Many of us have trouble getting enough quality sleep in normal times, let alone pandemic times—and night sweats and hot flashes certainly don’t make that any easier. I’m not here to say that moisture-wicking, cooling pajamas will make all your cares go away, but they can help make your nights more comfortable.
While night sweats tend to be associated with menopause, they can happen in people in their 20s and 30s who aren’t going through menopause. Some factors that mess with your body’s ability to thermoregulate are alcohol and stress (two things that, if you’re like me, you’re having more of in this hellscape of a year).
Hot flashes are one of the most common side effects of menopause, with around 80 percent of menopausal people having them. “Menopause is terrible for women’s sleep, and hot flashes exacerbate the sleep disturbances. When the skin changes temperature and sweating occurs, often drenching the bed clothes, sleep interruptions are inevitable,” says gynecologist Felice Gersh, MD, author of PCOS SOS Fertility Fast Track. “Hot flashes and night sweats are related to brain functions.” She says that while we don’t know the exact mechanism of hot flashes, we do have some insight.
There are two main things Dr. Gersch says could be causing hot flashes and night sweats in menopausal people. First, a drop in estrogen essentially causes the balance of your parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems to shift. Your sympathetic nervous system (you may know this as the one that controls your fight-or-flight response) has more output than your parasympathetic one. This leads to sweating and changes in skin temperature, Dr. Gersh says. It could also have to do with lowered hormone levels messing with your hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain that regulates your body temperature.
“Any method that keeps the skin cool and dry will benefit sleep,” says Dr. Gersh. “Moisture wicking sleepwear serves a very unique need to keep the skin cool and dry. That helps with comfort and therefore with sleep.” These sleep sets could help anyone experiencing night sweats or overheating, not just people who are menopausal. Below, shop our picks for cooling pajamas.
Don’t worry if you’re a person prone to spilling things, like I am—these comfy, cooling pieces also come in black and gray.
This pink chemise says, “I wake up in the morning to birds chirping and then drink an herbal tea while dyeing fabrics using berries I picked in the woods.” Even if your real life is more like like waking up to the sound of the garbage truck, laying in bed in for a full hour trying to summon the will to get through your to-do list, and then drinking four cups of black coffee. (Whichever one, at least you won’t be overheated.)
This delicate bamboo viscose set comes in black, cream, light blue, light pink, and sky blue. I need one in every color, please and thank you. (*Bank account screams into the void.*)
Shop now: Yala Savannah Lace Short Pajama Set, $88
This is the bedtime version of the comfy t-shirt dresses that have become a staple in our pants-less WFH outfit rotation. It’s made with a fabric that feels like soft cotton, but is better because it wicks away moisture and is anti-microbial. It comes in sizes S to 3X.
Though it looks and feels silky, this cami is made from bamboo lyocell—which is good for both the environment and keeping you cool while you slumber because it’s breathable and moisture-wicking.
Shop now: Ettitude Bamboo Lyocell Cami, $46
This set is made from bamboo lycra, which is quick-drying and cooling. It comes in approximately a zillion colors and prints, and is available in sizes S to 2X.
This tee and shorts duo is made of soft antibacterial, thermo-regulating fabric. It also made me wonder how many days in a row you can wear clothes before you’re classified as a hot mess, because the set is so comfy I never want to take it off.
Shop now: Recliner Sleep Tee Set, $105
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