My baby sister really loves sheets. She’ll have nothing but the best, and she’s really into counting threads. No, wait. She’s really into the thread count. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Exactly What Is A Thread Count?
For conventional cotton sheets, the consensus is that the quality is measured by the thread count. The industry leads us to believe that the higher the count, the better the sheet. The technical definition of thread count is: a measure of how many threads are in one square inch. The vertical (warp) and the horizontal (weft) weave of the fabric is counted up to determine the thread count.
Does Thread Count Matter?
It sure does, but not as much as you might think. It’s a good place to start, but a high thread count does not necessarily mean a better sheet. Let me explain. Stick with me, now. This can be a little confusing.
For the most part, very high thread counts are a deceptive marketing trap. According to Boll & Branch, makers of fine bedding, to get these extremely high thread counts (800 to 1000 or more) manufacturers pump up the count by using multi-ply yarn. This is yarn made up by twisting many threads together. Jamming these multi-ply threads together results in heavy, scratchy sheets that can do a job on a good night’s sleep. Consequently, a 300 thread count sheet can be a much better sheet than a 1000 thread count sheet. There are, of course, other factors to be taken into consideration when sheet-shopping. They include:
- Fiber – basically, what the sheets are made of. Cotton-polyester blend sheets are wrinkle-resistant, lasts longer and are less expensive than all-cotton sheets. But for a cool, soft feeling, 100% cotton is hard to beat. Not unbeatable, hard to beat. They are also less likely to stain than polyester blends.
- Weave – affects what the sheet will look like, how long it will last, and how much it’s gonna cost. The weaves range from basic – an equal number of vertical and horizontal yarns, to Sateen, which has more vertical than horizontal yarns. The higher the vertical threads, the softer the fabric. Basic weaves are the least expensive, Sateen weaves are the most expensive. There are a couple of weaves in between, but I’m sure you get the picture.
- Finish – chemicals to keep the sheet from shrinking, losing its shape and wrinkling. Some are treated with alkalies to make them nice and shiny. There are a few manufacturers that offer pure-finish sheets (no chemicals) but they can get pretty expensive.
- Dye – patterns and colors applied to sheets after they’re woven. The softest – and most expensive – sheets are made of yarn-dyed fabrics woven from colored yarn.
All of these elements, along with the thread count, determine the quality of the sheets that you will crawl in between tonight.
Is Cotton Really King?
The largest “other factor” in the equation is indeed what the sheets are made of. Most of us assume that the best sheets are made of 100% cotton. I get that. We have been conditioned to believe that “if it ain’t cotton, it’s rotten (I just made that up).” I mean, the best sheets on the market start with 100% cotton or silk, right? Wrong. Some of the best sheets on the market are made of 100% cotton or silk, but there are notable exceptions. By all accounts, following is one of them:
Fabric Blend For Sportswear Gets a New Life
In 2008, famed University of South Carolina women’s basketball coaches Susan Walvius and Michelle Marciniak were talking about how nice it would be to have sheets made out of the same fabric that their Nike athletic wear was made out of. They were impressed with how great the fabric felt and its ability to transfer heat and moisture away from the body. Out of that conversation came Sheex Performance Sheets. Their company produces sheets that are constructed of the same fabric blend that most modern athletic wear is made of: 87% polyester, 13% spandex. According to the company, this blend releases trapped body heat more efficiently and is 50% more breathable than traditional cotton sheets. Although the sheets have been well received overall, they do have their detractors. Some of the pros and cons:
- very soft
- draws moisture away from skin
- luxury copper set contains copper within the fabric with potential anti-oxidant properties to help rejuvenate skin
- pretty pricey
- feel may take some getting used to
- loose weave can catch on rough heels and elbows
- completely synthetic fabric
You Get What You Pay For
As mentioned, these sheets can get up there in price. A queen set (fitted sheet, flat sheet, two pillowcases) starts at around $200.00. However, the quality of the sheets is evident in the stitching and exceptional finish. Shrinking is negligible as long as you follow care instructions, and they are very durable.
Many buyers claim that Sheex sheets are the softest sheets that they have ever used. They feel something like silk, and as mentioned above, can take some getting used to if you have been sleeping on cotton sheets all your life.
A significant benefit of these sheets is how they deal with body sweat. The fabric prevents moisture from being trapped next to your skin. If you have problems with getting too hot during the night, sweat a lot, want a sheet that is not going to come off easily, and are looking for something that will stand the test of time, Sheex sheets are for you. Get yourself a set and come back here and tell us how much you like them.