How to pick the perfect bed sheets

Wondering how to pick the best bed sheets? Our guide to thread count, material and weaves will help you make the best choice.

Sheet material and thread count
You spend almost one third of your life in bed – shouldn't you love the sheets you're wrapped up in?

Proper bed sheets are a truly worthwhile investment. Just as the right blanket or duvet provides the perfect warmth for your cosy cocoon, the right sheets provide a comforting layer against your skin. Slipping into a silky set of sheets is a relatively inexpensive luxury, while cheaply made bargain bedding provides a false economy given the itchy, unpleasant sleep environment it creates.

Here's what you need to know to get the sheets that suit you best.

Thread count
Thread count refers to the quantity of threads woven into a square inch of the sheet's fabric. Look for a minimum of 200, but no higher than 600. (Anything over 600 is likely to uncomfortably trap body heat.)

Sheets falling within the thread count sweet spot of 280 to 400 will have a smooth, soft, absorbent and breathable feel. They'll wear better and shrink less, meaning you'll replace them less often than their cheaper counterparts. Best of all, they're widely available at all price points.

Cotton is still considered the go-to sheet-set fibre. It's comfortable year-round and easy to care for. Cotton comes in different qualities, so be prepared for some variety in pricing.

Sea Island Cotton
is grown only in the West Indies, parts of Georgia and the Carolinas. It's silky, white and considered by fabric aficionados to be the best in the world.

Egyptian cotton is the ne plus ultra of bed linens. It produces durable, luxuriously soft sheets.

Pima or Supima cotton is American-grown and known for its high quality.

100 per cent cotton is a catchall term for non-premium cotton.

Organic cotton is grown without pesticides and is a great choice for eco-friendly consumers. Sheets made of organic cotton are carried by an increasing number of shops and can be found online.

Bamboo is a fast-growing Asian plant that can flourish without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, making it an eco-friendly fabric. Bamboo-blend sheets (often mixed with cotton) are soft, breathable and easy to care for.

Modal is a soft, durable fibre made from beech pulp, often blended with cotton.

Page 1 of 2 -- Find out how to care for your sheets on page 2.

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