Are satin or silk sheets better for sleep? These experts unanimously agree that one comes out on top

Discover which material has the upper hand when it comes to a luxurious slumber, and which fails to perform

a modern bedroom with white silk sheets
(Image credit: Gingerlily)

If you want to upgrade your bed sheets, both silk and satin look a lot more luxurious than your standard cotton thanks to their silky smoother texture. But, while they do have plenty of shared qualities, there are still some big differences between silk and satin that have a big impact on your bed - and your sleep - that you ought to know about before making the switch. 

Cotton has had a monopoly on bedding materials for far too long and it's time we open our minds to the other possibilities. If you want a bed with a hotel-like feel, utilizing different materials is key, and slinky sheets beneath a heavy comforter are the pinnacle of chic bed dressing to me. Not to mention the bed is the most important, and sacred, piece of furniture in the home, responsible for ensuring a restful slumber. And of course, picking the right sheets is vital to this. 

To discover more about the differences between silk and satin sheets we spoke to some bedding experts who revealed the pros and cons of each, and they both agree that one comes up trumps. To find out which one to introduce to your modern bedroom, here's what you need to know. 

What are the benefits of silk sheets? 

blue silk sheets

(Image credit: Amazon)

I'm sure you've heard big claims about silk sheets from people who use them. Silk pillowcases are particularly popular as they promise to be kind to skin and hair. They supposedly reduce the frizziness of your hair which can lead to breakage and split ends, and they keep your face hydrated and wrinkle-free. Whilst only time will tell on the wrinkle front, I can attest to the reduction in bedhead hair. 

However, the benefits of silk are not restricted to beauty. It might also be a solution for those of you who need some help regulating your temperature at night. 'If you’re a hot sleeper and wake up in the night overheating, then silk is the perfect solution for you,' says Ruth Stevens of luxury bedding brand Sheridan. Silk is a natural thermoregulator which means it works to keep your body at a stable temperature, helping you to sleep better.

Silk is also hypoallergenic, making it ideal for the most sensitive of skins, and it's highly absorbent, too. This makes it the perfect bedding material for summer. Unlike cotton or linen, it's also sumptuously soft and silky which offers unparalleled comfort and a far more expensive feel. The benefits of this material really do have the one up over cotton, and that's before even beginning to mention how fabulous they look on your bed!

Are satin sheets as good as silk?

Satin bed sheets

(Image credit: Walmart)

Silk and satin sheets may look similar, but there are a few distinct differences that you should note. Firstly there's the appearance. Satin has a glossy top but is dull on the other side which may become an issue if you were hoping to perform some clever bed styling.

Satin is also synthetic, meaning it doesn't have some of the natural benefits of silk. 'Satin actually refers to the type of weave, rather than fabric, as it can be made from various materials,' says Jessica Hanley, founder of Piglet in Bed. 'This means the finish has a smooth and shiny surface, but it may not be as breathable as cotton or linen sheets.' 

This also means they don't boast as many benefits as silk. Due to their synthetic nature, they're not as breathable or temperature-regulating as silk which is something to be aware of if you're prone to overheating. Another consideration is washing. Surprisingly, satin requires more careful washing than silk as it cannot be machine washed, so you'll need to be prepared to dry clean! 

Which sheets are better, satin or silk? 

It is clear both silk and satin sheets are ideal for executing luxurious bedroom ideas, but silk offers far more benefits when it comes to general health and wellbeing. If the aesthetic is all you're after then satin sheets might be the way forward, but where better sleep, stronger hair, and glowing skin are involved, we think it's definitely paying the extra for silk sheets. 

Amy McArdle
News writer

Amy recently completed an MA in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London, with experience writing for Women’s lifestyle publications across arts, culture, and beauty. She has a particular love for the minimalist aesthetic mixed with mid-century furniture, especially combining unique vintage finds with more modern pieces. Her previous work in luxury jewellery has given her a keen eye for beautiful things and clever design, that plays into her love of interiors. As a result, Amy will often be heard justifying homeware purchases as 'an investment', wise words to live by.