Dressing Down for Down

How sleeping naked under down covers can actually keep you warmer

Couple under down comforter

Night after night you snuggle under your down comforter, and night after night you wake up grasping for another cover to keep you warm.

You think, “Maybe down isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

“Maybe my thermostat is broken.”

“Maybe I’m sick!”

No, no, and no. You are not sick, and neither is your thermostat. And your down comforter? It’s one of the best insulators available, and that’s not just hype. The problem isn’t with you, your comforter, or your heating system. The problem is what you’re wearing to bed.

On those cold blustery nights, nothing is better than sliding under the covers, cozy in your flannel PJs, except sliding under a goose down comforter with no PJs at all.

Woman feet under white blanket side view. Beautiful young woman feet with blue pedicure on the bed. Sleeping woman legs under the white blanketThat’s right. Especially on the coldest nights, the best way to sleep with a down comforter is commando style (and not just because your partner would prefer it.)

There’s actual science backing the crazy notion that sleeping naked is actually warmer than sleeping in your heavy flannels when your covers are down filled.

Especially on the coldest nights, the best way to sleep with a down comforter is commando style.

The magic of down

Here’s the low down on down. Goose or duck down comforters keep you warm by trapping your body heat in the air surrounding the filaments on the down clusters. The more heat they can trap, the warmer the layer of air, the warmer you are. But your down comforter can only keep you as warm as the body heat it is able to trap.

Your heavy PJs feel toasty by keeping the cold away from your body, which prevents the transfer of body heat to your surroundings, including your down comforter. No heat transfer means the down can’t do its job of creating the warming layer of air, and you will feel cold — because you are. Essentially, you’ve gone to bed with almost no cover at all.

Add that to your body’s natural drop in body temperature when you sleep, and your ideal bedroom temperature of 60 – 67° F, and you’ve created a recipe for a chilly night. No wonder you wake up wondering if your heating system has called it quits!

So, save your pajamas for lounging in front of the fire. (Find some of our favorite pajamas here.) When it comes time to slip between the sheets, toss them aside and let your down comforter work its magic.

Your down comforter can only keep you as warm as the body heat it is able to trap.

How to find the best down comforters

Haven’t tried a down comforter yet? There are plenty of options to choose from, and the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming, so we’ve created a list of features to look for in the best down comforters.

  • Construction. Look for stitching or baffling that will prevent the down from clumping or shifting to the corners and edges, leaving cold spots. Common techniques include:
    • Baffle box: Internal fabric connects the top and bottom layers of the shell to create separate compartments.
    • Sewn-through box: Stitching the top and bottom layers of the shell in a checker-board pattern creates compartments to keep down clusters from clumping.
  • Down types. Natural down comes from geese or ducks. Both work well to insulate but goose down clusters may be larger, creating a higher loft and therefore greater warmth. Down alternatives include synthetic fills like polyester or natural alternatives like cotton, wool, silk, or Hypodown, a combination of white goose down and milkweed floss. While high-quality true down fills are washed multiple times to remove allergens, down alternatives start out 100% hypoallergenic.
  • Fill power refers to the level of down filler in the comforter. The higher the fill power, the better it will trap heat and keep you warm. Many comforters will advertise their warmth rating. If they don’t, look instead for the fill power. The higher the fill power, the warmer the comforter. A fill power of 650 is a good medium warmth comforter.
  • Fill weight is down’s weight measured in ounces. The desired fill weight of a comforter is a matter of preference; some people like the feel of a hefty cover, while others enjoy the light airiness of a low fill weight. Fill weight does not necessarily affect the comforter’s ability to keep you warm. A comforter with a high fill weight but a low fill power will feel hefty but not too hot.
  • Shell fabric and thread count. Look for 100% cotton shell with a high thread count (300 or more). Cotton is more breathable than synthetic fabrics, allowing moisture to pass through and away from your body. Drier skin means warmer body. Higher thread count not only means a smoother, silkier feeling shell, but the denser fabric will keep the down fill from leaking out and be more durable.

While high-quality true down fills are washed multiple times to remove allergens, down alternatives start out 100% hypoallergenic.

Our picks for best down comforters

Take a look at some of our favorite down comforters available. If you want to learn more about any of these brands, we’ve got you covered in the section below.

 Brand Construction Fill Power Shell fabric Care Price for Queen
Eddie Bauer Striped Damask Goose Down Comforter Sewn-through box 700 100% cotton

350 thread count

Machine washable $169.99
Cozy Feather Real Goose Down Comforter Baffle Box 750 100% cotton

400 thread count

Dry clean only $195
The Company Store Alberta Euro Down Comforter Baffle Box 600-650 100% cotton

300 thread count

Machine washable $239 – $384

(Normally $269-$429)

JCPenney Royal Velvet Down Comforter Baffle Box 600

650

700

100% cotton 350 thread count Machine washable $220-$440
Pacific Coast Luxury Goose Down Comforter Baffle Box 700 100% cotton

680 thread count

Dry clean only $499.99

Eddie Bauer Striped Damask Goose Down Comforter

If you’re looking for the lightweight warmth of down that you can enjoy all year long at an affordable price, this is the comforter for you. Not quite as lofty as other down comforters, the smooth, sleek lines of Eddie Bauer’s down comforter keep your bed looking as great as it feels. And you can keep it looking great by washing it right along with your other linens in your own washer and dryer. Gotta love washable down!

