Bedding buying guide: what to consider before you bring your bed linen home?
Sleep matters, we all know it. A poor night's sleep can sometimes mean you need an extra cup of coffee or a nap during the day to shake the tiredness away. While a few restless nights are nothing to worry about, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to more serious health concerns such as high blood pressure and weight gain.
According to a study by Harvard Health, 75% of us are experiencing poor sleep at least a few nights per week. Some remedies include reducing screen time, meditation and introducing lavender fragrances into your bedroom. But have you ever thought about what role your bedsheets play in all of this, and can your bedding affect the quality of your sleep? Below we've answered the top most frequently asked questions to help you get a better idea of what to look out for before you click buy.What material is the softest for bedding?
If you’re thinking, but why does it matter what material my bedding is made from as long as it looks good. Try thinking about it this way, you spend a third of your life in bed (roughly 8h each night) wearing your bedsheets. Suddenly material becomes a little more important but it is all to do with your personal preference. Below are some of the most popular choices for bedding material.
Polycotton: Made from a blend of polyester and cotton. While bed linen made out of poly-cotton blend will still feel soft on the skin it is no match for natural materials such as linen and cotton. Sheets made from polycotton blends usually come with a slightly lower price tag and tend to be wrinkle-free after washing and tumble drying but they may not suit every lifestyle, especially those of you who are concerned with living in a more sustainable household.
Egyptian cotton: Renowned for being the best cotton in the world, but is it actually? Most luxury hotels will use Egyptian cotton due to its ability to maintain a fresh crispy feeling for a long time even after many washes. Due to its extra-long fibres, Egyptian cotton is known to be resistant to ‘surface balling’ unlike other types of cotton. One thing to look out for before you splurge on Egyptian cotton is to check the finer print and ensure you are buying 100% Egyptian, many manufacturers will use the term ‘Egyptian’ but it will be mixed in with other cotton fibres - something worth paying attention to.
Linen: It has withstood the test of time when it comes to bedding and is widely recognised for being naturally luxurious. While linen feels a little rougher than cotton the first time you settle for a night of sleep, it will soon soften up and continue to do so after every single wash. It is also perfect for those who are suffering from allergies, linen is bacteria resistant and has a natural pH balance so even the most sensitive skin will find comfort in linen bedding. It is also a popular choice of bedding material in warmer climates as the flax fibre from which linen is made from is highly absorbent and breathable.
Cotton: Natural, versatile and fairly easy to find in most stores and online. Cotton comes from all over the world and you may be familiar with different varieties such as Egyptian, Pima and American Upland. Each type has a different cotton fibre length which affects how it feels against your skin according to Martha Stewart. It is worth pointing out that cotton is not the best insulator so opt for brushed cotton (flannel) sheets during the colder months, this type of cotton has been delicately brushed to achieve a fuzzier and softer texture which will help to lock in heat and keep you feeling cozy at night.
What’s a good thread count for sheets?
Let’s start by defining what thread count means, simply put it is the number of vertical and horizontal threads woven into fabric per square inch. Over the years manufacturers have claimed that higher thread count = better quality but experts have concluded that it’s not the case. According to Real Simple, what matters is the fibre itself: meaning if you opt for good quality fibre with a lower thread count it will last longer and feel softer than high thread count but low-quality fibre bedding.
What color bedding should I choose?
We can’t argue with Julian Tomchin’s response in his New York Times interview: “A bed is usually the largest piece of furniture in the bedroom. What you put on it becomes a major decorating decision”. With that in mind, the color of your bed linen will certainly add to the overall ambience of your bedroom. In a recent study, it was found that hues of gray, blue and purple will reduce feelings of anxiety and stress making these colors a great choice to help induce sleep and a sense of calm.
How often should I wash my bedsheets?
Finally, once you’ve made up your mind on which sheets you want to bring home you will need to remember that when you settle for a restful night of sleep you won’t be alone. Microscopic dust mites are everywhere and the only way to keep them at bay is to wash your sheets regularly. This is especially important if you suffer from asthma. Cleanipedia recommends that as a general rule you should be washing your sheets once or every two weeks. If you already own linen sheets then have a read through our linen care guide which has tips and tricks to keep your linen looking great for years to come.