Does Our Bedding Impact Our ZZZ’s? Find out the Secrets Behind a Good Night’s Sleep

The bed is where we go to unwind, relax, and recharge, but all three are becoming even more difficult to achieve as the wrath of the pandemic wears on. With “work from home,” virtual school and mounting to-do lists, so many are finding more restless nights than ever before. There is hope, though. There are very quick fixes, sleep experts and bedding gurus swear by.

There are many things that can contribute to a good night’s sleep.

Some of the easiest to implement include controlling your environment. By reducing blue light exposure a few hours before hitting the sheets can certainly help. Eliminating your caffeine intake can also combat tossing and turning into the wee hours and maintaining a set sleep schedule also helps your body get into a healthy groove.

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Other remedies include setting your thermostat to a low temperature so that you don’t overheat when in your slumber and doing your best to quiet your mind by some meditation, aromatherapy and sound machine support. But the most effective way to ensure you’ll fall asleep faster and then remain there is to create the most luxurious, most comfortable bed experience possible.

A misconception among many is that sheets are sheets but that just isn’t so. All linens are not created equal and not all bedding offers the same benefits. Founder of American Blossom Linens, Janet Wischnia, has seen her high-end, made in the USA cotton bedding company explode, since the pandemic hit. “So many are invested in their homes now and overworked, overstressed and just desperate for rest and relaxation,” says Janet. “I think that fact coupled with the newfound passion to invest in one’s home are the primary reasons for the surge.”

Softer sheets, which can cool or heat as-needed according to body temperature are just some of the fine qualities of her linen brand. The cotton is homegrown, and spun in the south, offering its clientele a warm, cozy and cocoon-like vibe which customers rave about. “I was having a horrific time falling asleep,” says FemCity founder Violette de Ayala. “I decided to make my bed as comfortable as possible and give these linens a try. Not every night is smooth sailing, but I do see a difference in the quality of sleep I’m getting because I’m more comfortable in my bed,” she says.

Here is what to look for when shopping sheets:

First, check the Fiber:

Be sure you’re buying cotton. The benefits of cotton linens include a smooth, soft texture, breathable fabric, odor resistant and extremely durable so it can withstand a lifetime of washing. At night, our bodies expend heat, so it’s extremely important that your bedding have the ability to release the heat, otherwise, you’ll wake up in the middle of the night from sweating and discomfort.  When shopping for the cotton linens, be sure to look for organic cotton because not only is organic cotton naturally soft and strong, but it is also free from pesticides and harsh chemicals, requiring less water and energy to produce than conventional cotton and contributes to healthier soil. So, it’s eco-friendly!

Second, check the yarn:

Starting with the finest American organic cotton, when making good linens, fibers should be put through a process called combing that pulls out the shorter fibers and impurities and ring spinning that softens and straightens each fiber. The result is a refined, strong, single ply yarn that resists pilling and stays smooth wash after wash and most importantly is soft and luxurious against your skin and lasts and lasts.

Third, check the weave and thread count:

There are two types of weaves used to make cotton bedding, percale and sateen. A percale weave, which is a traditional one-yarn-over and one-yarn-under is superior because it a is very structurally sound, wearing fabric that is resistant to pilling. It is known for its longevity and crisp feel. Percale sheets are comfortable all year long, smooth, strong, and substantial.

Buying a good set of sheets is harder than you may think. There are many factors to consider and a lot of misconceptions about what matters most.

Does thread count matter?

Thread Count, the number of threads in each square inch of fabric, was once considered the single most important measure of quality, but now we know better. A sheet of better-quality fiber with a lower thread count will feel softer and stand up to washing better than a sheet of lower-quality fiber with a higher thread count. Not long ago a thread count of 180 was considered the most luxurious. Today, in an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the consumer,thread counts are artificially inflated because manufacturers use multi ply yarn instead of good quality traditional single ply yarn. Manufacturers count every single fiber or ply that makes up a yarn so if a yarn was four ply, they count that as four threads when calculating the thread count. Now, that is not telling the truth!

Fourth, check the finish:

Many of us watch what we put into our bodies, avoiding additives and chemicals, so why not also be aware of what is going into the sheets you sleep on? Many fabrics used for bedding are made of synthetic materials and are treated with harsh chemicals or additives that leach into your skin, causing irritation or even allergic reactions. We spend one-third of our lives in bed, so it’s important that the surface where you lie is not only comfortable but safe,” According to Janet Wischnia

A pure finish avoids the use of heavy dyes, pastes or resins and give sheets a soft, crisp, fresh feel and is environmentally friendly. Instead of using chemicals for shrinkage control, mechanical processing can be used to reduce shrinkage and soften the fabric. Sheets labeled “Wrinkle-Free”, “Easy Care” and “Permanent Press” indicate the fabric may have been treated with formaldehyde resin, one of the most toxic chemical fabric finishes. Formaldehyde is one of about two dozen toxins commonly found in textiles that are believed by doctors to contribute to Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS),” Wischnia added.

Fifth, check the size:

To determine the correct size of your bedding, start by measuring the mattress.

A sheet is no good if it does not fit the mattress. No one wants to buy a set of sheets only to find out that the flat sheet is too small and does not hang over the edges or tuck in properly, or that the fitted sheet does not fit and pops off the mattress.Standard sizes, like queen and king, don’t account for mattress depth. Check the size of your mattress, the width, depth and length. If you are using a mattress topper don’t forget to measure the mattress with the added product on top. Many standard mattresses average 9-12 inches deep, while newer mattresses (including pillow top mattresses) are 14 to 16 inches deep. These measurements will determine the fitted sheet size you should purchase. The right fitted sheet will be taut on the mattress and require little tug to pull it in place.

Also, isn’t it annoying that you and your partner each have 2 pillows, so you need a total of 4 pillowcases each time you make your bed, but your new set of sheets only comes with 2 pillowcases? Look for a set of sheets (like American Blossom Linens) that gives you the 4 pillowcases you need.

There’s more to feeling good in bed than what touches your skin. Good feelings also come from living your beliefs and using products that support your values. In the end, the sheets you buy should not only feel good to you, they should also make you feel good about the purchase.

The current economic situation has caused more people to look at where they spend their dollars. If you buy American made products, you help your friends, your neighbors and yourself. When you buy products made in the USA you support local companies that pay employees a fair wage, offer them healthcare and other benefits. It will make you rest easier knowing that your purchase has been safely and ethically manufactured in accordance with stringent US workplace, health and safety regulations.

Imported products take an over 8000-mile trip on cargo ships from India or China that use heavy, tar like fuel oil (called bunker fuel) that is horribly polluting and produces massive amounts of greenhouse gases as well as sulfur dioxide. Buying USA made products eliminates these pollutants.

What is most important-How do the sheets feel? 

At the end of day, literally, the most important aspect of all is comfort. If you are wrestling in bed, because of ill-feeling sheets, wake up from a sound slumber due to body heat or just don’t feel “Zen” when you put your head down at night, your body will take the toll and ultimately your mind too. We struggle enough in this Covid-ridden world full of stress and anxiety, your bed should be your one escape from that reality. So, when you make your bed each morning, you can thank your sheets, knowing they had the power to give you the best quality of sleep and sweetest dreams possible!


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