Different types of sheets
There’s nothing better than crawling into a freshly made bed with crisp sheets at the end of a long day, right? How you choose to dress your mattress has almost as much to do with your comfort level at night as the type of mattress you own. There’s an overabundance of options when it comes to bed sheets – different thread counts, feels and fabrics.
Let’s break down all you need to know to pick the best sheets for your bed.
What does thread count mean?
The thread count of sheets is written across bed sheet packaging but what does it mean and is it important when choosing new sheets? “Yes and no,” says Stephen Cardino, home fashion director at Macy’s. “Thread count is often used as the barometer of a sheet’s smoothness and durability. However, this measurement—which should refer to the number of threads woven into a square inch of fabric—isn’t always reliable. High thread count is a factor, but the type of cotton can be more significant.”
Most people sleep on sheets woven from some form of cotton or cotton blend – combed, Egyptian, flannel, Pima or Percale. What’s the difference? Good question.
- Combed cotton is smooth and soft. Its impurities have been removed or combed out.
- Egyptian cotton is grown along the Nile River in Egypt. It’s a luxurious bedding fabric with extra-long fibers that are super strong and absorbent.
- Flannel is a warm cotton blend.
- Pima cotton is made from soft cotton grown in Pima, Arizona.
- Percale cotton is a soft combed fabric, usually in combination with polyester to create a wrinkle-resistant sheet.
Other fabrics and blends for sheets
Sateen and satin are often mistaken as fibers when in reality they’re actually weaves and blends of cotton.
- Sateen sheets are made from a weave of natural fibers and cotton. The way they are weaved together is what gives sateen sheets their sheen.
- Satin sheets are also a weave and usually a blend of wool, cottons, acetate, polyester, silk or other materials.
- Silk sheets are the most luxurious and durable fiber – thanks to the silkworm.
What sheets should you buy for your bed?
When shopping for sheets you need to take a few things into consideration:
- Are you a hot or cold sleeper? If you’re constantly warm while sleeping, you’ll want a more breathable, light weight sheet. Stay away from sateen or satin sheets as they’re light weight but not very breathable, trapping in heat. If you’re wrapped in a cocoon of sheets and blankets because you’re cold while you sleep, you’ll want a warmer, heavy weight sheet – flannel or even a sateen blend.
- What time of year is it and what climate do you live in? Someone living in Boston will have different sheet needs than someone in Phoenix because of the different climates. We’re pretty sure people in Phoenix don’t use flannel sheets, whereas our friends in Boston have certainly needed them this winter.
- Who are the sheets for? If you have kids, a cotton-poly blend is probably best because they’re durable and easy to clean. If you are shopping for an elderly parent, again keep in mind that when you’re older your blood flow isn’t what it used to be and you tend to run cool. Your elderly parent may need a heavier weight sheet to stay warm while they sleep.
Once you’ve found the right sheets for you, take care of them so they’ll last longer than just one season. Experts recommend stripping the bed weekly to remove a build-up of dust, debris, sweat and other icky things that take up residence in your bed. If you sleep in the nude, consider changing your sheets twice a week for hygienic reasons.
If you’ve just bought new sheets and still aren’t sleeping as soundly as you’d like, it might be time for a new mattress – and we’d love to help you find the right one for you. Visit our Find a Store page and we’ll locate a store close by where you can lie on our mattresses and talk to a trained sales professional. Use these links to begin your online research:
- Mattress buying tips
- Best mattress for a bad back
- What’s a latex mattress?
- What’s a hybrid mattress?
- What’s a memory foam mattress?