Just like a mattress, bedding can greatly enhance your quality of sleep. Bed sheets can affect our body temperature, comfort levels, and aid our ability to keep cool at night--factors that can have a huge impact on our ability to get meaningful rest when we go to bed. Other factors to consider when choosing mattress bedding are pocket depth (standard/deep), fitted or flat sheets, and thread count.
However, when it comes to comfort, the right material for your bedding is purely subjective and should be based on your personal preferences, body type, and sleep habits. There are several materials that you can use for your bedding. Some may be lighter than others, and some may be more breathable than others. For example, if you are prone to sweating during your sleep, you may want to choose breathable fabrics and good at wicking away moisture. Or, if you are someone who prefers a more luxurious night of rest, you may want to find a bedding material that has more of a satiny feel or a high thread-count.
In this post, we will cover 13 of the most commonly used bedding materials to help you make the best decision the next time you're looking to buy a set of bedsheets.
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You'll find that cotton sheets are the most commonly purchased sheets on the market today, plus it's been around longer than other bedding materials. Cotton sheets are made from bales of cotton that are washed, blended, and spun. One of the biggest reasons is that the material is relatively inexpensive, and the fabric is extremely breathable. Cotton is also really easy to wash, very durable, and only gets softer over time.
Pima cotton is a type of cotton that's made from extra-long fibers of spun cotton. It's typically sourced in the United States and is known as being a very soft and extremely durable type of cotton. Often referred to as "Supima" cotton, these fabrics are considered more higher-end versions of regular cotton sheets.
Egyptian cotton is one of the highest quality materials that you can buy for bed sheeting. These long-staple fibers are typically grown in the Nile River Valley and offer an ultra-soft feel. The cotton for these sheets is hand-picked to minimize the amount of stress placed on them, which leaves them complete and intact (this process produces a longer and stronger fiber).
Super-soft to the touch
A hypoallergenic material
Has excellent durability
Can withstand frequent washings
Is soft and breathable
Washes and dries easily
Similar to Pima cotton, authentic Egyptian cotton can be on the pricey side
Finding genuine Egyptian cotton can be challenging due to a lot of fake brands
Wool bedding usually comes in the form of blankets and duvets more than it does bed sheets--it'd simply be too warm, heavy, and rather rough. The bedding comes from the fleece of sheep, a natural fiber that grows on most of their body to keep them warm during the colder months and surprisingly cool during the warmer months. One of the biggest benefits of wool bedding is the superior and unmatched warmth that it provides (it's warmer than cotton).
Is naturally flame retardant
Provides unmatched warmth
Traps dust particles to reduce allergic reactions
Maintains heat-retaining capabilities even when wet
Can be very heavy and too warm for spring and summertime
Not as soft and smooth as cotton or poly blends
Can be more expensive than other types of materials
May have less washing/drying options and other materials
Flannel is another great option for bed sheets if you are looking to stay warm. While not as warm as wool, it is usually made from cotton, although warmer than pure cotton. One of the best things about flannel is that it helps retain body heat, offering sufficient warmth for those chilly nights.
Is fairly inexpensive
One of the warmest bedding materials
Can easily be home-washed and dried
Is soft and comfortable
Can be too warm (and heavy) during the warmer months of the year
Jersey knit is often known as "t-shirt" material, given its similarity to the feel of everyday cotton t-shirts. This popular type of cotton material rose to prominence in the late 90s and has remained a staple and home bedding every since. Jersey cotton comes from knitted cotton fabrics instead of woven blends, which gives it a softer and more forgiving texture.
Is stretchy and soft
Sufficient heat-retention capabilities
Great for warmth and long hours of comfort
Isn't very durable
Shrinkage is a big disadvantage
Must be washed in cold water typically to reduce shrinkage
Sometimes it can be challenging to find quality bedding sets
Silk sheets are known to be one of the most luxurious bedding material options that you can purchase. They are made from the delicate fibers produced by silkworms and are cleaned, spun, and processed into silk strands. They are naturally hypoallergenic and can offer a cool and comfortable night's rest. The biggest setback in purchasing silk sheets is that they will typically be more expensive than other bedding materials. They also require more care in terms of washing and drying.
Offer excellent warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer
Bamboo sheets are typically made from bamboo fiber. However, some can be made from rayon that's been chemically processed (a process referred to as " viscose," which dissolves the bamboo and turns it into cellulose). The past 10 years have shown a significant increase in the demand for bamboo sheets. Many people refer to bamboo sheets as feeling like a combination of cotton sheets and silk sheets.
Bamboo sheets are very soft and cool to the touch
They are lightweight and can be dyed easily
Have high durability and decent price points
Are pricier than cotton and other bedding materials
Most sheets that have rayon as the main material are actually made from bamboo. Rayon sheets can be found fairly easily online or in department stores. It's a very soft material, resembling that of common cotton with a more satiny feel. Rayon sheets are very breathable and are known to last for a few years.
Has a soft and silky feel
Is very durable
Offers great temperature regulation
Absorbs dyes easily
Great at wicking away moisture
Is lightweight and hypoallergenic
Requires additional care in terms of washing and drying
Polyester sheets are usually multi-blends that consist of a combination of cotton, polyester, and/or rayon. These sheets are typically budget-friendly and are readily available in the marketplace. One of the sheets' biggest downsides is that different blends can feel a bit scratchy and stiff depending on the brand and their material makeup.
Readily available in the market place
Are fairly inexpensive
Are typically wrinkle-resistant
Are very durable and easily washable
Is not as breathable as other materials
Can trap heat and moisture
Certain brands can feel scratchy
Is more easily prone to stains from makeup and oil
If you're looking for a fabric that's breathable and comfortable, linen is a great option. Linen is a lightweight fiber that comes from the flax plant, and sheets made typically blended with cotton. These sheets are usually long-lasting and tend to get better with use (they usually get softer with more washes).
Linen sheets are very durable and grow softer over time
A very breathable material
Offers a clean and crisp look
Provide great temperature regulation
Dries quickly and has excellent-moisture wicking abilities
Has no stretch at all (especially when not blended with cotton)
Lyocell is made by removing and processing fibers from eucalyptus trees. The cellulose fibers are turned into individual woven fibers, which are then spun to create the sheets. Lyocell sheets are known for their softness and overall comfort.
Many experts agree that having at least three different sets of sheets is best (especially if you change your sheets every week). This way you can have one on the bed, one available in the linen closet, and one that is in the laundry basket waiting to be washed.
How Long Should A Good Set Of Sheets Last?
A quality sheet set can last between two and three years. However, fabrics made from natural fibers can last longer, from six to ten years. Keeping at least three sets of sheets and rotating them through use and washing can help extend the sheets' lifespan. Wash sheets on a cool, gentle cycle and hang dry whenever possible. Enjoy your sheets for years to come!
Wrapping Things Up
It's best to consider what type of sleeper you are before purchasing bedsheets, this way you can know what materials will be best to keep you comfortable.
Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts: