Have you ever woken up feeling groggy, irritated and itchy? If the answer is yes you can blame your bed linen! Bad bed linen is reason enough to say goodbye to a good night’s sleep. So, the next time you go shopping for linen make sure that you keep these basic tips in mind to help ensure that your bed clothes don’t rob you of your much needed sleep:
Cotton is by far the most popular material used for bed linen and has been for years. The cotton fiber is durable, hard-wearing and easy to maintain. Varying qualities of cotton fiber are used for weaving sheeting fabric and amongst them, Egyptian cotton is considered the finest yarn, thus producing the highest quality. Linen made with Egyptian cotton is also the most expensive though.
Supima cotton is much more affordable and known for its durability and softness.
Cotton polyester blends are also popular because these are wrinkle free and easy to launder.
According to Kathy from Yorkshire Linen Co: “do not be tempted to skimp on the quality of your bed linen. If you buy the best quality that you can afford, not only will last longer than cheaper products – that will need replacing more often anyway – it will feel and look good at all times”.
2. Thread count
Probably the most talked about indicator of bed linen quality is the thread count. It simply means the number of threads crisscrossing in a square inch of the fabric. A tightly woven fabric will result in a softer hand feel. But conversely, a very high thread count can mean a stiff bed sheet. The ideal thread count is anywhere between 280 to 400.
When buying new sheets, do not rely entirely on the thread count, touch and feel the fabric before buying. A lower thread count linen, made from good quality and softer fibers, can result in a better sleep experience than high thread count ones but with lower quality fibers.
The interlacing of threads to create a fabric is called weaving. Weaving can be a complicated process which can alter the properties of the final fabric. The most common weaves, used in sheeting fabrics, are percale and sateen. Percale is a simple, plain weave that results in crisp, cool sheets. Sateen is a more complex weave which results in a softer feel. A bed sheet in sateen weave has a lustrous sheen to it. Neither is better than the other and picking one over the other is a matter of personal choice.
The most important part of buying new bed linen is to ensure that they fit your mattress well. A fitted sheet, one size too big, will always keep slipping off and you will not be able to achieve a snug fit. Look for fitted sheets which have an elastic all around, to prevent them from slipping. Finding the perfect fit for your pillow cases is just as important. Remember to measure twice and buy once!
Finally, switch your bed linen according to the season. Cotton fabric naturally cools during the summer season and traps the air to keep the bed warm during the winter season. Cotton flannel is another great option for the colder months. If you live in very hot climes, consider using pure linen bed sheets.