Thanks to indoor heating and modern insulation, we've progressed far beyond the chilly past when a literal nightcap was needed to keep you dreaming through subzero nights. But just because there's a thermostat at reach doesn't mean a little wearable warmth won't be appreciated during the winter's coldest nights. That's why we've put together this handy guide to the many, many types of pajamas you can reach for when you need to stay warm at night.
Flannel sits on the warmer end of the pajama spectrum. Like many other pajamas, flannel pajamas are made from cotton. The difference is that flannel pajamas are brushed on both sides. In addition to making the fabric softer, the brushing process allows flannel to trap more heat, and thus act as an insulator. This means that a flannel pajama set is your best choice for when nights turn truly frigid.
Are you looking for the warmth that flannel provides, but feel that a full flannel pajama set may prove too toasty? In that case, you'll want to look for a separate piece of flannel sleepwear, and flannel pajama pants may be your answer. As is the case with the pieces in a full flannel pajama set, flannel pajama pants are made with a heavier fabric and brushed on both sides. But in this instance, you'll be free to only wear the insulating fabric on your bottom half, where warmth may be needed most. Up top, you can keep it simple with a favorite T-shirt, or even a long sleeve Henley sleep top.
A sleep set made from fleece will provide the same level of insulation and comfort you know and love from your fleece sweaters. and fleece jackets and other womens fleece items. Better yet, many long sleeve fleece pajama sets are brushed for extra softness and made antistatic to prevent static shocks that may otherwise interrupt a good night's sleep. To obtain the highest level of warmth possible, opt for a set that includes long sleeves.
You can think of knit jersey sleep pants as a more versatile, yet still warming, alternative to flannel pajama pants. A pair of knit jersey sleep pants made from a cotton blend will still provide warmth, but won't prove as toasty as a pair of pajama pants made from flannel. They can also be easily worn as loungewear in the hours before you get ready for bed. To make your own sleep set, you can pair them with a long sleeve henley sleep top.
A long sleeve henley sleep top is a great alternative to a flannel sleep shirt. It's slightly more casual, and easier to wear separately as loungewear before bed. Yet it's made with modal-cotton blend that provides comfort and guarantees warmth. The feature that makes a henley a henley—the short button placket below the neck—also makes it easily adjustable, giving you the freedom to button or unbutton as the temperature demands.
There's a reason why the design of the nightgown has changed so little over the centuries it's been worn. This simple garment provides coverage from the neckline to below the knee, keeping the body in soft, insulated heat thanks to its cotton fabric.
Not ready to go full-on nightgown? We get it. As warming as that garment may be, it can still feel a little too traditional for some. If that's your take, you can still get the warmth you need by opting for a nightshirt instead. Like a nightgown, its over-the-shoulders design will provide coverage to areas that are most sensitive to nocturnal chills. Yet its aesthetic, which borrows from a mens' classic oxford shirt, has a more modern sensibility.