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.”

 Chill Angel Dresses Stellar Tank Dress            Chill Angel Bottoms Black / XS Athena Cropped Pant

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