By Gen Y Copy
Believe it or not, I’ve just got back from an Indiana Jones-type adventure that took me across thirteen continents and two galaxies, before I ended up enduring a rather expensive taxi ride across the Forbidden Hills of Guatemala, all in the hope of discovering the ancient Scrolls of Bedgasm which, according to legend, hid The Four Rules Of A Great Night’s Sleep. The bad news is, I’m exhausted. The good news is, my exploit was not in vain for I am now considered to be the Harrison Ford of the bed world having made my mission a success.
Here is the best bit, though. Not only did I get the word “Bedgasm” translated into English (it means, “That feeling of total euphoria you experience climbing into bed at the end of a very long day”) I also had the Four Rules Of A Great Night’s Sleep translated, as seen below:
Rule 1: Know what matters in a mattress so that you can find one that is right for you.
Rule 2: Finding deep sleep requires you to pick the perfect pillow.
Rule 3: Don’t have kids.
Rule 4: Good bed linen is worth its weight in platinum.
Rather disappointingly, I already knew about the first three rules; I’ve written somewhat scholarly articles on the first two and I haven’t slept for three years as a result of the third. The fourth rule, however, now that piqued my interest like nothing I have ever experienced before (I lead a sad life, I know), which is why I immediately delved into the archives of MI6 and scoured the shelves of the Bodleian Library in the hope of finding yet more answers.
One thing I immediately discovered was that good quality bed linen is well worth the investment. This isn’t just true because we spend a third of our lives in bed, but because good quality linen is like a magnum bottle of 2001 Barolo – it gets better with age.
Anyway, here is everything else I found out from my deep dive into the world of high-end bed sheets:
The Must-Have Materials
Once upon a time, almost every sheet on the market was either made of cotton, cotton or cotton; a trend that has seemingly lasted the test of time because it is still the most popular fabric today. I mean, it’s not even close. Cotton is king. “How can this be?” I hear you ask. That’s simple: cotton offers the big three in durability, comfort, and breathability. That last point is of huge importance. You see, cotton has this unrivalled ability to trap warm air and let cool air pass through, which makes it the ideal candidate no matter what sort of climate you live in.
It could be minus -20 outside with frost kissing the roof tiles as far as the eye can see, or it could be so toasty the only thing daring to leave the shade are Jesus Lizards, and even their feet can’t move quickly enough across the hot sand.
In terms of the gold standard when it comes to bed linen, the ancient Scrolls of Bedgasm clearly stated that anything bearing the symbol of Egyptian, Pima or Sea Island cotton needs to be snapped up and cherished as if they are vases from the Ming Dynasty. Just make sure that the fabric is 100% that material, though, and the packaging isn’t trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Too many shops and sellers are throwing the term “Egyptian Cotton” around all willy-nilly. The truth, however, is that Egyptian cotton is grown, treated and processed according to some rather strict stipulations. So, make sure you trust the name on the sheet and make sure you feel just how soft the material is before you wave ba-bye to your cash.
The Truth About Thread Count
There is no way you have managed to get through life without hearing how important thread count is in the search for good bed linen. Yet the chances of you knowing what thread count really means still remains stupidly slim. To give it to you in Layman’s terms – which are the best kind of terms – thread count refers to the number of vertical and horizontal threads in one square inch of fabric. So, if you’re staring at some linen that boasts a thread count of 200 then it means there are 200 threads per square inch of that fabric. Easy, huh.
Unfortunately, we live in a day and age where people just regurgitate factoids without ever checking to see if they are indeed facts, which is why so many people will happily tell you that the higher the thread count the better the linen. This isn’t exactly true because there are other variables that need to be taken into consideration, such as:
Your Yarn: One of the most important factors in the search for quality bed linen is how awesome the yarn is (read: the quality and finesse). To give it to you straighter than a third-grader’s ruler, it is better to buy some bed sheets made from quality yarn with a lower thread count that it is to buy some sheets with a high thread count but a lower yarn quality; it will not only feel softer but it will also stand up to your washing machine with a lot more style and grace. So, yes, aim for a thread count of 200+ but make sure the quality of the yarn is high too, which can be done by reading about the cotton-slash-linen levels on the back. If you follow this advice then you will find you own the kind of bed sheets that get better after every wash, just like the ones your grandmumma used to own. Mmmmmm.
Worry About Weaves: The other variable that is going to affect the quality of your linen is the weave. This is going to affect the way your linen looks and, more importantly, feels. Luckily for you, the choice is pretty slim, meaning you won’t be caught looking at a menu of delicious options unsure of which one to go with. Nope. There are just two: Sateen or percale.
- Sateen is almost onomatopoeic – smooth and silky with a little a little bit of shine to it, which is due to the raised yarn profile in the weave.
- Percale is not onomatopoeic, but it does have that crisp and fresh feel to it, while the simple weave construction gives it that lovely flat finish.
Find The Right Fit
This may sound obvious, but there is nothing worse than trying to wrestle a too-tiny bed sheet onto a mattress. Okay, so standing on an upturned plug probably constitutes as worse, but that’s about it. So make sure you are doing yourself a favour by purchasing linen that is the correct size. If you have a super-kingsize Sealy Jubilee Ortho mattress then make sure you get yourself some super-kingsize sheets. If you have a double Kaymed Memory Signature then make sure you get yourself some double-sized sheets. If you really want to get that snug fit – without having to learn how to do hospital corners – then look for sheets that have elastic all the way around to give you that no-hassle smooth finish.
If you have a non-standard sized bed then you may find your search for the perfect-fit linen a little tougher. What we recommend on this front is that you measure your mattress with a tape, make a note of all the dimension and then head to that little-known search engine called Google. If you use a mattress topper, and why wouldn’t you, then make sure you account for this extra height when buying your linen, which is easily done by investing in extra-deep sheets. Simple.
Cheapie Option For The Spare Room
Not everyone is going to want to pay a premium for a sheet that is going to get used once in the summer and twice at Christmas. We get it. You may also find that expensive linen is totally wasted on your kids who wouldn’t know the difference between Egyptian cotton and sandpaper. That is where a cotton-polyester blend could save you some pennies. If you really want to save yourself some hassle too, then grab a set that is marked with “easy-care”. You don’t need to go crazy, just a 90/10 blend will be enough of a compromise on the poly front and you’ll find they feel crisp, soft and cosy straight out of the dryer. Just please try not to go above 30 percent polyester, unless it is your mother-in-law staying. It just isn’t going to be a pleasant stay.
Just remember, look after your sheet and they will look after you. Until next time, sheet dreams.