Thread count, Egyptian cotton, sateen weave, oh my! What does it all mean?! Here’s how to figure out what kind of sheets are best for your bed and will last a long time.
Even the newest, best mattress from Wolf Corporation can only go so far without good sheets! Sheets don’t get their due sometimes. They help protect our mattresses from skin oils and sweat, keep us warm AND cool, the right ones feel so nice, and they can pull together a bedroom’s style with the right color or pattern.
And when you or someone you know has bad sheets or when the hotel you’re staying at doesn’t have nice sheets… you KNOW. All. Night. Long.
So what’s there to consider when buying good sheets? There’s a lot in the realm of sheets, but there are three main aspects to consider: thread count, fabric, and weave.
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about sheets is “thread count,” but what does the term actually mean? And does it really equate to better-quality sheets?
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Sleep Foundation defines thread count as “a measure of how tightly woven a fabric is.” While thread count can be used as a rough indicator of the softness of the sheets, a high thread count doesn’t necessarily equate to better quality. In fact, Sleep Foundation even warns that buyers should be wary of very high thread counts, 900 and above. These are often indicators of even lower quality materials, since the manufacturer is using some trick to artificially inflate the thread count.
So, what’s normal? A thread count from about 200-600 is considered normal or good-quality for many cotton sheets, but better materials make better sheets. So let’s take a look at some fabrics.
Fabric has as much to do with the quality and feel of your sheets as thread count. Common materials for bed sheets include cotton (of all varieties), microfiber, polyester, linen, and silk. Which fabric should you choose? Depends on your body, preferences, and how you sleep.
Do you sweat a lot or have sensitive skin? Polyester or microfiber might not be a good fit, since it’s not very breathable – but cotton and linen will feel much nicer. Do you like sleeping in t-shirts or clothing-like fabric? Jersey cotton might be a good choice, since it’s knitted (like a t-shirt) instead of woven, like most sheets (see the next section). Do you like to be warm when you sleep? Maybe consider some flannel sheets to keep cozy! Do you like to be cool when you sleep? Lightweight fabrics, like cotton and linen, will be your best bets.
The most common, and most sought-after, fiber for sheets is cotton. When considering cotton, you’ll want to look for a little more information. Lower-quality cotton has short fibers, meaning it may be more susceptible to pilling and won’t last as long. Higher-quality cotton has long staple fibers (or extra-long fibers). Types of cotton with extra-long fibers are Egyptian cotton, Supima cotton, and Pima cotton. If a set of sheets mentions these materials, it’s a good indicator of quality… but they will also come with a price tag.
Be aware! Watch for the descriptors “cotton-rich” and “100% cotton”. If a sheet is “cotton-rich,” it’s at least 50% cotton, but can contain other materials like polyester. A 100% cotton sheet is as-advertised.
The weave of a sheet can drastically affect how a sheet feels and conforms to your bed and your body. Two sheets made out of the same material but different weaves may feel like completely different sheets.
Good Housekeeping says that the two main weaves for sheets are percale and sateen.
Percale-weave sheets have “basic, grid-like weave that feels light and crisp.” These sheets are a little sturdier and don’t feel quite as soft, but tend to last a long time and are good for people who don’t like sheets that stick to their body.
Sateen-weave sheets, on the other hand, is “a satin weave and feels silky smooth.” To get the silky, luxurious feeling, the fibers are woven a little less closely and can sometimes be a little less durable than percale sheets.
Now go out there and pick good sheets with ease!
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