How to find a duvet cover for your ideal sleeping temperature

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Cotton and linen are temperature-regulating, while synthetic fabrics are affordable and durable, according to our experts. Vivian Le / NBC News

Sleep isn’t just a luxury; it’s essential for learning, memory, mood regulation and healing, according to the journal of Sleep Medicine: X. That’s where comfortable bedding comes in — it can help balance body temperature and facilitate a good night’s sleep.

If you prefer bedding that feels fully customized to your sleep needs, a duvet cover is likely your best option. Duvet covers allow you to separate, swap out and clean the outermost layer of your bedding whenever you need a refresh, and the best ones are about so much more than aesthetics, according to our experts.

“Body temperature and comfortable bedding play a critical role in the quest for deep sleep,” says Dr. Kavita Mathur, who has a Ph.D. in fiber and polymer science and is an associate professor at Wilson College of Textiles at North Carolina State University. As a result, while it may be tempting to choose your duvet cover based on looks alone, it’s much more important to consider the material and functionality if you want to get a good night’s sleep.

To learn more about duvet covers, we spoke to a textile professor, a sleep expert and an interior designer. Below, you’ll find their shopping tips and tricks about what to look for when it comes to materials and important features.

SKIP AHEAD How we picked the best duvet covers | The best duvet covers | How to shop for duvet covers | What about thread count?

We interviewed three experts who specialize in bedding, textiles or interior design. They recommend keeping the following in mind while shopping:

Below are some of the most popular duvet covers on the market, all of which align with our expert’s guidance about material and functionality. We also included a range of colors to suit varying design preferences. All of the duvet covers on this list are either direct recommendations from our experts, materials we’ve tried first-hand or reviewer-favorites with at least 4.4 stars from more than 500 reviewers. (While some of these duvet covers come in a set that includes matching shams, none of them come with duvet inserts, which are sold separately.)

Brooklinen Luxe Sateen Duvet Cover

Brooklinen’s luxe sateen sheets are my go-to set for summer and this bestselling duvet cover is made from the same smooth, versatile fabric. The 100% cotton cover is Oeko-Tex certified (meaning that all included materials have been tested by independent partner institutes and declared free from known harmful substances). It also has large buttons and corner ties to keep your insert in place. Since cotton sateen is both breathable and temperature-regulating, it’s a good option for year-round use, according to our experts. This duvet cover comes in both solid colors and patterned designs.

Microfiber is a low-maintenance material that’s often more affordable than natural fabrics (such as cotton and linen), according to our experts. This highly rated option, which has 4.4-star average rating from more than 92,000 reviews on Amazon, is made from a brushed microfiber that is smooth, wrinkle-resistant and machine-washable, according to the brand. Like other options on our list, the button closures and reinforced corner ties are designed to keep your insert securely in place.

Material: 100% brushed microfiber | Available sizes: Twin/twin XL, full, queen, king, California King | Available design options: 30 | Includes: duvet cover and two pillow shams

The Modern Dane European Linen Duvet Cover Set in BlÄig

Paired with a down-alternative insert from Amazon, this Modern Dane duvet cover has been my bedding of choice for two years. It’s woven and hand-sewn by Portuguese craftspeople using 100% Oeko-Tex-certified flax, according to the brand. Initially, I intended to use it as a seasonal comforter during the summer months, but I found the linen material so soft and temperature-regulating, I’ve kept it on my bed year-round. I also love the white and lavender floral design, which is unique but easy to coordinate with my existing decor. My only complaint: I wish it had more than four ties to secure the insert in place.

NBC Select updates editor Mili Godio recommends this percale duvet cover from Parachute, which is made from 100% Oeko-Tex-certified cotton that’s woven into a crisp texture. “It’s not as thick as most duvet covers I’ve tried in the past, so it’s great for all seasons,” says Godio, who overheats at night and prefers something lightweight that won’t trap body heat. “It’s also great quality and feels durable, so I know it’ll last a long time.” Buttons and four corner ties keep the duvet insert of your choice anchored inside.

“I discovered this brand years ago when I was dealing with a weird skin infection and had to overhaul a lot of my routines and products,” says NBC Select SEO editor Nikki Brown. This sateen duvet cover is made from GOTS-certified organic cotton that’s free from toxins and allergens and dyed using only plants (such as indigo, madder or nutgalls), according to the brand. The fabric has “just enough weight to it” for cool, comfortable sleeping and doesn’t irritate sensitive skin, according to Brown, who also says that it’s easy to attach and detach inserts to this cover. It’s available in five muted colors that you can put in the washing machine.

In my experience, California Design Den’s bedding is comparable to Brooklinen bedding: It has a 100% cotton construction, and a crisp, cooling texture at a much lower price point. This three-piece duvet cover set is made from cotton sateen and includes a comforter and pillow shams. The button closures, four corner ties and reinforced stitching are designed to keep the insert in place and boost durability, according to the brand. In addition to prints and solid colors, the brand also sells textured covers.

