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How to Pick Bed Sheets Based on How You Sleep: 2021 Buying Guide

a shot of a person sleeping comfortably in bed
Written By
PARACHUTE TEAM
Photographs By
JESSICA SCHRAMM FOR PARACHUTE
@parachutehome
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There's no one-size-fits-all sleeping environment. Some sleepers like firm mattresses, while others are all in on plushness. Some prefer structured pillows, and others want a light and fluffy feel. Then there are those who crave warm and toasty nights, and those who need crisp, refreshing coolness to drift off.

Aside from how you set your thermostat, your bedding plays a big role in regulating body temperature while you catch those Zs. Sheets, in particular, can offer insulation and breathability, keeping you cozy, cool or a little of both. Some even wick away sweat. Beyond that, some materials are better suited for sensitive skin or allergies, or for households with a loving pet or two. Here's what you should know.

What to Look for in Bedding: What Matters and What Doesn't

Selecting sheets that work for your unique needs and preferences is crucial for getting a good night's rest. But with so many types of bedding on the market, it can be hard to know where to start. So, what matters and what doesn't? Read on for a detailed breakdown of what to look for in bedding, as well as things that aren't all that important.

What Matters When Shopping for Bed Sheets

You'll want to make sure you're investing in bed linens that not only feel great, but will also last for years. Here are key factors to consider as you sift through labels, product descriptions and claims.

1. Fiber Source

Natural textiles, including cotton and linen, are generally superior to synthetic bedding materials. They offer an ideal balance of breathability and insulation while wicking away moisture. That gives you the best of both worlds, to keep your sleep cool in summer and warm in winter. Synthetic fabrics tend to trap heat.

Parachute carries brushed cotton, percale and sateen sheets, all made from 100% cotton fibers. The latter two are woven from ELS (extra-long staple) Egyptian cotton, which offers an ultra-soft yet durable structure.

The linen sheets from Parachute are loomed from flax fibers. Known for its unbeatable strength and lightweight feel, the fabric is a favorite among bedding connoisseurs. When you invest in sheets made of flax or ELS cotton, you can count on this material to get softer with every wash.

2. Weave

Weave also plays a role in overall comfort. There are two main styles to look out for: plain and satin. Linen, brushed cotton and percale are loomed with a plain square weave (alternating one thread over, then one under).

Sateen bedding features a satin weave, which typically alternates four threads over, then one under. Thanks to its complex, relatively tight weave structure, sateen tends to be a bit warmer than its plain-woven counterparts.

3. Finish

The other feature to consider when choosing bed sheets is the finish. Similar to flannel, brushed cotton bedding is finished with a fine-toothed metal comb. This gives it an incredibly soft feel while offering a little extra insulation. But unlike flannel, it's only brushed on one side, making it dreamily cozy but still plenty breathable.

What Doesn't Matter When Buying Sheets

Now that you know what to look for in bedding, you might be wondering what characteristics and marketing terms can be brushed aside.

1. Thread Count

A common misconception about bed sheets is that the higher the thread count, the better the quality. There are currently no industry regulations that govern claims, let alone how a brand should count threads. And theoretically, even if a fabric hit the 1,000-thread-count mark, it would likely be uncomfortably heavy and would trap too much heat. Look instead at a sheet’s fiber, weave, and finish.

2. Bedding Labeled As “Organic” 

The plant fibers used to make organic bedding are grown sustainably. This is good for the environment. Yet it doesn't really have anything to do with your comfort — or even your health. In fact, most of the time the word organic is used as a marketing gimmick. Oeko-Tex certification, however, is considered a way to authenticate bedding as truly high-quality and chemical free. 

To learn more about Oeko-Tex vs “organic” bedding, check out our Organic Bedding Guide.

What to Look for in Bedding for Every Type of Sleeper

Do you run hot while you sleep or get night sweats? Are you partial to cozy, insulating fabrics? Do you have allergies, skin sensitivities or pets? Keep reading for a rundown of the best sheets for every type of sleeper.

