Are Microfiber Sheets or Cotton Sheets Best for Sleep?

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In this guide, we are outlining and comparing microfiber vs. cotton sheets: Which variety is best for your sleep? 

We have researched the two options in detail to better understand the difference between the two materials including the different types of cotton and microfibers available for bed sheets.

We looked at the breathability and durability of the two different types of bed sheets. We also considered the amount of time needed to wash and maintain these types of sheets. Lastly, we covered the advantages and disadvantages of cotton sheets and microfiber sheets.

At a Glance

The clear winner of the microfiber vs. cotton sheets debate is cotton since it is somewhat more durable, definitely more breathable, can absorb moisture, and is softer than microfiber sheets.

However, you never know what type of material is best for your particular sleeping needs. For example, if you want bed sheets that are easy to take care of, microfiber sheets and cotton ones are both easy to clean and dry. 

Microfiber sheets are especially easy since they provide wrinkle-free washing. You won’t need to iron these sheets.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of cotton versus microfiber sheets and vice versa.


Below, we compare a variety of features related to microfiber sheets and cotton sheets, such as:

  • Cost
  • Durability
  • Breathability
  • Allergy causes
  • Absorbency
  • Washing and drying maintenance

Cost Comparison

This feature is all about how much you spend on your bed sheets. Both microfiber sheets and cotton sheets are affordable unless you choose one of the more expensive items, such as Egyptian cotton. 

However, you’ll find that the costs of cotton may waver in price more than microfiber sheets. Pima and Egyptian cotton sheets are more pricey than microfiber ones. If you’re looking to save some money, you’ll find that microfiber sheets tend to be cheaper on average.

For this feature, microfiber sheets are the clear winner. However, saving a few bucks may not be worth it if the quality is inferior.

Durability Comparison

The durability feature is all about how resistant and strong a material is when you’re sleeping and kicking around or when a bed sheet is in the washer or dryer. Microfiber sheets vary greatly in durability, with some being very resistant while others are weaker and of poor quality.

As such, overall, cotton tends to be more durable since it lasts longer than many types of microfiber sheets. It’s less likely to rip and will last for years. 

Therefore, cotton is the winner in terms of durability and quality. You won’t regret getting cotton sheets if you’re looking for a long-term sleeping solution.

Breathability Comparison

The breathability of bed sheets is essential since you may find yourself sweating in the middle of the night and tossing and turning instead of getting a good night’s sleep. This is something that happens when the breathability of your bed sheet is inferior.

You’ll find that cotton is a truly breathable material. Air can move freely through cotton. While some forms of cotton are more breathable than others, on average, cotton does an impressive job of breathability.

Microfiber sheets are more synthetic and do not have good breathability. The multiple materials of microfibers tend to stop air movement throughout the sheets. 

The clear winner of the breathability feature is cotton. There’s no comparison.

Allergy-Causative Comparison

If you get a rash or get itchy in the middle of the night, you might have an allergy to the material of your sheets. Microfibers are more likely to irritate your skin due to their synthetic properties.

However, Egyptian cotton is much softer and more soothing to the skin, especially for people who have skin allergies. Cotton sheets can be a hypoallergenic option, especially since they are a more natural material than microfiber sheets.

Cotton sheets are also a better option for people with eczema, psoriasis, or other skin sensitivities. Essentially, cotton is the clear winner when it comes to preventing allergic reactions.

Absorbency Comparison

The feature of absorbency deals with whether a type of material can leave you feeling dry while removing excess moisture from the environment. Cotton sheets are more absorbent than microfiber materials. 

Cotton absorbs moisture quickly and will keep you cool and dry in the warm summer months. Microfiber materials are not as absorbent in terms of removing moisture from the air and keeping you dry. 

If you are someone who sweats during the night, then microfiber sheets are not for you. Cotton is more absorbent, which makes it the clear winner for this feature. To keep dry during the night, get yourself a pair of cotton sheets.

Cleaning and Maintenance Comparison

The amount of time it takes to wash, dry, and maintain your sheets is also an important factor to consider. Luckily, both microfiber sheets and cotton sheets are relatively easy to clean and maintain.

Both types only need to be thrown in the washer and dryer. You can also consider air drying these sheets. However, cotton tends to wrinkle more than microfiber sheets. As such, you’ll need to iron out cotton sheets.

Microfiber sheets are more likely to be wrinkle-free after being washed and dried. As such, it may be easier to maintain microfiber sheets. In this case, microfiber material is the winner of simpler maintenance.

Microfiber vs. Cotton Sheets: The Winner

Cotton is the clear winner in terms of the best bed sheet to improve your sleep. Cotton sheets are better than microfiber sheets because they are more durable, breathable, and absorbent while being less likely to cause skin allergies.

However, if you are more interested in buying the most inexpensive sheet, then you’ll want to choose microfiber sheets. Are you someone who wants wrinkle-free sheets and to spend less time maintaining your sheets? Then microfiber sheets might be the right choice.

Nonetheless, cotton wins out on most of the features we’ve covered. To purchase a pair of excellent cotton bed sheets, check out this option on Amazon.

Nate Devore
Nate Devore
For over 15 years Nate has been obsessed with solving his own personal and difficult health challenges related to sleep, energy, and fatigue. As one of our sleep experts at, Nate is passionate about helping you get the best night’s sleep possible.

Medical Disclaimer: The content on this page should not be taken as medical advice or used as a recommendation for any specific treatment. Always consult your doctor before making any decisions.

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