Fact Checked

What Are the Pros and Cons of Cotton Pajamas?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen

Cotton pajamas have several advantages and disadvantages, and consumers need to weigh these issues when choosing what type of pajamas they want to wear. For many people, cotton pajamas are extremely comfortable, as they are often lightweight, do not irritate skin, and allow for good air circulation. On the other hand, cotton pajamas are not good at insulating in cold weather and can be more flammable than other types of pajamas. Families and individuals may choose to simply include pajamas made from cotton among several different pairs and may select the pajamas that best suit their mood and the temperature in their sleeping environment.

There are many different styles of pajamas that can be made from cotton, including traditional two-piece pajama sets that consist of pajama pants and a top as well as nightgowns. Infants and small children may also wear onesies, or one-piece pajamas, made out of cotton. Cotton is typically an inexpensive fabric that can be prepared in different textures, thicknesses, and colors. While many people appreciate the look of plain undyed cotton, many manufacturers make their pajamas from colorful printed and patterned fabrics.

A field of cotton.
A field of cotton.

When buying pajamas, many people are primarily concerned about whether these pajamas will allow them to have a comfortable sleep. Some people find that synthetic fabrics can be irritating and may compromise their ability to sleep through the night. These folks may choose cotton pajamas, as cotton is generally a nonirritating fabric. They may also appreciate the fact that cotton is a breathable fabric that allows for air circulation around the skin and body.

A cotton pajama top.
A cotton pajama top.

The breathability of these pajamas can also be a problem for some people, however. Cotton fabric is not a good insulator, and in some cases may actually contribute to the rapid lowering of body temperature if it gets wet and the individual wearing it is in a cold environment. This is why many camping experts advise against wearing cotton pajamas when camping in cold weather or in cold environments, as doing so could contribute to hypothermia.

Onesies are often made of cotton.
Onesies are often made of cotton.

One concern about cotton pajamas is that they may easily catch fire, which could maim or even kill a wearer. in the United States, manufacturers can sell non-fire resistant pajamas for children provided that they are designed to fit the child snugly and are thus less likely to catch fire. Other alternatives include pajamas made from cotton that are treated with a special flame-retardant chemical that is generally considered to be safe and does not harm the integrity of the cotton fabric.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


Why is flammability discussed in this article? Unless you or your children smoke in bed or you burn an inordinate number of candles in your bedroom, your pajamas should have much less chance of catching fire than daytime garments.


My kids wear cotton pajamas year-round. I used to have them wear fleece pajamas in the cold months, but they got too hot in them, so we switched to cotton.

The thing about kids is that they have so much more energy than adults, and this keeps them warm. They are very active, right up until the point that they fall asleep, and all that motion keeps their inner heat burning.

It is really easy to find cotton pajamas with cartoon characters that my kids love on them. If they have long sleeves and pants, this is enough to keep them warm.


@Oceana - It is true that cotton pajamas for women are often made more for looks than for function. I was as frustrated as you are with the design of them, so I decided to start putting together my own sets.

I have been known to buy a set or two of the pajamas you are talking about, and then I just give the top away and keep the shorts. Then, I find a comfortable cotton t-shirt on clearance and buy it to wear with the pajama shorts.

The whole outfit is still cotton, so it is light and comfortable. Since I bought the t-shirt on sale, I really didn’t lose much money by purchasing the tank top and giving it away.


I’ve been looking for some cotton pajama sets with shorts to wear in the summer, but I’m having a hard time finding any comfortable ones. Most of the warm weather sets come with a spaghetti strap top that is tight, and I don’t feel relaxed in that.

I wish I could find a top that is loose, because I can’t sleep when I have material pressing tight up against my skin. The shorts in these sets are fine, but I don’t see how anyone could sleep in those tops.

Is it possible to still find pajama shorts sets with t-shirts instead of tank tops? I am starting to wonder if they even make them anymore.


Some people may like to wear fuzzy, warm pajamas in winter, but I prefer ladies’ cotton pajamas. I don’t like to be too warm while I’m trying to fall asleep, and I actually sleep better if I’m a little cool.

I have several pajama sets that include a cotton t-shirt and thin cotton pants. One set is pink with snowflakes, and another has a paisley pattern. I like the femininity of the colors and patterns, but the lightweight, breathable fabric is a must for me.

I generate a lot of heat as I sleep, so sometimes, I even have to remove the pants and sleep in just the t-shirt. So, cotton is the only material that I can stand at night.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • A field of cotton.
      A field of cotton.
    • A cotton pajama top.
      By: gemenacom
      A cotton pajama top.
    • Onesies are often made of cotton.
      By: Paige Roberts
      Onesies are often made of cotton.
    • Cotton pajamas are known for being extremely comfortable.
      By: Serg Zastavkin
      Cotton pajamas are known for being extremely comfortable.
    • Parents should make sure that a child's cotton pajamas are designed to fit snugly, so they are less likely to catch fire.
      By: Vojtech Vlk
      Parents should make sure that a child's cotton pajamas are designed to fit snugly, so they are less likely to catch fire.