preference, the concept of a good night's sleep is not a totally subjective issue. While you may base your sleep quality on how well-rested you feel the next day, studies have connected poor sleep habits with several health-related problems.
Short sleep patterns of less than seven hours per 24-hour period are linked to an inability to focus, leading to fatigue and poor productivity. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion also states that adequate sleep offers a number of health benefits, including the ability to fight infections, properly metabolize sugar and prevent diabetes, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
While you may be aware that significant studies related to sleep disorders have been done, you may not know about the effect your bedding has on your quality of sleep. How you react to specific surfaces can greatly impact your metabolism, immune system, and emotional well-being.
There is a wide variety of sheet selections available to help you sleep better. The following scenarios offer a brief snapshot of how choosing sheet fabrics can complement a more restful night's sleep.
There can be any number of reasons for your body temperature to rise during the night. Men who lift weights or have greater muscle mass tend to run hot while sleeping. Likewise, women with fluctuating hormonal activity during the month, as well as those who are undergoing perimenopause or menopause, may also experience night sweats. Other factors that contribute to elevated body temperature include medications, infections and neurological disorders.
Getting the appropriate amount of sleep in a relaxing environment helps your body produce melatonin, the hormone secreted by the pineal gland during sleep in a darkened atmosphere. It plays a major role in regulating your circadian rhythm and helps keep your system balanced.
Choosing the appropriate sheets for folks who tend to wake feeling chilled is equally important to achieving a good night's sleep. The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School summarizes the characteristics of the different phases of sleep, and in particular, why body temperatures tend to drop at certain points during the night.
Our bodies' internal temperature is controlled by a process called thermoregulation, in which mechanisms, such as shivering, alert us to the need to make the necessary adjustments to maintain minimal fluctuations in our core temperature while we're awake. As we sleep, however, body temperatures are reduced slightly during non-REM sleep. They fall to their lowest point during the REM stage. A drop of 1 to 2 degrees occurs because we require less energy.
Insomnia can be brought on by stress or anxiety, and it can wreak havoc on your sleep patterns. Stress can increase your metabolism, contributing to higher body temperatures. On the other hand, anxiety tends to cause your blood vessels to constrict, causing you to feel cold.
As mentioned above, adjusting your sleep environment, including your bedding, to accommodate your body temperature can help ensure you have a restful seven or more hours of sleep.
There's a high incidence of sleep disturbance related to atopic dermatitis, or eczema. Itchy, rash-like red lesions characterize the inflammatory skin disease that may occur on the arms and behind the knees. One study conducted by Jonathan I. Silverberg, et al. (2015) associated "significant interactions between eczema and fatigue, sleepiness and insomnia as predictors of poorer overall health status . . ., [including] higher probabilities of asthma [and other] allergies."
Once you've chosen the sheets that help send you off to dreamland for an uninterrupted seven hours, you'll want to maintain the integrity of the fabric by following the manufacturer's recommendations for washing.
The CDC suggests setting the water temperature as warm as possible for the specific material and thoroughly drying it to remove sloughed-off skin cells, dust mites and other allergens.
© 2021 American Sleep Association.