Pillow talk: Choosing the perfect sheets

Pillow talk: Choosing the perfect sheets

Humans spend about a third of their lives in bed sleeping, or at least attempting to do so.

As most of us know, a good night’s sleep plays a vital role in our well-being and quality of life.

Having a high-quality mattress and comfortable sheets can help you get better quality sleep, but buying sheets can be a confusing process because there are so many options available. Here are some things to consider when purchasing new bedding without breaking a (night) sweat.

Thread count is the number of vertical and horizontal threads per square inch. Unfortunately, many people think that the higher the thread count, the better quality and more luxurious the sheet. Realistically, only so many threads can fit on a loom. To get the higher number, manufacturers use thinner strands of fabric twisted together as if they were one. This adds to the thread count without doing anything meaningful to make the fabric softer or stronger. Most experts say that between 400-600 threads per inch is ideal.

When it comes to softness and quality, the best cotton sheets are either percale or sateen. More expensive than standard short-weave cotton sheets, both use high-quality, long-staple cotton. The main difference between percale and sateen is in the type of weave.

Percale utilises a traditional one-yarn-over and one-yarn-under weave. It is characterised by a matte finish and a crisp, cool feel that improves with every wash. Percale is light in weight and breathable, making it perfect for summertime or Cayman’s year-round warm climate.

Many experts think that sateen is the closest thing one can get to satin. The one-yarn-under and three-yarn over weave exposes more thread surface and gives sateen its silky, smooth finish and luminous sheen. It has a soft, inviting touch, perfect to snuggle into bed with in cooler environments.

Linen is known for its breathable and cooling qualities. It is made from natural fibres of flax that are longer than cotton, making it more absorbent. It is also woven more loosely than cotton, therefore trapping less heat.

More casual and laid-back than percale or sateen, linen sheets are perfect for sleepers who want softness and durability, and don't mind a less formal look on their bed.

This article first appeared in the August 2021 print edition of Camana Bay Times.

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About the author

J.V. Russell is a co-owner of Bedside Manor, which showcases a curated collection of high-quality bedding, bath and baby brands as well as unique jewellery, stationery and gifts.

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