1. What is the Best Bedding for Hot Sleepers?

The best bedding for cold weather is brushed cotton or sateen. Featuring buttery-soft fluffed fibers on one side, brushed cotton sheets are insulating and undeniably snuggly. Yet they won't trap heat or make you sweat. The tight satin weave of sateen offers a little more warmth than brushed cotton, plus a luxuriously smooth feel. While these materials both make excellent bedding for winter, they're also breathable enough for year-round use.

2. What is the Best Bedding for Night Sweats?

The best bedding for night sweats is either linen or percale. These breathable, non-insulating and naturally-absorbent textiles wick away sweat as you doze, while encouraging air circulation. Thanks to their plain weave and plant-sourced fibers, they're also notably lightweight and won't trap heat.

3. What is the Best Bedding for Cold Weather?

The best bedding for cold weather is brushed cotton or sateen. Featuring buttery-soft fluffed fibers on one side, brushed cotton sheets are insulating and undeniably snuggly. Yet they won't trap heat or make you sweat. The tight satin weave of sateen offers a little more warmth than brushed cotton, plus a luxuriously smooth feel. While these materials both make excellent bedding for winter, they're also breathable enough for year-round use.

4. What is the Best Bedding for Sensitive Skin?

The best bedding for sensitive skin is brushed cotton. This naturally-sourced textile is inherently breathable with a soft, soothing weave. The brushed finish is known for being gentle and non-irritating for those with eczema and other skin conditions. Linen sheets are also a good choice, since the airy fabric wicks away moisture and prevents bacteria growth.

5. What is the Best Hypoallergenic Bedding?

The best hypoallergenic bedding is made from plant fibers like brushed cotton, sateen, percale and linen. These naturally-sourced textiles are unlikely to cause allergic reactions. Since they're breathable and moisture-wicking, they also help keep bacteria and dust mites at bay. When browsing bedding for allergies, you might also want to consider pillows and a duvet with a down alternative fill. Some sleepers are sensitive to real down fibers sourced from geese and ducks.

6. What is the Best Bedding for Pet Hair?

The best bedding for pet hair is sateen or linen. Sateen's smooth, tight weave is less likely to trap hairs than other fabrics. Linen, on the other hand, is naturally antimicrobial and resistant to static, so it doesn't harbor bacteria and won't cling to hair. Synthetic fabrics, like polyester and nylon, tend to cause the most static, so steer clear of those if you have pets.

To learn more about the best bedding for pets, check out our Pet Friendly Fabrics Guide.

7. What are the Best Bedding Colors?

Knowing what to look for in bedding will start you on the right foot when browsing different options. However, color is also an important consideration. The right hue can help set the vibe for your space and tie in the rest of your decor.

Though it can be tempting to buy sheets in a vibrant color or print, neutral bed linens are your best bet. But don't worry — this doesn’t mean your bedroom style will be boring. Pared-down hues are versatile and timeless, so your bedding won't be outdated after a couple of years.

The sheets and duvet sets from Parachute come in a range of nature-inspired hues, like bone, fog, clay and terra cotta. When you browse the selection, you'll find other sophisticated, minimalist colors, including white, grey, charcoal, blush pink and surplus green. These simple, calming shades offer a perfect finishing touch when designing your most restful sleeping environment.

Not sure which color suits your personal style? Order a few fabric swatches to see and feel the textiles in person.

What are the Best Sheets Currently on the Market?

At this point, you know what to look for in bedding, when it comes to fiber source, weave and finish, as well as what keywords are more of a gimmick. You should also have a good grasp of the fabrics that fare better for people who run hot or cold, get night sweats, have sensitive skin or have pets. And you know what colors are best for bedding.

Want to put this newfound knowledge to good use? Upgrade your sleeping quarters with new bedding from Parachute. Whether you're leaning toward linen, brushed cotton, percale or sateen, you'll find high-quality pieces at affordable prices. From sheets, pillowcases and shams to comforters, duvet covers and quilts, Parachute has it all.

If you need more guidance, schedule a complimentary consultation with an expert stylist at Parachute. After meeting with you via video chat or over the phone, your stylist will send you a personalized lookbook for your space. Book your appointment today!