Bamboo toothbrushes, cutting boards, and now quilts? It’s easier than ever to find all kinds of products made from bamboo, and fabrics are no exception. Bamboo quilts and comforters have exploded in popularity in recent years, and for a good reason: they’re soft, breathable, hypoallergenic, and durable.
But it begs the question: are bamboo quilts and comforters warm enough for those bitter cold winter months? Yes, they are! Bamboo quilts and comforters will keep you warm and cozy during the winter months because they help regulate your body temperature, prevent night sweats, and wick excess moisture away from the body.
Thanks to these qualities, bamboo quilts and comforters are an excellent bedding choice year-round. When compared to materials such as flannel, bamboo is especially beneficial for those who tend to sleep hot. Not to mention, bamboo bedding is highly versatile: cool enough during the summer but warm enough during the winter.
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Why switch to bamboo bedding?
For the eco-conscious consumer, an important consideration when buying a new product is its sustainability. As a fast-growing, easily processed material, bamboo is often touted as a more sustainable resource. This makes buying a bamboo quilt or comforter an appealing choice.
Fortunately, you can appreciate bamboo bedding for more than its smaller carbon footprint. When bamboo is processed into a fabric, the resulting material is breathable, anti-microbial, and moisture-wicking, making for a great night’s sleep any time of year.
Bamboo bedding helps regulate your body temperature
Bamboo quilts, comforters, and even bamboo sheets are excellent for thermoregulation. In fact, bamboo bedding is designed to help you regulate your body temperature for restful sleep.
The human body needs to maintain a core temperature between 97°F and 99°F in order to function. To account for natural changes in the environment, your body employs a variety of mechanisms to help keep your body temperature within that range.
For example, when your core temperature is too warm, your body reacts by sweating. Conversely, too cold and you’ll start shivering to generate heat, or you’ll naturally want to curl up to conserve warmth.
Thermoregulation and sleep
To understand the importance of body temperature regulation while sleeping, it’s important to understand what happens to the body when we go to sleep.
In preparation for sleep, your body will naturally begin to cool down. This is a key process for our natural circadian rhythm. As this happens, we become naturally more drawn to warmth; we begin nesting, curling up, and getting cozy for a night’s rest. Cold winter temperatures can intensify this process.
Our body temperature will continue to cool itself down during NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep and then start warming up during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
This process may lead to a familiar feeling: you load up on every blanket in your closet as you bundle up for the night, and wake up in the morning drenched in sweat. This is the result of excessive fabrics preventing your natural thermoregulation process. The discomfort can even interrupt your sleep and cause you to feel colder as the moisture cools your body down to compensate for that excess heat.
Bamboo bedding and thermoregulation
Quilts and comforters made from bamboo-derived fabric and filling are incredibly breathable yet warm enough for winter. While different brands may vary, bamboo quilts and comforters naturally prevent overheating and even wick excess moisture away from the body.
Having a material that wicks away excess moisture is crucial to staying warm. When our body temperature rises, we naturally sweat to regulate our temperature. This process helps cool us down. The excess moisture will then cool, creating a cooler, damp environment.
If the purpose of your blanket is to keep you warm, trapping moisture can be counterproductive as moisture cools off very quickly. If your bedding wicks away the excess moisture, not only will you be much warmer but also drier and sleep more comfortably overall.
Additionally, as with other bedding materials, bamboo is quite insulating. Despite being breathable, bamboo quilts can still trap enough heat to stay warm all night long.
How does bamboo compare to other bedding materials?
Cotton and flannel are two classic bedding materials, and both have their benefits. Cotton in particular is warm yet breathable, minimizing sweating while sleeping to keep you dry and warm. Flannel, on the other hand, is commonly used as bedding only during the winter, as it is much less breathable and can cause you to overheat in warm conditions.
Of the two, cotton is more suitable for year-round use thanks to its breathability. Similarly, bamboo bedding is breathable and absorbent, contributing to a warmer and cozier sleep without causing overheating or discomfort if you tend to run warmer during your REM sleep cycle.
This is particularly beneficial for sleepers who run warm, though you shouldn’t rule bamboo bedding out even if you sleep cool.
Are wool or fleece blankets good for my sleep?
Wool and polyester fleece are two additional materials used in the bedroom to stay warm. While they’re notoriously warm, they’re not commonly made into quilts or comforters because unlike cotton and bamboo, they lack the breathability that is crucial for a healthy sleep.
Wool is incredibly warm, however, it’s often heavy, rough, and can be irritating if you have sensitive skin.
Polyester fleece is gentler on the skin and can be very cozy, but it’s not considered a particularly breathable material. This means that it does little to prevent night sweats or overheating. As a synthetic fabric, polyester fleece is also notorious for shedding fibers and microplastics when washed.
That said, wool or fleece blankets can be a great supplement during the coldest nights. Simply lay a blanket on top of your comforter to keep you extra warm, though you may find you’ve kicked it off by the time you wake up.
Does bamboo keep you warm?
How can I tell if my bamboo bedding will be warm enough? While bamboo bedding can keep you warm during the cold winter months, quilts and comforters made from bamboo vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Fortunately, there are certain assessments you can look for in the product description that will help you choose the best bamboo comforter for you.
TOG (Thermal Overall Grade)
The thermal overall grade is a scale from 2.5 to 15, indicating how much insulation a comforter has. Typically, the higher the number, the more insulation the blanket provides, indicating how effective the comforter is at temperature regulation.
If you experience cold winters, like to keep your house cool, or simply sleep cold, it’s a good idea to choose a comforter with a TOG of 10 or higher. Likewise, choose one with a lower rating if you sleep hot even when temperatures are low.
GSM (Grams per Square Meter)
Another grading that many comforters have is grams per square meter. Similar to TOG, a higher GSM rating indicates warmer temperatures. For cold winters, a GSM rating of 400-500 is recommended.
If your bamboo comforter has filling, it may also have a particular fill weight. Generally, the higher the number, the more filling is in your comforter, meaning that your blanket will be warmer. For example, a comforter with a 30 oz fill weight is warmer than a comforter with a 25 oz fill weight of the same material.
Keep in mind that different fillings have different insulating properties. A quilt or comforter filled with 100% bamboo viscose is going to insulate slightly differently than a comforter filled with 100% down. That said, fill weight is still a helpful metric by which to compare products made with similar or the same materials.
Are bamboo quilts good?
There are many reasons why people choose a bamboo comforter or quilt. Bamboo comforters are significantly softer than most commercial cotton or flannel. While some brands of cotton or flannel may be slightly warmer than a bamboo comforter, the material can be coarse or itchy.
An additional benefit is that bamboo is a very durable material and will withstand typical wear and tear. You can extend the life of a bamboo quilt by following proper care guidelines and fluffing it regularly.
That said, knowing your unique sleep patterns and habits will go a long way in picking the best quilt or comforter for you. For example, your particular sleep patterns can be impacted by:
- Personal health conditions
- Household temperatures
- Taking certain medications
- Alcohol consumption
- Sharing bedding
- Stress levels
Some people naturally run warm while they sleep and thus benefit from a cooler, lightweight comforter. Others can pile on blankets and still feel cold, so a heavier quilt is called for. The choice you make ultimately comes down to finding a bedding that works for your unique needs.
Still feeling like temperatures aren’t quite right at night? Consider changing the thermostat, wearing socks or pajamas at night, or snuggling up with a furry friend.