If you're like my wife, you're obsessed with the quality of your sheets and how it affects your overall sleeping experience. She spends ages comparing thread counts and fabrics to get us the best sheets, and while I personally think I sleep just as well on the cheap Walmart sheets, I do have to admit our sheets are pretty comfortable.
While most people tend to think that the higher the thread count the better the sheets, this is actually a misconception that acts as a helpful tool for linen retailers. As the Huffington Post points out:
“[It’s] an invention of the American market,” said [Nancy] Koltes, [a luxury linens designer]. More specifically, thread count isn’t so much a “lie” as it is a falsified way to determine to the quality of sheets, especially when it’s used as the only way to determine quality. Just as we attach labels like “low-fat” and “organic” to food, linen retailers extended this to luxury linens in the mid-1990s, Koltes explains. By the early 2000s, the “thread count lie” had reached new levels when the first 1,000-plus thread count linens were introduced. “It’s just all promotional. Thread count doesn’t represent quality,” Koltes says. Nevertheless, it seems to have stuck with customers.
So, if thread count isn't the deciding factor, what is? Here's what you need to look out for:
- Fiber: longer fibers make for higher quality sheets. Look out for pima, supima, organic cotton, cotton-poplin, cotton-polyester, and bamboo.
- Weave: percale and/or sateen weave sheets will never disappoint.
- Location: Just like real estate, it's all about location, location, location. Amanda Mettler, a professional textile buyer, says, "I can guarantee a 200 thread count from Italy is better quality than a 1,000 thread count from Pakistan." France and Italy produce the highest quality sheets, even if they use fibers from other countries (such as Egyptian cotton).