As relieved as we are that summer has finally got its act together, trying to sleep in double-digit temperatures is no fun at all.
Yet there is a way to make things more comfortable, and it needn’t cost as much as you might think. Linen is a fabric made from the long fibres of the flax plant (making it renewable and sustainable), and is particularly prized in the summer for its cooling, moisture-wicking properties.
While some wear it in the day, we’re looking to it to keep us cool on balmy summer nights - as our bed linen.
Easy to care for as well as being easy on the eye, dress your duvet and pillows in linen covers and prepare to drift off into a peaceful slumber. Best of all, it’s a year-round favourite, as cosy in the winter as it is breathable in the summer.
How to sleep in a heatwave
As well as switching your covers to linen, there are a few other ways to beat the heat at bedtime. Jessica Mason, linen expert and founder of Piglet reveals her top tips:
Try linen bed sheets: We sleep best when we are comfortably cool and dry, two of linen’s intrinsic technical feats. During the REM sleep stage, we are not very good at keeping our body temperature constant, so what we sleep in is crucial. According to a performance study by the University of Lorraine, France, linen achieved the highest score for airflow through the fabric in comparison to other regularly used bedding materials. Linen sheets are also non-allergenic, meaning they can help with hayfever symptoms which may still be apparent in the nighttime! Ditto moisture-wicking linen PJs.
Ventilation: Leave your bedroom window open a crack (having fresh air during the night is always a huge benefit) and consider investing in a fan to help the breeze circulate. You could also leave the bedroom door ajar as this can also prevent the room from feeling stuffy. If you don’t like sleeping with an open window, ensure you leave it open for as long as possible during the day.
Stick to your routine: Avoid napping if you can! The hot weather can make us feel more tired during the day because we are using up more energy to regulate our body temperature but napping can make it even harder to fall asleep at night. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (when possible) for the best sleep quality.
Block out the sunlight: With shorter nights and brighter mornings in the summer, it’s not just the heat that could be disturbing your sleep. Consider investing in black-out blinds or curtains. Alternatively, you may want to use a classic eye mask to keep the summer sun out of your eyes in the early morning!
Read a book: Reading before bed is a great way to take your mind off of daily stresses and relax! The physical act of reading is also a good way to tire your eyes.
Hydrate: Drink lots of water throughout the day to prepare your body for a good night’s sleep. However, avoid drinking very large amounts of water just before bed so that you don’t need to get up multiple times for the loo. Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks like coffee or cola too close to bedtime and be careful with soft drinks. Alcohol is linked to poor sleep quality.
Cut screen-time: Scrolling on your phone before bed isn’t the best idea, because your phone screen gives off blue light which signals to your brain that it’s still daytime. Aside from that, checking your phone before bed can induce anxiety and keep you psychologically alert. Switch off your phone an hour before bed to give your brain time to unwind.
We’ve rounded up some of the nicest options around.
See our favourites below
Bedfolk Linen Bedding Bundle
We spend a third of our lives in bed, so why not splash out on bed linen that makes it the nicest place in the house? Bedfolk’s bundle comes in a spectrum of cool-looking shades, all made from Belgian and French flax. The set comprises a duvet cover in all standard UK sizes plus a pair of pillows, delivered in a matching linen storage bag. You can add a sheet (fitted, deep and flat) for £60 extra. When winter comes, keep the look going by layering under a throw or blanket.
SEP Jordan Waffle Linen Throw Al Quds 180 x 150cm
Stay cosy with a throw that does good, as well as looks good. The Linen Home Collection from SEP Jordan is made in Jordan and hand stitched by the artists, who also happen to be refugees. Covered in a soft-to-the-touch waffle texture, it’s a wonderful extra layer to throw onto the duvet when it’s cold, but also makes a great cover for the summer months.
MADE Brisa 100% Linen Duvet Cover + 2 Pillowcases Double, Moss Green
If the cooling underside of a rock feels like a pretty good prospect, recreate the effect in your bedroom - minus the creepy crawlies - with MADE’s linen bedding set. Available in double, king and superking sizes, the two pillowcases and duvet cover will make a comfortable nest to curl up in. There are also matching fitted sheets available for a full makeover. There are plenty more colours available if this moss green doesn’t do it for you.
Piglet Deep Teal Linen Duvet Cover
Stay as cool as a cucumber under Piglet’s teal-coloured duvet cover, which comes in single, double, king and superking sizes. Made from 100 per cent French flax, this is truly a thing of beauty, getting softer with every wash. Button fastening and machine washable.
Simple & Opulence Washed Linen Cotton Blend Duvet Cover
Made with a mix of cotton and linen, this set comprises a duvet cover and two standard pillowcases in double, king and superking sizes. The all covers close with fabric ties, adding to the sumptuous feel of the set. Machine washable at 60 degrees or less.
AM.PM Elina Linen Duvet Cover
Available in a variety of pale pastel shades (shown here in pecan), this linen duvet cover feels as good as it looks. It’s pre-washed to avoid shrinking and the naturally crinkly look means there’s no need to iron. Pillowcases are sold separately, allowing you to create a tonal or statement contrast look.
Scooms Double Linen Bedding
Oh, the joy of clean white sheets! In the summer, the ecstasy of slipping between them can only be heightened by the fact they’re made from linen. The collection spans covers in all the standard UK sizes fastened with pretty mother-of-pearl buttons, a set of housewife-style pillows and fitted sheets. You can have your new bed linen in a flash too, there’s free next day delivery on UK orders made before 1pm in the week. Also available in grey and pink.
Heal’s Washed Linen Olive Bed Linen
If you’re anything like us, slipping into bed at the end of a long day is already a joyful experience. Take it up a notch with Heal’s range of luxury pre-washed linen - there’s fitted sheets, duvet covers and Oxford pillowcases.
Soak & Sleep French Linen Bedding
Made from fibres of Normandy flax, welcome to a fresh new level of bedtime sleeping. Soak & Sleep’s French Linen Bedding collection comes in a chic neutral and blue range of shades. All items have been pre-washed and pre-shrunk so there should be no surprises when you put it in the wash at home. You can get pillowcases, duvet covers, fitted sheets both standard and deep and flat sheets separately, allowing you to pair with bed linen you may already have. If you’re new to the bed linen game though, opt for the bundles to save a pretty penny.
IKEA Puderviva Duvet cover and pillowcase, light yellow
Sunny days are here, so why not get the bed linen to match? IKEA’s Puderviva set includes a cover and one pillowcase for a single, while double and king sizes come with two pillowcases. Everything closes with matching straps for a relaxed look. Also available in dark pink and dark blue.
Secret Linen Store Spice 100% Linen Duvet Cover
Available in a choice of five sizes for standard UK duvet covers, this rust-coloured design will brighten up any bedroom. Made in Portugal, keeping it spick and span couldn’t be simpler - just sling it in your next wash at 40 degrees.