Down vs. cotton vs. silk blanket/comforter
December 22, 2011 11:24 PM   Subscribe

I own this down alternative comforter. It causes me to wake up with sweaty legs, so I'm looking for a replacement. This article recommends that people in my situation should go with silk or cotton instead of down. Is there an advantage to do that over just getting a thinner down comforter? Note: my bedroom ranges from 62-65 at night.
posted by lunchbox to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I can tell you that I generally don't sweat much at night, but silk will make me sweat even if it's cold. It's not very breathable, or at least it doesn't feel that way to me. I've always wondered how anyone sleeps on silk sheets.

I would either get a thinner/lighter down comforter, or a cotton one. We have a thick down comforter we can only use when it's fairly cold, because it's too well insulated otherwise. We use a cotton one normally, and have no problems with it.
posted by Nattie at 11:52 PM on December 22, 2011

I own a silk comforter, and it's not the same thing as silk sheets -- it's some other material for the outer layers, with silk as the batting. It breathes fairly well, although IMO not quite as well as down. I have the silk comforter because of a down allergy, but I used down comforters before that was diagnosed, and my personal favorite is a thin down comforter -- one of the ones with square pockets for the down and about an inch of loft, tops.

Right now my system is a cotton-batting quilt and one or more blankets as needed. The blankets are polarfleece, which isn't fabulous for breathability, but it's working pretty well. I'm looking to upgrade to a thin wool blanket with the cotton-batting quilt at some point -- my bedroom is generally too warm for my heavy wool blanket, but a thin wool blanket would be the right weight and much more breathable than a polarfleece blanket.
posted by pie ninja at 4:02 AM on December 23, 2011

I have a cotton comforter and still get excessively warm (especially if the temperature changes rapidly overnight). What I do in that case is just stick my legs out from under it until they cool off.... So, try untucking your sheets.
posted by anaelith at 4:53 AM on December 23, 2011

I almost always get sweaty if I try to sleep under any kind of synthetic covering. Cotton sheets + wool blanket(s) does the trick for me. As your article says, "Wool is unique in that it is the only fiber that has the ability to adjust to an individual's body temperature. It allows the individual to stay cool when it is hot and warm when it is cold."
posted by Orinda at 5:57 AM on December 23, 2011

This may sound counterintuitive, but have you considered adding a layer between you and the comforter? I have problems with waking up all sweaty at night and recently got this blanket, that I use between my sheet and my down comforter with a cotton duvet cover. I thought the claims they made about "absorbing" excess body heat were pretty bold, but it did seem to take care of my waking up looking like I'd run a marathon issues.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 6:38 AM on December 23, 2011

Piggybacking on pixiecrinkle's suggestion, are you using sheets at all? (Apologies if this sounds obvious.)

We have a tendency to let the sheets get tangled up and pulled out from where they should be, then just throwing up our hands and wrapping in the blanket. I've found that when I make a concerted effort to keep the sheets spread out under the blanket, I'm much cooler in general.

I don't know why this works, since both the sheets and the comforter cover are 100% cotton and very soft, but such is life.
posted by Madamina at 7:21 AM on December 23, 2011

I'm sure some of the contradictory recommendations here could be explained by the detailed characteristics of the fabric -- thread count, chemical processing, etc. Cotton can be extremely comfortable, but not if it's treated with one of those ghastly "easy care" finishes. You might as well sleep under plastic. And the ultra-luxurious high thread count cottons can be too dense. Finding really comfy sheets and comforter covers is a crap shoot, but good results are more likely if you stick with organic (untreated, wrinkly) cotton, not too heavy or densely woven.

With a suitable cover, silk as a comforter filling is EXCELLENT. I'm delighted with a silk comforter I've had for a few months; even when the heat comes up and I'm a little warmer than I want to be, I never get sweaty anymore.
posted by Corvid at 1:20 PM on December 23, 2011

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