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Not Getting Great Sleep? What You May Be Overlooking

Why upgrading this could truly help.

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photo collage of 3 women wearing menopause-friendly sleepwear, pajamas, sleep wear
AARP (Getty Images, 1; Courtesy of Honeylove, Courtesy of Dagsmejan, Courtesy of Cozy Earth)
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At a certain age, sleep is the new sex. It’s all you can think about. You’re miserable without it, and you’ll try just about anything to get satisfaction: new positions, mood music, premium sheets — even masks and electronic devices.

That’s because, as important as sleep is to mental and physical health, it’s also increasingly elusive as we age, especially for women. Data published in Sleep Science in 2022 revealed that half of postmenopausal women experienced a sleep disorder, and sleep quality declined as age increased.

There are plenty of components to good sleep hygiene, but one is often overlooked — what you wear to bed. People invest time and money in researching the best mattress and bed linens while ignoring the thing closest to their skin for hours each night.

This is a common mistake, says Betsy Seabert, 62, a cancer survivor and founder of Chill Angel, a company that specializes in temperature-balancing sleepwear. “You may have the best bed, but if you’re sleeping in plastic, you’re going to be uncomfortable. You have to start with what’s next to your body.”

While a matching set of satin PJs may be tempting from an aesthetic standpoint, they tend to make for a sweaty, slippery night (and I can’t be the only person who thinks sleeping in a button-down is wildly uncomfortable). “There is a lot of impractical sleepwear out there, for sure,” says Seabert, whose lightbulb moment came after many sleepless nights caused by a hormone blocker she had been prescribed for her cancer treatment. “It really affected my ability to manage my body temperature,” she says.

Seabert, who worked for years in the outdoor outfitter industry, realized that the merino wool used in outdoorsy items could also work for sleepwear. In addition to being a natural fiber, merino wool is hydrophilic and hydrophobic, which means it tends to pull excess moisture from your body (such as sweat while you’re sleeping) to keep you cool. At the same time, it evaporates that moisture while insulating you, keeping you from getting chilled.

“Temperature fluctuations at night impact our deep sleep phases particularly negatively,” says Catarina Dahlin, founder and CEO of Dagsmejan, another sleepwear brand designed to address this issue. But hot flashes aren’t the only thing about your sleepwear that impacts your ability to get quality sleep. “The blood flow in our skin increases at night, making us more sensitive to touch,” Dahlin says. That’s why choosing a soft, breathable fabric like wool (the varieties used for pajamas are usually a microfine variety, so it’s soft, not itchy), cotton, modal or even silk is crucial.

Research has found that most people move around in their sleep (an average of 40 times a night), so choosing sleepwear that fits comfortably, without irritating seams or tags, can also help ensure a restful night, adds Dahlin.

Finding sleepwear that accomplishes this and looks cute can take some effort, so here are tried-and-tested brands that check all the boxes to help you sleep more comfortably and finally get the satisfaction you deserve.

Chill Angel

Ultrafine merino wool controls the temperature while you sleep, whisking away excess heat and sweat and evaporating it without chilling you.

While you do have to be careful washing these — Seabert advises washing them in their own load, as denim or anything with buttons made abrade the delicate fabric — merino is naturally antimicrobial, so you don’t have to wash it that much. It’s also naturally anti-wrinkle and anti-static cling.

Tried: Stargazer Tee, $89, and Genie Jogger, $105

Tester says:I would never guess this is wool. It’s so lightweight and soft! It doesn’t seem like it could possibly keep me warm, but I had one of my best night sleeps ever in this outfit and only needed a light blanket. It’s not the most flattering style, but the tradeoff in sleep quality is worth it.”


This Swedish brand designs clothing to maintain an ideal sleeping temperature, whatever that is for you and even uses third-party testing to validate those claims. There are separate lines for hot sleepers, cool sleepers, and those who fluctuate throughout the night. The company also offers a 14-day “sleep comfort guarantee,” so if you don’t love it, you can return it for a full refund.

Made from a blend of eucalyptus-based fibers and a small amount of elastane/Lycra, these are machine washable and resist wrinkling.

Tried: Nattcool Sleep Tech T-Shirt Shirt, $95.90, and Nattcool Sleep Tech Shorts, $95.90

Tester says: “I was skeptical of the silky fabric, which seemed like it would lead to overheating despite the brand’s claims that it is eight times as breathable as cotton. But I had a really comfortable, sweat-free night's sleep. Also, I have to give points to this one for the design, which minimizes irritating seams and tags and still made me feel cute.”


This sleepwear is made from Tencel fabric, which comes from plant cellulose or wood pulp. The material tends to be pretty sustainable, and its soft, stretchy texture and breathability are appealing. Mesh panels add a little flair and help airflow. In addition to top and bottom sets, they also offer chemises if that’s your thing.

Machine wash on gentle, air dry.

Tried: BlissWear Short Sleeve Top, $69, and BlissWear Pant, $99

Tester says: “The fabric is super soft and kept me from overheating all night. But there may be too much of it, at least in the pants, which I like for lounging but felt a bit voluminous for sleeping, like sheets tangled around my ankles. I did like having the stability of a built-in bra in the cami I tried.”

Cozy Earth

This company started with bed sheets, so seeing if sleepwear made from the same stuff — a brushed bamboo blend — also works is an interesting idea. The shorts come in multiple lengths, and the shirts and tanks are available in different neck styles and colors, so the variety is nice.

Machine wash and dry.

Tried: Women’s Ultra-Soft Bamboo Shorts, $95, and Bamboo Raglan Tee, $75 on sale

Tester says: “This is a nice, comfy midweight set, but the fabric is definitely not as breathable as others I tried. It’s soft and smooth, with a simple but classic design, and stays decently cool. I’d enjoy wearing it to lounge around, but for anyone with extreme temperature issues while sleeping, there are better choices.”

Stripe & Stare

This mostly Tencel (aka tree fiber fabric) matching set was designed to be the epitome of cool and comfortable. The woman-owned company is also so committed to sustainability. In addition to using only biodegradable materials, it also plants one tree for every order.

Hand washing or a lingerie bag in the washing machine’s gentle cycle is recommended.

Tried: Lace Cami, $40, and The Original Brief, $24

Tester says: “When it’s warm out, I’m a fan of wearing as little to bed as possible, and this cute combo makes me feel attractive without being over-the-top. The fabric also really does feel softer than cotton! It breathes pretty well and there are a lot of different colors and patterns to choose from.”

What kind of pajamas do YOU wear to bed? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Article Topics: Lifestyle