Winter Sleep Guide: Create a Cozy, Layered Bed for Winter Comfort

When cool weather rolls in, swap out your lightweight summer layers for winter-ready sheets, blankets, and bedding essentials that help you find the deep, relaxing slumber you crave. If you're looking to create a cozy haven that will keep you warm and comfortable on chilly nights, explore our coziest bedding ideas. Here's our best advice for creating warm, comfy spaces where you'll love to snuggle up, and quick tips for getting better sleep all winter long.

Top Bedding Tips for Warm Winter Sleep

When it comes to winter bedding, the best option is to layer multiple pieces rather than rely on a single, bulky blanket for warmth. Bedding layers allow you to adjust your covers as necessary by adding an extra throw when you're super chilly or kicking off the top blanket on an unexpectedly warm night. That way, you can customize your comfort in a matter of minutes so you get a restful sleep.

What Bedding is Best for Winter?

Whether you're a cold sleeper year-round or just want to add extra warmth during the chilly months, we can help you choose the best bedding for winter—no matter your sleep preferences. While cozying up under the warmest blanket seems tempting, it's important to choose winter bedding that's lightweight and breathable, too. To create the perfect winter bed, consider materials, fabric type, and fill:

  • Fiber Type: Pure cotton or cotton blends produce warm, yet breathable bedding for the best comfort.
  • Fabric or Material Type: Brushed-soft flannel, buttery-smooth sateen, or T-shirt cozy jersey-knit sheets are some of the warmest winter blanket and bedding options.
  • Thread Count: A higher thread count means a tighter fabric weave that keeps you warmer—great for winter—while a lower thread count offers a looser weave for hot sleepers.
  • Down Fill: Lofty, lightweight down fill provides warmth that breathes, making it the perfect fill for a wintertime comforter.
  • Down Alternative Fill: Just as lofty and warm as down, down alternative fill is ideal for those who prefer down-free bedding.

How to Layer Your Bed for Winter Comfort

When the mercury drops, you'll get the best comfort when you choose multiple, varied layers for adjustable warmth. When layering winter bedding, follow these guidelines for a bed that's as comfortable and gorgeous as a cozy inn:

  1. Start with what goes under the sheets: A featherbed or wool mattress pad is a comfy foundation for chilly nights that also provides insulating warmth.
  2. Add sheets made for cool weather: Pack up the linen and TENCEL™—these lightweight materials are perfect for summer, but when winter rolls around you'll want a fitted and flat sheet with a tighter weave. While a fitted sheet is necessary, a flat sheet is optional—but the extra layer provides a bit of warmth and acts as a barrier between you and your duvet cover, allowing for extended time between washes.
  3. A blanket comes next: Top off the sheets with a lightweight blanket for another layer of warmth. Breathable cotton, lofty down, insulating wool, or soft and fuzzy fleece are the warmest blankets for winter. They trap heat close to the body without causing you to overheat. If you're a warmer sleeper, you may choose an extra-cozy blanket and skip the comforter.
  4. The comforter is a favorite, lofty layer: Down or down alternative, printed or solid, paired with a duvet cover or on its own, a cozy comforter is the first thing that comes to mind when we think 'winter slumber.' The comforter (also called a duvet insert) is the secret for how to layer blankets for maximum warmth: Choose an ultra-warm duvet insert for the coziest single-layer option, or a lightweight or medium insert if you like to stack on multiple layers.
  5. Top it all off with a gorgeous quilt: Dress up your bed with a stunning quilt or coverlet for even more warmth. The best quilt for winter is a lightweight, breathable option crafted of cotton—layered with your other bedding. Choose from embroidery, appliqué, whole cloth, or patchwork options to bring more personality to your space.
  6. Include accessories for warmth and style: A throw blanket or folded blanket at the foot of the mattress keeps your toes toasty and keeps an extra layer within reach for especially frigid nights. Then, consider these bedroom accessories for an extra-inviting space:
  • Rugs keep the floor warm—no chilly toes here!
  • Curtains block the cold and keep warmth in.
  • Pretty and plush throw pillows are perfect accents for a magazine-worthy bed.
  • Keep your bathrobe and slippers at the ready, so you can pull them on the moment you get out of bed.
  • Warm color schemes add a sense of coziness that cool hues just can't match.
  • Lamps create a warmer feel than overhead lights.

How to Get Better Sleep in Winter

Changing seasons may mean changes in sleep quality. While dipping temperatures may be partly to blame, if your winter sleep is suffering, go beyond layering for warmth to make a few changes to your room and routines for more restful nights.

Woman and dog on bed
  • Consider light and circadian rhythms. Shorter winter days and less time spent in the sun mean less exposure to natural light. This may make you feel tired earlier in the day, but don't change your sleep schedule. Instead, keep your curtains open during the day, count on indoor lighting after the sun goes down, and maintain a normal sleep schedule.
  • Don't fall out of regular exercise routines. Exercise through the winter, too—if you don't want to jog in slush and snow, look for alternative indoor workout options. Exercise can contribute to better sleep, so stopping won't do you any favors.
  • Sleep comfortably cool. If you're too hot, you'll have difficulty sleeping, but you'll be uncomfortable if it's too cold, as well. Find a happy medium. According to sleep experts, the ideal sleep temperature is 65 degrees. Get that ideal temperature by keeping your thermostat low, choosing bedding layers to maintain a comfortable sleeping temperature, and wearing comfortable, breathable pajamas when it's time to tuck in.
  • Keep your toes warm, too. Should you wear socks to bed? Socks or no socks, that's all about personal preference. But if you choose to wear them, make sure they're comfy! Itchy, tight, baggy, or too-warm socks are going to keep you awake, so find sleeping socks that are soft, breathable, and fit well. Merino wool blends are a great choice.
  • Wind down with a relaxing routine. Try a long soak in the bath or a mug of chamomile tea before kicking back wearing cozy flannel PJs and a plush Terry bathrobe—create your perfect nighttime habits to prepare your body and mind for bed.

Winter nights may be chilly outside, but inside you'll be snugly bundled under cozy layers of blankets. Create the perfect space for restful slumber even on the snowiest of nights and you'll wake up refreshed and ready, morning after morning. Explore our other Guides for more bedding and sleep tips.