The effects of fabric for sleepwear and bedding on sleep at ambient temperatures of 17°C and 22°C

Nat Sci Sleep. 2016 Apr 22;8:121-31. doi: 10.2147/NSS.S100271. eCollection 2016.


The fibers used in clothing and bedding have different thermal properties. This study aimed to investigate the influences of textile fabrics on sleep under different ambient temperature (T a) conditions. Seventeen healthy young participants (ten males) underwent nine nights of polysomnography testing including an adaptation night. Participants were randomized to each of the three binary factors: sleepwear (cotton vs wool), bedding (polyester vs wool), and T a (17°C vs 22°C with relative humidity set at 60%). Skin temperature (T sk) and core temperature (T c) were monitored throughout the sleep period. Sleep onset latency (SOL) was significantly shortened when sleeping in wool with trends of increased total sleep time and sleep efficiency compared to cotton sleepwear. At 17°C, the proportion of sleep stages 1 (%N1) and 3 (%N3) and rapid eye movement sleep was higher, but %N2 was lower than at 22°C. Interaction effects (sleepwear × T a) showed a significantly shorter SOL for wool than cotton at 17°C but lower %N3 for wool than cotton at 22°C. A significantly lower %N2 but higher %N3 was observed for wool at 17°C than at 22°C. There was no bedding effect on sleep. Several temperature variables predicted the sleep findings in a stepwise multiple regression analysis and explained 67.8% of the variance in SOL and to a lesser degree the %N2 and %N3. These findings suggest that sleepwear played a contributory role to sleep outcomes and participants slept better at 17°C than at 22°C.

Keywords: core body temperature; cotton; polyester; polysomnography; skin temperature; wool.