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Best Bed Sheets Guide - What are the Best Bed Sheets?

How to Choose the Best Bed Sheets and Love the Way You Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is a must if you expect to work, play, and thrive at your full potential – and the bed sheets you choose ultimately play a major role in how well you sleep. After all, it’s hardly likely you’ll get your deepest and healthiest sleep while tossing and turning under scratchy, threadbare linens that don’t breathe and are just plain uncomfortable. Here are a few key factors to keep in mind as you shop for sheets and bedding.

6 Factors to Consider When Shopping for Bed Sheets

  1. Fabric
  2. Thread Count
  3. Weave
  4. Size
  5. Allergies and Sensitive Skin
  6. Return Policy
bed sheets

Your sleep life is just that — yours. That means you’re in control when it comes to creating the optimal sleep experience that works for you. The good news is that when it comes to choosing sheets that feel like a dream, you have lots of choices — but don’t let the wide selection intimidate you. The right linens will help ensure you get the most restful sleep possible. Quality bed sheets not only help you get a great night’s sleep, but they can improve everything else in your life along the way.

Why It’s Important to Invest in Quality Bed Sheets

By some estimates, we may spend as much as three years of our lives in our beds! And while most of us are aware of the benefits of investing in a high-quality mattress and choosing the best pillow, we may not pay as much attention to our bed linen — including our sheets. For many people, high-quality sheets are either an afterthought or an “unnecessary” splurge that they’d rather avoid. But consider how much your night’s sleep is reflected in your life the next day. It becomes easy to see that it’s worth taking the time to research and find the best possible bedding for your lifestyle, needs, and personal preference so that you can be at your very best during the day.

After all, we’ve probably all had the experience of sleeping under rough, thin, scratchy sheets (it’s dreadful!), which typically leads to burning eyes and irritability the next day. Consistent, restorative sleep for at least seven hours a night sets you up for a more productive day, boosting both your immune system and your overall mood. And get this — consistent nights of restful sleep have even been linked to a longer life span, so getting the right bed sheets that keep you comfortable and sleeping well can literally extend your life!

6 Factors to Consider When Shopping for Bed Sheets

Since your bed sheets touch your skin all night long, it’s worth making them a top priority. Choosing the best bed sheets will guarantee years of comfortable and restful sleep.

1. Fabric

The overall comfort of the fabric plays a major role in determining how well you sleep — and you have several options when it comes to your choice of bed sheet fabrics. Look for the perfect balance between keeping cool enough to comfortably fall asleep while warm enough to remain comfortable throughout the night. You can also use specialty blankets, a duvet or a weighted blanket to help regulate your body temperature throughout the night, but the bed sheets you choose lay a strong foundation for thermo-regulation. We’ll explore a few of your fabric options now, along with their pros and cons, so get comfortable and settle in for a fabric crash course!

Linen Sheets
Synonymous with luxury and five-star hotels, linen bed sheets gain major points for being made from natural fibers and feeling fresh and cool against your skin. They’re also highly breathable, so you don’t have to worry about good ventilation. Linen sheets were originally designed for use in hot climates, and they’re extremely durable. But — linen sheets can be pretty pricey, and they are also notoriously easy to wrinkle. If you’re not OK with wrinkles, but you don’t want to iron your sheets, you might be better off with a more wrinkle-resistant fabric. Linen sheets also take time to soften and can feel rough against your skin.

Silk Sheets
Silk bed sheets represent the very height of decadence — they feel great against the skin and exude both sophistication and sensuality. In fact, silk is often lauded as the world’s most luxurious fabric. Silk is a good fabric for allergy sufferers since it’s naturally hypoallergenic and its structure makes it difficult for dust mites to breed. Silk is also good for regulating body temperature and helps support skin and hair health through a number of amino acids present within the fibers. With the natural chemical albumen in the threads, sleeping on silk sheets can speed up skin’s metabolism, which helps skin cell development and repair.

Silk sheets can be a bit of a hassle, though, because you can’t just throw silk sheets in the washer — most have to be professionally cleaned. If you’re opting for silk because of its skin and hair benefits, you can always mix and match with a silk duvet cover that you can use in tandem with a bed sheet that’s easier to keep clean.

Polyester/Microfiber Sheets
Microfiber sheets, while cheap and inexpensive, can feel a bit rough to the touch. They are highly stain-resistant, so they’re a popular choice for children’s sheets. Their chief downside is that they don’t offer much in the way of breathability or helping to regulate body temperature while you sleep.

Flannel Sheets
So cozy, so toasty, so soft, flannel sheets can be your best friend on cold winter nights. But if you’re looking for a breathable fabric, flannel isn’t the best choice. If you live in a year-round warm climate or otherwise worry about getting overheated at night, you may want to go for a lighter and more breathable bed sheet fabric.

