Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t easy. And it seems to be getting harder. A recent survey found that over one-third of Americans don’t get sufficient sleep – up almost 5% since 2010. So, if you’re all too familiar with afternoon sleepiness hitting like a freight train because you tossed and turned the night before — you’re not alone. But before trying drastic lifestyle changes or medication, there’s one easy step that could help promote better sleep: upgrading your bed sheets.
What Are the Best Bed Sheets for Sleep?
Most people don’t shop around too much when finding the best bed sheets. But the truth is, sheets vary quite a bit – and so does everyone’s sleeping style. For example, if you run hot while sleeping (maybe to the point of waking up sweaty), breathable linen sheets will be a great (natural) sleep aid. Or, if your sheets feel too scratchy, silky sateen sheets might provide instant relaxation after a long day. And we already know about the coziness and warmth that flannel sheets provide in the winter time.
The best bed sheets will help ease you into a more restful night of sleep without running too hot or cold, while remaining soft and gentle against your skin. Cheap sheets could scratch and irritate the skin, and poorly-made sheets won’t always sit securely on your mattress. Switching to a new set of bed sheets could go a long way toward a stress-free sleep.
How to Buy Bed Sheets
All of us have (hopefully) been using bed sheets our whole lives, but it can still be tricky to differentiate the best bed sheets from the just-okay. What does thread count even mean? What’s the difference between cotton sateen and cotton percale? Here’s a quick guide to answer some of these questions and help you find the best bed sheets for your preferences.
Material: There are four main bed sheet materials that every shopper should know: cotton percale, cotton sateen, linen and flannel. Cotton percale, the most popular material, is the classic, crisp cotton that’s slightly on the cool side but works year-round. Cotton sateen is a silkier, more high-quality weave that’s also great for year-round use. With both cotton varieties, look out for strong, high-quality yarns called long-staple fibers.
Linen is typically the most lightweight option, making it a great choice for staying comfortable on warmer nights. Initially, linen can be a bit more stiff than cotton, but this disappears with each wash. Flannel sheets, on the other hand, offer cozy warmth on chilly winter nights, but will probably be too warm in the summer.
Thread Count: Thread count refers to the number of threads in one square inch of fabric. There is a common misconception that higher thread count equals better sheets, but this number can be inflated by counting the number of threads in one piece of yarn. According to most bedding experts, the ideal thread count is around 250 to 300 for percale sheets and 300 to 600 for sateen.
Color: Although your sheets are mostly hidden under a blanket, it’s still important to pick a set that blends with your decor style. That’s why the best bed sheets come with a decent range of color and design options.
OEKO-TEX Certification: You’ll often see bed sheets claiming OEKO-TEX certification. This means that the sheets comply with OEKO-TEX’s strict chemical safety guidelines. If you’re sensitive to fabric chemicals, or you have a baby sleeping in your bed, we highly suggest picking sheets with OEKO-TEX certification.
What Are the Best Bed Sheets?
The good news is that the best bed sheets are not all too difficult to shop for once you know what you’re looking for. To make things easier, we’ve rounded up a handful of our favorite bed sheets, plus a few considerations when shopping for the best bed sheets.
BEST OVERALL: Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set
Brooklinen has only been around since 2014, but they’ve quickly become the best bedding supplier around. Their success boils down to simplicity: high-quality materials and a direct-to-consumer business model that massively lowers prices. These Lux sateen sheets are some of their best-sellers, offering a silky step-up from regular percale cotton.
The Lux sheets are made of long-staple, 480 thread count sateen cotton. This translates to sheets and pillow cases with a buttery-soft feel, lasting strength and a slight sheen. The sheets also have handy “long” and “short” side labels for making the bed easily, plus they’re OEKO-TEX certified to be free from chemicals. Brooklinen’s sheets are a breathable yet cozy year-round go-to for any type of sleeper.
BEST PERCALE: Parachute Percale Sheet Set
Parachute is another young home brand (also founded in 2014) that’s shaken up the bedding business for good. If you’re looking for the best cotton percale sheets, we recommend this set from Parachute.
As mentioned, percale cotton provides a crisp, lightweight feel. This fabric is usually more breathable than sateen, but less silky to the touch. Parachute’s fabric is top quality, made from long-staple Egyptian cotton, which gives the best lightweight percale experience. Add incredible strength and you’ve got one of the best sets of sheets around.
BEST SWEAT-WICKING: PeachSkinSheets Night Sweats
Few things hamper a good night’s sleep more than sweat, but for many of us, this is a recurring issue. Here’s where these high-tech PeachSkinSheets come in. The sheets use an athletic poly-microfiber material that wicks moisture away from your body and dries faster than normal cotton. This should maintain a comfortable temperature in your bed and prevent the feeling of waking up in a pond.
PeachSkinSheets isn’t the only brand to claim this sweat-wicking ability, but they’re one of the few that we really trust. They’re an Atlanta-based brand that’s been lauded for delivering their promise since foundation in 2013, so if you’re in need of a night sweat solution, we think PeachSkinSheets is your best bet.
BEST LINEN: Dapu Pure Stone Washed Linen Sheets
Sleeping in warm weather is always a struggle. One of the best solutions is high-quality linen sheets such as this set from Dapu. They’re the real deal, made from 100% French-grown, OEKO-TEX-certified flax linen. This means they’re very lightweight and strong enough to last many hot summers.
Some sleepers steer clear of linen because it’s a bit rougher than cotton, but this isn’t the full story. Linen actually gets much softer each time it’s washed while maintaining an ultra-lightweight feel that cotton can’t match. Plus, linen provides your bedroom with a stylish rustic look.
BEST FLANNEL: L.L. Bean Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Sheet
Cold weather calls for the right sheets and, in most cases, that means flannel. Our favorite source for flannel sheets is (unsurprisingly) L.L. Bean. These Ultrasoft brushed flannel sheets from the century-old outdoors company are as cozy as flannel sheets come thanks to high-quality flannel that feels great – even after years of use.
L.L. Bean gets these sheets from the world’s top flannel source: Portugal. Unlike some poorly-made flannel, these sheets retain a soft warmth that’s not clingy or static-y. They’re obviously ideal for staying warm during the cold months, but because they’re so high-quality you can actually get away with using the sheets year-round. Plus, OEKO-TEX certification ensures safety for sensitive skin and little ones.
BEST SATEEN: Cuddledown Dreamstead Sheets
Another great pair of sateen sheets is this set from Cuddledown. While hot new brands are all the rage, Cuddledown offers something different with decades of happy customers. They were founded back in 1973 and still rank as one of the top sources for high-quality, well-made bedding.
Cuddledown’s Dreamstead sateen sheets use a long-staple 300 thread count combed cotton sateen that’s been OEKO-TEX-certified. In plain English, that means extra luxurious, safe and long-lasting sheets. The sheets are also shrinkage controlled and wrinkle-resistant thanks to a special finish. This ensures that the sheets not only feel cozy, but look great too.
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