When it comes to life’s simple delights, luxurious bedding is a delight any woman can afford
There’s nothing more sensuous than slipping into a fresh, crisp, new sheets. The softness caresses my skin, the clean scent tickles my nose, and the coolness fills me with comfort. What isn’t so sensuous is how to shop for them. With a dizzying array of thread counts, fabrics and weaves, even savvy shoppers can feel confused. Whether you’re finally ready to treat yourself to a great set of sheets or you’re just looking for a change, here are my top tips on how to pick fabulous sheets:
Don’t be Fooled By Thread Count
When we were younger, “High Thread Count,” on a set of sheets guaranteed blissful evenings of soft, cool comfort. Ranging from 200 to 1000, thread count refers to the number of horizontal and vertical threads per square inch of fabric. Historically, the higher the thread count, the softer the sheet. No more. Manufacturers cut corners and started splitting threads, artificially increasing the thread count. Even in true high thread count sheets, the fabric can be woven so tightly that it no longer breathes, leading to overheating. No one likes that. Any woman in the midst of menopause yearns for cool and a higher thread count may not serve you. Fabulous sheets are a combination of thread count, fibers and weave.
It’s Not All About Cotton Anymore
For many years, Egyptian cotton sheets gained all the limelight because its cotton fibers were “long-staple fibers” that are easily spun into fine, strong yarns. These high thread count sheets were high-end hotel mainstays and buying your own set could cost more than the hotel room. Today, we have more options. Bamboo, eucalyptus and microfiber mixtures are showing up in sheets and giving 100% cotton a passé perspective.
Bamboo and Eucalyptus
Celebrated for their breathability, eco-friendliness (eucalyptus fibers require 10 times less water to cultivate than cotton), and extreme softness, Eucalyptus sheets are all the rage now. I’ve sampled a set and they are exceptionally soft, durable and breathable. They are hypoallergenic, antimicrobial and come in a variety of neutral colors to please any woman’s palate. Bamboo sheets are also sustainably grown, super soft and keep their coolness; my friends and I are raving about eucalyptus and bamboo sheets and wondering how we ever slept without them.
Cool Sheets for Hot Flashes
Speaking of coolness, no one likes sweaty sheets and, thankfully, a variety of cool bedding exist. When searching, look for breathable natural fibers that wick moisture away from your body. Belgian flax linen sheets have “superior absorbency and moisture-wicking properties…,” and over 150, 5-star reviews. Another cool sheet option is Microfiber. With over 30,000 positive reviews on Amazon, Microfiber sheets are lower in price, without thread counts and come in a myriad of colors.
Wise Up To Weave
When choosing the best sheets, knowing the different weaves will make it easier to find ones that suit you. Basic weaves come in two forms: Percale and Sateen. Percale sheets are typically made of combed cotton, a cotton with the short fibers removed, leaving only long fibers, creating a strong, soft yarn. According to a variety of sources, a combed cotton sheet that is nicely finished with a 300-400 thread count can be very comfortable. Look for lower cost options from a well-known brand (DKNY, Ralph Lauren, Carissa) with a 200 thread count as name brands are likely to have higher standards for their finishing processes.
Sateen sheets feature more vertical than horizontal threads, giving the fabric a slight sheen and a soft and silky texture. This softness requires more care as sateen sheets tend to be more delicate and can pill or break down faster. A simple fix is to wash them on delicate and air dry. Look for thread counts between 300 and 600 for the strongest and softest sateen sheets.
While you have many options, the ultimate test is your own personal impression: Do you love how they feel against your skin? Do you feel cool and comfy? While thread count, fabric and weave are important, the best test will be when you take your new sheets home, wash them, and sleep on them for a while.
Found some new sheets you love? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.