Cotton Sheets
Cotton bed sheets have been popular for some time and are widely used. They come in a wide range of costs and types — including Egyptian, Pima, flannel, and jersey. Cotton is a go-to for many people because it’s soft and generally affordable, known for being lightweight and breathable. Cotton is also a hypoallergenic fabric that is resistant to allergies and skin irritations. Extra-long staple (ELS) cotton, like Egyptian or Pima, is softer and more durable than other cotton types, but also more expensive. You also have to trust that the company’s claims are accurate — there are many instances of cotton being mislabeled as Egyptian when it really isn’t. But overall, Egyptian cotton is known for its softness and often continues to soften with age.

Cotton/polyester blends are also available — this fabric will have a more synthetic feel, but it’s less expensive, more durable, and less prone to wrinkle than some full cotton blends. A little polyester in the blend is all you need — for example, a 90/10 blend is soft and cozy, plus it is durable and looks crisp right out of the dryer.

If a label says a sheet is “100 percent cotton,” it’s safe to assume that it’s American upland cotton, which is a rougher, less expensive cotton variety. Because it’s made of shorter cotton fibers than Egyptian or Pima, the fibers can poke out of the weave, which makes for a courser, less durable fabric.

Bamboo Sheets
Sheets made of bamboo provide the ultimate comfort. They are eco-friendly, hypoallergenic, and antimicrobial, which is especially nice if you have sensitive skin or fabric allergies. Bamboo bed sheets also offer moisture-wicking features that keep you cool during the night — so say goodbye to tossing and turning in sweaty sheets! Because of their moisture-wicking features, bamboo sheets never trap body heat and actually help regulate body temperature so that you don’t struggle with night sweats or uncomfortable chills. Their thermo-regulating features help your body adjust to both warmer and colder temperatures so that you get a restful night’s sleep.

stretchy sheets

Because of its quickly renewable source, bamboo is an increasingly popular option for those who are looking for more sustainable, eco-friendly bedding products.

Bamboo sheets are wrinkle-resistant and known for being extremely durable and less likely to pill and tear than other fabric options. They are also luxuriously soft and stretchy. In fact, they tend to be softer than many traditional cotton or linen sheets. But be careful — always keep in mind that bamboo sheets should be purchased from a reputable company so you make sure only genuine viscose from bamboo is used in making your sheets.

2. Thread Count

Traditionally, experts have made a big deal out of thread count for sheets, presenting it as the be-all, end-all measure of bed sheet quality. But don’t be fooled — thread count is not as important as you may think! The fact of the matter is that consumers have been misled about the rule that more is always better when it comes to sheet thread count.

Thread count simply measures threads per inch, indicating the coarseness of a fabric. Thread count typically is determined by counting the number of length (warp) and width (weft) threads per one square inch of fabric. However, with modern manufacturing techniques, some brands can claim deceptively high-thread-count sheets without actually increasing bed sheet quality.

Sheets with higher thread counts have a tighter weave — which ironically can be a problem if you don’t like the feel of stiff sheets that seem like they’re trying to suffocate you during the night. Other factors such as sheet material, yarn quality, softness, stretch, and coolness/breathability are actually more important than thread count when you’re looking for a comfortable night of rest. Higher thread counts also usually mean unnecessarily higher prices — many brands charge a premium for the higher thread count, which leaves you sleeping uncomfortably while they laugh their way to the bank. The only guarantee is that your wallet will be lighter.

What’s the best thread count for bed sheets? The general rule is that you can expect quality once you’ve reached a count of 200. Anything above that really doesn’t make a difference in terms of your sleep comfort.

One thing to consider, though, when it comes to sheet construction: Sheets that are woven typically will last a good bit longer than knitted sheets. Always look for a sheet with a weave construction. Bamboo sheets are known for their durability, which means the sheets you fall in love with now will keep providing you with snugly, comfy nights for a long time to come!

Thread count

3. Weave

The weave of a bed sheet is completely invisible to the naked eye, but the way a sheet is woven can have a major impact on how it feels — influencing everything from appearance, longevity, softness, and price. Weaves come in basically two types: percale or sateen, and the better of the two is completely a matter of personal taste.

Percale is a matte, plain, tight weave with a cool, crisp feel — it often works well for people who tend to overheat when they sleep.

Sateen is a satin weave that feels silky smooth — it’s soft and lustrous, and features the smooth finish that gives it its name. Sateen bed sheets are often a little shiny in appearance and smooth to the touch. If you’ve ever slept in a bed with glossy sheets that felt a little like butter against your skin, they were probably sateen.

4. Size

Make sure you know how you’d like your sheets to fit, and don’t take for granted that standard sizes tell the whole story. Most standard sizes — double, queen size, king size, etc. — don’t take into account the depth of your mattress. If yours is especially tall or features a mattress cover or topper, that may dramatically increase the height of your mattress. The standard sheet size for your mattress may not fit, so make sure to measure carefully before you buy. Also, prepare for some level of shrinkage after the first wash, especially with cotton fabric. Some sheets are available as “extra deep” options, and if not, you may want to consider buying a size larger than you need if you aren’t sure the standard size will work for you. For example, if your queen mattress is unusually deep, you may experience a better fit with king sheets instead of queen sheets. A fitted sheet that’s too tight can create a “drum” effect that prevents you from enjoying the full comfort of your mattress.

