Experts recommend sleeping an average of eight hours, so it’s worth putting some thought and effort into your bedding choices and learning how to buy sheets. While the mattress is the most important component, and pillows can make or break your sleep cycle, your sheets can also determine how comfortably you sleep. But with so many brands and types of sheets, it can be difficult to choose the best bedsheets for your needs.
“Sheets are a very personal thing, from the texture to body temperature and even durability,” says Daniel A. Barone, MD, a sleep medicine specialist and the author of Let’s Talk About Sleep. “Some people like the feel of their favorite old T-shirt, while others like that satiny feel.”
These are some of the most popular types of sheets so you know what to look for when you shop.
Cotton is hands down the most popular bedsheet material. However, there are various types of cotton sheets. For example, flannel sheets are a good choice for cold climates, and jersey feels like you’re sleeping in a well-worn T-shirt. Egyptian cotton sheets, which feel luxurious, are the highest-quality (and most expensive) cotton option, but pima sheets are just a notch below Egyptian cotton in quality. However, most 100% cotton sheets are upland cotton, which is durable and inexpensive. Saatva’s Organic Sateen Sheet Set is made of 100% GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)-certified organic cotton, and they’re silky soft to the touch, yet durable.
Bamboo is a sustainable material, and bamboo sheets are moisture-wicking so they keep you cool at night. These sheets are also hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, and very soft. A great bamboo-sheet option is the Cariloha Resort Bamboo Bed Sheets, which have a premium sateen sheet finish, are three degrees cooler than other non-bamboo fabrics, and are softer than 1,000-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets.
Linen sheets are eco-friendly and they’re also soft to sleep on—although some people find them rather stiff and wrinkly. Linen is also a moisture-wicking material that is hypoallergenic, making it a good choice for those with allergies, as well as people who tend to sweat during the night. These are some of our favorite linen sheets with choices ranging from traditional to organic to stonewashed.
Silk sheets are so luxurious that they add a level of sophistication to any bedroom. Plus, they create less friction, which can also keep your hair from frizzing while you sleep. Silk is also a breathable material, making it a good choice for any season, as well as being hypoallergenic and antibacterial.
Polyester sheets are great for your budget, and they’re not only affordable, but also durable. Polyester sheets are made of synthetic fibers and tend to resist wrinkling, but they’re not the most comfortable sheets in the world. And since they’re not made of a breathable material, these are not the ideal sheets for hot sleepers.
Microfiber sheets are a step above polyester and are a more comfortable choice. However, they’re still not good for hot sleepers, since they’re not made of a breathable material, either. However, there are exceptions to the rule, and Brooklyn Bedding’s Brushed Microfiber Sheets are both economically-priced and designed to be breathable and wick moisture away.
Tencel is a lyocell or rayon fabric sourced from the cellulose of eucalyptus trees. These sheets are gaining in popularity for a variety of reasons. They are great for people with allergies, and they also have antimicrobial properties. These sheets tend to wick away moisture and have cooling properties, so they’re good for hot sleepers. Plus, they’re smooth with a sheen to them and resist wrinkling. A favorite set is the Molecule Percale Performance Sheets, which are temperature-regulating and wrinkle-resistant.
Sheets are also defined by other terms, like the weave pattern. For example, you can purchase cotton percale sheets or cotton sateen sheets. So, what’s the difference between the two?
Percale sheets have a smooth matte finish and are crisp and cool. These sheets are also breathable and more durable. However, they are also more prone to wrinkling, and they’re not as soft as sateen. The Casper’s 100% Organic Cotton Sheets with a percale weave are soft and crisp, and the sheets are also light and breathable.