How to choose the perfect sheets

Pillow on bed
The importance of sheets can’t be emphasized enough when it comes to the quality of sleep and the bed experience. The sheets are closest to your body and can make or break your night.

Material - so much more than cotton

Even though there are several other materials to choose from today, cotton is cotton and pretty much unbeatable. Cotton is a great choice for almost any climate since it both traps the heat and lets cool air pass through in summer. Look for the terms Egyptian, pima and Sea Island cottons which are the gold standard, and make sure that the fabric is 100 percent that material. Some growers use the term “Egyptian cotton” loosely, however — true Egyptian cotton is grown and processed according to specific stipulations. Be sure you’re buying from a quality manufacturer and again, feel the material for softness. Another material that has become more popular in recent years is bamboo, often blended with cotton or other materials. Because bamboo is sustainable and naturally antimicrobial, and sips up moisture, it’s well worth considering. If you’re going for that rustic and wrinkled look, linen is the way to go. Linen works really well in hot climates because they wick away body heat.

Thread Count

Thread count refers to the number of threads in 1 square inch of fabric. It’s easy to assume that higher means softer, however that’s not always the case. What material the fabric is made out of plays a big part. A lower-thread-count sheet made from fibers that are softer by nature, such as Egyptian cotton, will feel silkier than a high-thread-count sheet made from a lower-quality cotton blend. All other things being equal, high thread counts can indeed translate to increased comfort. But you don’t have to buy 800- or 1,000-count sheets, you’ll do just fine with a style in the 400 or 450 range. The extra thread count doesn’t make enough difference in feel to justify the price. In fact, the highest-count sheets can even be stiff because so many fibers are jammed so closely together.

Weave - crisp or soft?

If you like your sheets with a little snap, choose percale, which is a plainer weave than the more supple sateen. Neither is inherently better; it’s a matter of personal preference. Also you need to consider which better fits your brand.