Sheets, Pillowcases, and Blankets

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Walk into any department store and you will find rows of shelves devoted to bed linens. Fine living in comfort and style extends to the bedroom.  With the multitude of materials and terminology surrounding today’s bedding, making sense of it all can be somewhat confusing. Color and style aside, the major factors in bedding selection are comfort, durability, and price. Scratchy sheets and slippery pillowcases might be cute but definitely uncomfortable. (See also our page on sleepwear.)

Fabrics

The most common fabrics used in bedding are cotton, percale, and muslin. Sheet made from blends of cotton and polyester are durable and easy to care for. However, pure cotton tends to win rave reviews for comfort. Thread count is important for some people when selecting bed linens. The thread count is the number of threads per square inch of fabric. However, there is a limit to the number of threads that a manufacturer can squeeze into an inch of fabric without making the threads thinner. Some people swear that they can tell the difference between 120 and 180 thread counts, but they are probably mistaken. Generally, a tighter woven fabric is far more comfortable and durable, but the higher the thread count, the more expensive the linens. Some design mavens advise purchasing the highest thread count you can afford, reasoning that good quality bedding is an investment that is likely to pay off in the long run.

Egyptian and Pima cottons are hot sellers in bedding fabrics. These fabrics are both soft and durable. Catch these natural fibers on sale to make the best of your bedding budget.

The final consideration when purchasing bed linens is mattress fit. Consumers once went to the store and selected their bedding via the standard guide of King, Queen, Full, etc. However, as mattress technology changes, so must bedding guidelines. The most pressing purchasing concern these days is the thickness of the mattress which dictates that the consumer purchase sheets with deeper pockets. Additionally, pillowcases also come in sizes as pillows are made to fit two across on King, Queen, and Full bed sizes.

Hotel Bed Wars

Upscale hotel chains engaged in one upmanship in the beds in their rooms during the so-called Hotel Bed Wars. Between 1999 and 2006 travelers saw the rise of these options:

Heavenly Bed – Westin Hotels
Serenity Bed – Hilton
Revive Collection – Marriott
Hyattt Grand Bed – Hyatt
Sleep Number Bed – Radison
Sleep Advantage Bed – Crowne Plaza

Hammocks

In modern America, hammocks are usually installed outdoors and used, if at all, for daytime naps. The hammock has a long history. The Mayan Hammock is the name for a certain kind you can find for sale today. One advantage of the hammock is the rocking motion can promote sleep. The blog Lifehacker alerted us to the Egyptian Method for sleeping in hot weather. This involves placing a damp towel on top of your body when sleeping.

Studies of modern hunter-gatherer peoples suggest the beds are simple and no coverings or pillows. Somwtimes the sleeper uses the ground, although elevation is useful for avoiding bugs. The ancients also seemed to sleep in large groups in contrast to the modern pattern of one or two people in the bed.

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