Lauren Farrell, head of interior design for Pacaso, a company that facilitates co-ownership and management of luxury vacation homes, recommends Peacock Alley bedding for its style and comfort. (Farrell designs all Pacaso home interiors and prefers to incorporate 100% cotton duvet covers into her designs.) Because of its cotton percale construction, this is a good option for hot sleepers and hot weather, according to our experts. While the duvet itself is only available in white, the embroidery around the hem comes in 16 color options.

Ashley Morris, NBC Select associate SEO reporter, hasn’t used another duvet cover since Buffy sent her this one to try. She says its cooling features help regulate her body temperature while sleeping, and that it’s extremely soft. Plus, according to her, the button closures make it easy to slip on and off when it’s time for a wash.

This duvet set is one of the highest-rated options at Ikea — it has a 4.7-star average rating from more than 500 reviews. It’s made from 100% cotton and has a French-inspired floral pattern in a white and gray shade that goes with various color schemes. (That said, Ikea has plenty of other cotton duvet sets in other designs, too.) You can machine wash it on warm, and tumble dry it on a medium cycle, according to Ikea.

While this European duvet cover set is more budget-friendly than other linen sets on this list, it’s still made from 100% flax that’s Oeko-Tex certified and has corner ties and button closures to secure the insert in place. Each order also includes two envelope-closure shams. The linen is pre-washed for a soft, lived-in feel and the texture gets softer with every wash, according to the brand. It’s available in both solid colors and striped patterns.

Flannel is one of the most insulating materials for cold weather or those who run chilly while sleeping, according to our experts. During the winter, L.L. Bean’s Ultrasoft flannel is my fabric of choice, and this comforter cover is made from the same brushed cotton. In my experience, the fabric is pill-resistant and gets softer with every wash, contributing to the warm, cozy texture. It also has hidden button closures and internal ties.

Handwoven by Turkish artisans, this Citizenry duvet set is made from fair-trade and GOTS-certified cotton. (The Global Organic Textile Standard [GOTS] is the leading processing standard for organic fibers). The four thin layers of fabric create a gauzy effect that’s designed to feel lightweight and breathable, while also adding texture to your bedroom.

This cotton duvet cover is breathable, which makes it a solid option for hot sleepers, and has a medium weight that isn’t too heavy or overbearing during sleep, according to the brand. To help with fastening, the cover has four corner ties and a two-way zipper closure. It’s also a bestseller, with a 4.5-star average rating from over 20,000 ratings on Amazon.

Material: 100% cotton | Available sizes: Twin XL, twin, full/queen, king, California king, super king, oversized king | Available design options: 29 | Includes: duvet cover and two pillow cases

While you can further customize the weight and temperature of your bedding via your insert, the duvet cover will regularly come into contact with your skin and be the most visible layer of your bedding. As a result, in addition to aesthetics, you should also consider your preferences when it comes to texture, temperature and ease of maintenance, according to our experts. Our experts recommend using the following criteria to help you select a duvet cover:

Material is the most important factor to consider while shopping for any kind of bedding, according to our experts. Keep in mind that the same material can be woven into different types of fabric. (For example, percale and brushed flannel are often both made from cotton, but they have vastly different weights and textures.) These are the best materials for duvet covers, according to our experts:

Your duvet cover will come into contact with (and protect the insert from) sweat, makeup and stains, so choose one that you can maintain, according to our experts. Prioritize fibers you can easily wash to maintain their softness, appearance and integrity over duvet covers that require special care like dry cleaning, the cost of which will add up over time, says Mathur. Check the care instructions before purchasing, which will vary depending on the materials and construction, Mathur told us.

A duvet cover should fit and stay attached to its insert. “Ensure the duvet cover matches the size of your duvet insert to achieve a snug fit,” says Holly Adorno, sleep expert and the director of player development at Bedgear, a company that studies sleep patterns and creates bedding. Additionally, look for internal ties, zippers or buttons that secure the insert inside of the duvet cover, so it doesn’t shift around while you’re sleeping, says Mathur.

Finally, duvet covers come in countless colors and patterns, so it’s an opportunity to express your style. Farrell recommends “neutral calming shades to ensure a peaceful sleeping environment.

At NBC Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

Maria Cassano is an e-commerce writer, editor and consultant who has covered sleep products for nearly a decade. You can find her bedding content in publications such as Bustle, Allure, CNN, Mattress Insider and MyDomaine. Ashley Morris is an associate SEO reporter for NBC Select, covering skin care, wellness, home and kitchen and more. For this article, Cassano interviewed three experts across the textile, bedding and interior design space.

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