5. Allergies and Sensitive Skin

For those who deal with allergies or sensitive skin issues, it’s even more important to choose the best possible bed sheets and pillows — or they can quickly become your skin’s worst enemies. If you’re one of the millions of people with sensitive skin, be sure to purchase hypoallergenic sheets and pillow cases. In the past, silk was a popular choice for people with sensitive skin, but in recent years, bamboo sheets have become the preferred choice since they are both hypoallergenic and antimicrobial. Bamboo helps protect from additional skin or health issues that could creep up if you forget to wash your sheets on a regular schedule.

In addition, make sure you consider what type of finish your chosen sheets should have, if any. For example, wrinkle-free finishes are achieved through chemical treatment from a resin that releases formaldehyde — you know, the chemical you smelled while dissecting frogs in seventh-grade biology class. Similarly, stiff linen fabrics are often treated with a softening finish which can also cause skin irritations. For people with skin sensitivities or allergies, these chemical treatments can potentially cause a negative reaction, leaving you with an itchy red rash.

6. Return Policy

Before you buy sheets, make sure you understand the company’s return policy. Many brands allow you to make returns for any reason, some even up to a few months after your purchase. Can you return your sheets once you’ve slept on them? What if you’ve washed them? Sometimes you won’t be able to tell whether you really love your new bed sheets until you’ve tried them for several nights. That’s why Purple offers a 30-day guarantee, allowing you to return our sheets for a full refund if you’re dissatisfied for any reason.

Bed Sheet Care and Maintenance

Once you’ve chosen your softest, most perfect sheets, it’s important to keep them in optimal condition. Depending on the type of fabric you’ve chosen, some bedding might need extra special care. Check out these key rules to follow so you can score a good night’s sleep every night.

Washing
By mastering the art of washing and maintaining fresh sheets, you can make your fabrics last longer and get more enjoyment and comfort over the life of your sheets.

This should go without saying, but make sure to wash your sheets before you sleep on them the first time — especially if you’ve purchased sheets with a wrinkle-free finish. You want to make sure they are run through a wash cycle to prevent any allergic reactions or sensitivities to the chemical finish. Washing your sheets before first use also allows the yarns to “bloom” and makes them feel softer than if you use them right out of the package.

Check the care label on your new bedding to ensure it can be safely washed at home and doesn’t require professional cleaning. Wash your sheets in cold water when you can — cold water is better for protecting your bed sheet colors and the overall sheet integrity. However, if you’re trying to kill bacteria, allergens, dust mites, or any of the other sinister things that could be lurking where you sleep, it’s better to use warm or hot water.

How often should bed sheets and pillowcases be washed? The best answer is at least weekly. But we all occasionally fall victim to laundry laziness, and we’re not here to judge. Just remember that washing your bedding regularly is an important part of overall good mattress hygiene for the sake of your health and wellness. If bacteria build up within your sheets, they can cause some pretty serious health issues, including skin breakouts, athlete’s foot, eczema, allergies, dust mites, and overall general skin irritation.

When you wash your sheets, use the gentle cycle in order to preserve the softness and beauty of your bedding. Always use a mild detergent — maybe even a baby detergent — and stay away from bleach-based products or color brighteners. If you’re fighting stains, you can always use a little liquid detergent to spot-clean a stain before putting your bed sheets in the washing machine.

Drying
Keep in mind that your sheets have to be fully dry before you store them — otherwise, you’re taking a chance on mold and mildew developing. For those who love the fresh scent of the outdoors, you can dry your sheets outside. If they feel a little rough after line-drying, you can toss them in the dryer for five minutes to soften them up once they come inside. If you prefer drying indoors, most materials (except silk!) can easily tumble dry on medium heat.

To Iron or Not to Iron?
Should you ever iron your bed sheets? There’s no rule saying you can’t — if you like a pristine, high-quality, smooth look for your bed sheets, then feel free to iron away. You can also just take your sheets promptly out of the dryer and flatten out the creases on a flat surface. Fun fact: Fabrics like linen and cotton are notorious for wrinkling, so if you want a non-wrinkled look without ironing, these may not be the ideal fabrics for you.

Best Bed Sheets Guide

A sound, restful night’s sleep in the perfect bed sheets may sound like a luxury, but it’s a wonderful way to set yourself up for success each morning. A great night’s sleep is just as important as getting a gym membership or adopting a healthy diet plan — or any of the other healthy lifestyle choices you make.

The most comfortable bed sheets for you will ultimately be a personal choice. What feels like a sweet dream to some sleepers can be a nightmare for others. The important thing is to choose breathable sheets that feel soft and comfortable, and fit your mattress properly. Sleeping well is often easier said than done, but the right sheets can help you literally transform your bedroom and sleeping environment — and make your sweetest dreams come true.

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