What’s with the pointy nightcaps? Sensible Sleep Headgear

Every year I wonder about these pictures of Scrooge and others wearing pointee nightcaps.  It’s a subject dear to my heart because I became an aficionado of sleeping hats when I used to do my slumbering outdoors a lot.

The function of a nightcap is to keep a person from losing his body heat through his exposed scalp and hair.  Besides doing that it needs to stay on the head while you toss and turn.  Those pointed hats do none of that.

I’ve tried a lot of different types of sleeping caps through the years and found it’s not easy to find one that satisfies all the minimum criteria:

This one’s sheepskin and I’ve used it for 30 years when the weather’s cold enough.  But it’s stiff and doesn’t stay on all that well because one of the straps for tying under the chin broke off sometime way back there and I haven’t gotten around to fixing it.  The temperature has to be not-too-warm or it becomes a cranial sweat lodge and not-too-cold because it doesn’t provide any protection to the exposed part of the neck.

A balaclava solves some of that, but it’s only one layer thick, somewhat expensive, and tends to wear out at the chin.  When the ambient temperature gets down around freezing it needs some help.

They make those fleece caps for women and I find them in thrift stores for a buck frequently.  When I find them, I buy them and wear them a lot, outdoors, indoors and as sleeping caps when the weather’s cold, but not cold enough for something more extreme.

During this last cold snap when the water froze inside the house I came up with this, and I like it a lot.  It’s a fleece blanket folded four times lengthwise, wrapped around the head and tucked into/zipped in to the fleece vest.  It stays in place and is warmer than anything I’ve ever found.  It’s tempting to drag out the scissors, needle and thread and cut it down to a four-layer balaclava, but I hate to mess up that fleece blanket.  The “don’t fix it if it ain’t broke” school of winter headgear might apply here.

When the weather’s cool but not cold, the stocking cap is a seductive option, even though they don’t ride out the night well.  I keep a stack of a dozen of them on the bookshelf above the bed so I can reach up and find one for a quick reload without turning on the light.  Same concept as a fresh clip of ammo for a rifle near at hand.

Pointee hats are talk.  As Tuco observed in The Good, Bad and Ugly, “When you’re going to shoot, shoot.  Don’t talk.”

Old Jules


22 responses to “What’s with the pointy nightcaps? Sensible Sleep Headgear

  1. On those rare occasions I thought a hat was necessary for sleeping, I was very fond of those old military pile caps. I’ve always kept at least one in my size.

    • Hi Ed. Probably a good option. I don’t recall ever testing one against my regulars, but I’m almost certain I had one in the military. Thanks for the visit. Jules

  2. I should like to have you or your blog around whenever I’m in a bit of a sticky situation.

  3. the pointed cap, in the olden days it was easier to cut a piece of cloth nearly square and sew one hem line than to cut and fit with several sewing lines, hince the pointed cap (grin) but with this thought… they made socks right??? make a big sock for the head (grin) have a good day amigo

  4. thank you for the fashion parade!
    Living in Africa we have no need for any sort of headgear at night.
    I sleep in an old T.shirt in the middle of winter.

  5. I always figured the pointy hat would be a bit useless at night! I get hot in my sleep, so never felt the need for a nightcap (of fabric, anyway). However, sleeping outside in Florida I needed one to keep the mosquitoes from sucking my scalp dry!

  6. Kenny from South Park asked me where he could get the red one.

    Many of us achieve the same effect by cultivating in a cat the perference to sleep curled up ear to ear over the top of their person’s head. But thanks for sharing, anyway.

  7. I’m wondering if the pointy caps have anything to do with rats and mice?
    Thanks for Johnny, I grew up listening to him 🙂

    • eremophila: Around here the rats and mice tend to keep a low profile if they’re here at all. I’m not sure about other places. Yeah, I always liked Johnny Horton also. Thanks for coming by. Gracias, J

  8. Jules, I know you think this is hilarious, but if you keep showing pictures of your eyes, you’re going to scare everyone away!
    Wait a sec, I just looked again, and that mustache looks kinda scary, too. It reminds me of those centipedes we saw in the house in Placitas, but I suppose the cats are used to it, so no big deal.

    • Jeanne: Nobody noticed I thought it was hilarious. I got to read through that a dozen times, look at the pics and laugh so many times it seemed at some point justified. It’s my eyes, though.. Not my whiskers. Nothing wrong with my whiskers. Thanks. Jules

  9. LOL, Yes, nice whiskers. Most men look better with them. I’ve favored them a long time. I discovered the fleece headgear a few years back when I was backpacking at high elevations. It works very well. Hadn’t heard a Johnny Horton song in years. Thanks.

  10. I always hated wearing a hat though I was required to when I was in the Navy. Since then I’ve rarely donned one. My solution to the whole problem of keeping my head warm has been to live in southeast Florida for most of my life and then retired to Panama just a little more than eight degrees north of the equator. Works fine for me.


  12. Why is the nightcap so high?

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