Elements of Great Bed Sheets
If you sleep for one third of your lifespan and live to be 100, you will have spent 33 and one third years on your bed. And, if your bed is uncomfortable, you will have been uncomfortable for 33 and one third years of your life. And a mattress is not the only thing that affects a good night’s rest. Sheets also play a major role in helping you to fall asleep, just like a cradle is nothing without a lullaby! Here are some things to look for when trying to find great bed sheets (bamboo sheets are the best, in our humble opinion!).
How a sheet feels, looks, and is priced all depends on how it is weaved. A basic weave is made by having equal numbers of horizontal and vertical yarns intertwining. Sheets weaved in this manner usually do not cost a lot of money, and you may not even be able to find a label on sheets with a basic weave. An upscale plain weave, known as Percale, has a thread count of 180 and above. This kind of weave lends longevity to the sheets and a crispy feel.
Sateen weaves boast fewer horizontal yarns than vertical ones. This method of weaving is chosen to make the fabric very soft; but this also means that it is more prone to wear and tear sooner. Damasks and Jacquards are more intricate weaves. Sheets made in this fashion feel more textured. The textures can be soft like satin material, or not so soft. These materials are woven on special looms and, consequently, can cost a pretty penny.
Thread Count and Fiber
A high thread count is good, but bed sheets made of a higher quality fiber will be softer than the those made with a low quality fiber. Low thread count sheets with a high quality fiber don’t need to be stressed over when they are being washed and collect less dust than sheets with a high thread count and cheap fiber (like cotton). A 100% cotton sheet is more expensive than a cotton-polyester blend, but because it is not a blend, is much more comfortable to sleep with. Terms like Pima, Egyptian, long-staple, and Supima all refer to sheets made of fibers with a high quality long staple. Similarly, you can purchase bamboo-cotton blend sheets from Costco for a lesser price, but they certainly will not be as soft or as high quality as sheets made from 100% bamboo viscose, like the sheets available at fiberelement.com. (You can read about the differences between bamboo and cotton sheets here.)
Finish and Shrinkage
Shrinkage in sheets is avoided by treating them with chlorine, silicon or formaldehyde. These chemicals also keep the sheets from wrinkling and losing shape. When treated with alkalis, sheets acquire sheen, or a shinier, glossy-looking finish. You can also get sheets that are called pure-finish. They are not treated with any chemicals and ideal for people who are allergic to chemicals. Another choice for you is organic sheets which are made from cotton that was not subjected to pesticides. Bamboo is never subjected to pesticides, so bamboo sheets are a more reliable choice in this instance.