Word on the Street

4.5/5 (142 reviews)

“This comforter is fantastic. The quality is great, and when they say oversized, they’re not lying. It’s truly oversized. My husband and I no longer steal the covers from each other. I have the King size, and it has a good loft and fill amount. I would recommend this comforter to anyone looking for great quality, good price, and a truly oversized comforter.” Randy R.

“After much research and reading its reviews I find this comforter to be everything it promises. It fits great on my king bed – doesn’t slide. there are no feathers coming out even though I put in the dryer on air to fluff. It is cozy but not too warm as I am a “hot’ sleeper and I usually throw off my covers. Not this one. I also don’t like weight on my legs but this EB comforter is so light it remained on me all night – no sliding off either. I love it!!!” D.A. Holland

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CozyFeather Real Goose Down Comforter

Cozyfeather Goose down duvet

The high fill power of this CozyFeather comforter creates a high loft that invites you to crawl under. Allergy suffers can rest assured with CozyFeather’s high thread count shell that prevents down leakage and their hypoallergenic guarantee. This comforter is dry clean only, so we recommend protecting it with a duvet cover that is easier to launder.

Word on the Street

4.5/5 (80 reviews)

“I am soooooo in love with my bed right now! Only problem is getting out of it every morning. I did buy a duvet cover to go over mine for ease of washing. My daughter was so jealous, so I bought one for her room as well. Also bought one for my aunt! These are just amazing!” Wendy B.

“With its great warm factor, you probably will not be wanting to use it all year long!! I replaced my older down comforter (one that I was able to use all year long) with this 750 fill and I can already tell that I will not be able to use this one during the summer months because of how well it keeps the warmth in. Even though I will not be able to use it during the summer, I’m very happy with the purchase. The baffles keep the down in their “squares” better than other comforters, which helps eliminate “cold” sections. I’m happy and recommend the comforter…just remember that it will keep you very toasty!!” TX Storm

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The Company Store Alberta Euro Down Comforter

The Company Store down comforter

The company Store knows that people want options, so options they offer you. Their Alberta™ Euro Down Comforter is available in five different colors and three levels of warmth, so you can customize your comforter for individual style and comfort. A six-step purification process ensures that their down is hypoallergenic, and it is machine washable, so you can easily keep it that way.

Word on the Street

4.9/5 (17 reviews) 

“I’ve owned at least 6 of these over the past 20 years, in various sizes, in medium or extra warmths. I sleep under mine year round, although other family members use theirs only in the colder months. They don’t leak down, they’re generously sized, and they’re warm and comfortable.” Sleeping Comfy 

“I have had this comforter—extra warmth twin—for a little more than a month now. The “build quality” is superb, as is its performance. The past couple of weeks, we have had some extremely cold weather, getting down to +1 degree (F) at night. We let the room get down to 63 degrees at night, and I am a very cool sleeper, meaning I need to be enclosed in warm covers. This comforter has worked superbly. I was surprised at how quickly I warmed up under it, and it has always kept me perfectly warm without overheating. I recommend it without any reservation whatsoever. My typical view of products from The Company Store!” Mike

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JCPenney Royal Velvet Down ComforterJC Penny down comforter

JCPenney gives you three different levels of fill power, so you can choose your warmth according to your climate, bedroom temperature, and body temperature when sleeping. Level 1 (600 fill power) provides lightweight warmth, Level 2 (650 fill power) is medium warmth for year-round use, and Level 3 offers extra warmth for those blustery winter nights. The oversized design gives you ample draping over the sides. And these comforters are machine washable for easy care.

Word on the Street

4.5/5 (17 reviews)

“thrilled with this comforter. follow instructions and let it sit out of package for 2 days so it plumps up….and it does! very warm, and big.
price was outstanding as it was on sale” doglover
 

“Perfect blanket for my pregnancy hormones of body temp rising and falling!!! Love it keeps me warm yet keeps me cool. Fluffy and comfy to cuddles with. So far, no issues with the feathers poking thru in the meantime as I save for a duvet! Wishing I bought the king size for more to scrunge up and cuddle with!” only1nikk

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Pacific Coast Luxury Goose Down Comforter

Pacific Coast Goose Down Comforter

Pacific Coast goes the extra mile to ensure their down stays evenly distributed in your comforter with true baffle box construction as well as their own Comfort Lock® border. Cross stitches around three sides of the border keep the down clusters in the center of the comforter where they work their magic to keep you warm. The high thread count, 100% cotton shell feels silky smooth and is down proof for leak-free performance. This comforter comes with a 30-night comfort guarantee, an allergy-free warranty, and a 10-year limited warranty.

Word on the Street

4.3/5 (27 reviews)

“Wanted a comforter that was soft and comfortable, but not really hot during the night. Also wanted pockets so that the inside stuffing did not move and all fall to the bottom. This is perfect.” Lynn 

“My apartment runs cold, which I hate. Within a minute or two of being under this duvet I am toasty warm. It’s a real lifesaver for me.”

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Down comforters rarely need additional blankets to keep you warm, but if you do need extra warmth, lay a lightweight blanket on top of the comforter. The light weight will give you an extra layer of protection from cool bedroom air without crushing the loft of you down.

We also recommend getting a duvet cover to protect your comforter from getting soiled. The duvet cover is easier to clean than a comforter, even a machine washable type.

Still have questions about down comforters? Drop us a line and we’ll do our best to get you an answer.