Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bedding 101

As the nights get colder and the days get shorter we all crave a nice cozy bed to end our long days with.  What constitutes "nice" for some, means something else to others.  Not only does the type of mattress matter when it comes to getting that good night's sleep, but so does the bedding we choose to sleep in.  Most of us just throw on a sheet, duvet or a blanket or two and a couple of pillows, not really considering the fabric we are surrounding ourselves with and with all that "thread count" talk, can you really blame us?  So that's why I'm going to shed some light on what all this means and hopefully help you get that "nice" cozy bed you've been craving. 

Thread Count
What exactly is thread count?  It's simply the amount of horizontal and vertical threads in one square inch of the material.  The higher the thread count the softer the sheet and ranges anywhere from 80 all the way up to 800.  Depending on the material, a higher thread count doesn't necessarily mean higher quality, and they aren't guaranteed to last longer.  Your best option is to choose a cotton-blend with a 180-200 thread count.  

Facts About Cotton
Cotton ranges in price, depending on the percentage found in the sheet, not to mention the different types being used.  The most expensive being Egyptian cotton.  It's known to be one of the most luxurious, soft and durable options, but   it's important to look at the percentage actually being used.  A cotton/polyester blend is the best option for most, one being more affordable and the second being able to withstand wrinkles more than other blends.  

Flannel and Silk
Made from a wool textile and cotton blend, flannel comes in a wide range of thread counts, making it a cozy choice for the winter.  Most manufacturers won't list the percentage on labels due to the fact that they feel it isn't important and less applicable to the material.  I wouldn't recommend this for the summer or for use in warmer homes.  Silk is a breathable fabric that pulls moisture from the body during the heat of the summer and holds the body heat in the winter.  For people with allergies this is a great choice, being hypoallergenic.  

It's all about personal preference when it comes to choosing your pillow/s. Fatter pillows allow for a side sleeper to have more neck support while a back sleeper should stick with a flatter one.  Of course the size reflects the size of the bed.  Twin pillows for twin beds, queen pillows for queen bed etc.  Cheaper pillows are great for decor purposes while more expensive pillows should be used for sleeping.  What's used inside of the pillow is very important especially for those with allergies.  Down or feather filled are not great choices in those cases, even when the label reads "hypoallergenic".  Consider "hypodown" pillows which are specially processed to be hypoallergenic.  Foam pillows hold a better, firmer shape while the down allows your head to sink down into it.  All pillows should have casings and are not dust-mite free.  Polyester is a happy medium between foam and down. 

Duvets and Comforters   
Originating in Europe, duvets and duvet covers come in a vast array of designs and most duvets today are filled with duck down/feather combinations, with goose being the more expensive option.  The higher the quality the less likely to leak feathers.  You can also get duvets that are filled with synthetic fibers as well.  Comforters are basically thicker blankets that are filled with polyester batting.  Before making your choice of cover, keep in mind the temperature of the home and the environment which you are sleeping in.  

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