It’s 2021, aka the future, so the market is filled with innovative gadgets for a range of sleep woes. Still, the simple pleasure of sleeping in the best bed sheets of your life is pretty hard to beat. There’s no point in that fancy white noise machine or temperature-regulating pajamas when your bedding is subpar, so before you get all high-tech to improve your REM cycles, make sure you’ve got quality sheets on deck.
A great night’s sleep has the power to clear brain fog, keep your skin clear, and possibly clear up any miscommunications caused by exhaustion-fueled snippiness (we’ve all been there). Which is why we went on a hunt for the best bed sheets across the web. Whether you’re a notoriously hot sleeper or your toes are icicles by midnight, there’s something for you on this list. Ahead, discover top picks from Glamour staffers, plus crowd favorites with rave reviews. Trust us, these sheets aren’t (…or, are) to be slept on. Ahead, the 15 best bed sheets to shop in 2021—and answers to questions the internet can’t stop asking about them.
What is a good thread count for bed sheets?
There are a lot of misconceptions around this one, thanks to clever and misleading marketing jargon. Thread count refers to the number of threads woven together, horizontally and vertically, per square inch—and it’s not as important as you may think. “Thread count is largely a marketing gimmick,” says Ariel Kayes, founder and CEO of Parachute Home. “Manufacturers will twist thin, low-grade cotton threads into a smaller space, and claim double (or even quadruple) the thread count. None of this makes the sheets any better quality—in fact, it ultimately takes away from their durability and softness.”
Several experts we spoke to cosigned that in terms of thread count, it’s quality over quantity. “If you have poor quality yarn and manufacturing, a higher thread count won’t save you,” a rep from Snowe told us. “The optimal thread count depends on how the product is woven, and what matters most is the caliber of the fabric. Egyptian cotton and pure linen translate to softer, stronger bedding that lasts over time. Ultimately, it’s your bed and your body—so choose something that feels great against your skin and tuck in.” Also, pay attention to customer reviews about a set of sheets’ likeliness to shrink and pill, and be conscious of the sourcing, manufacturing, and finishing processes while you shop. All of these factors are more important than thread count because optimal count varies from fabric to fabric. Check out Consumer Reports’ breakdown on ways to avoid falling victim to the thread-count hype.
What are the softest bed sheets?
In terms of softness, nothing beats the undefeated classic that is 100% cotton. Polyester blends offer more durability and wrinkle-resistance, but you’ll be sacrificing the same suppleness of authentic cotton, especially that of long-fiber weaves like Egyptian, pima, or Supima. On the other hand, quality microfiber dupes have come a long way, and some do come close to matching the feel of the real thing. Jersey sheets are a good budget-friendly alternative and are still plenty cozy, and people sing the praises of trendy, eco-friendly bamboo and its ability to deliver the smoothness needed for a next-level snooze.
How to choose bed sheets
The best bed sheets for you depend on your personal needs and preferences, but one thing our experts agree on is that natural fibers reign supreme. “The quality of the materials is priority number one, and natural materials make the best bedding,” says the rep from Snowe. “Think of it like cooking: If you use high-quality ingredients, you experience the difference. Cotton is king, and the ‘free-range’ of fresh bedding is Egyptian cotton.” Obviously, if temperatures plummet to subzero territory in your neck of the woods, opt for something to keep you toasty at night, like flannel or fleece. For hot sleepers, lightweight, cooling sheets like bamboo and linen are better to keep those night sweats in check. If you prefer snappy, crisp sheets similar to a luxury hotel’s, percale sheets are for you. “We often compare our percale to the perfect button-down shirt–cool and crisp to the touch. The classic one-over-one-under weave makes it an exceptionally breathable fabric, and a garment-washing process gives it a more casual appearance,” says Kayes of Parachute. If you’re more into something that’s silky to the touch, sateen offers a more supple feel.
Additional factors to consider are dimensions and budget accommodations. Do you have a twin bed or a California king? Are you looking to splurge on luxury sheets or save your coins with a trusted value set? And last but not least, check whether the sheets are OEKO-TEX certified, which means free of harmful chemicals.
How often should you change bed sheets?
There’s no clear-cut answer here, but most experts recommend changing your sheets every 7 to 10 days. Clinical sleep educator Terry Cralle explains when you should consider washing even more: “If you shower or bathe in the morning instead of the evening, sleep naked, are prone to night sweats, eat in bed (just don’t), live in a warmer climate, have pets and kids in your bed frequently, or are ill—consider changing your sheets more often.” Even though you can’t see all of the unappealing things that build up in your bed over time with the naked eye, that doesn’t mean they’re not there. Microscopic dust mites, dead skin cells, body oils, sweat, and germs shack up with you when your sheets go unwashed, so make sure you’re running a load of laundry every week. Even when finding the time seems impossible, it’s not worth exposing your skin to all that—even if it means calling a laundry service to come pick it up and do it for you. But our friends at Snowe warn that you shouldn’t overdo it in terms of drying: “While heat does remove almost anything unsavory, stop while you’re ahead when it comes to preserving your sheets. Take them out of the dryer when they are just barely damp and dress your bed. It will prevent wrinkles and damage caused by overdrying.”
Ready to achieve the best sleep of your life? Read on for Glamour‘s 15 best bed sheets of 2021, and prepare your snooze button for attack.
Note: Prices below reflect queen sizes. Some reviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.