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The Westin Heavenly Bed Middle Flat Sheet
Editor's Pick: The Westin Heavenly Bed Middle Flat Sheet

For the Home: How to Buy Sheets.

By Tanja KernSHOP.COM For the Home Editor

How much time did you spend on your last bed sheet purchase? Chances are, not very much. People spend an average of 7.5 hours per night in bed, and yet most of us don't give our sleeping environments much thought until we hit the pillow to catch some Zs. Sheets are an important element to create a cozy, sleep-friendly bedroom, but shopping for them can be confusing. Let SHOP.COM's Sheet Buying Guide help you figure out which sheets fit your bed and budget. Wishing you the sweetest of dreams.

The Basics

Step 1Thread count: Thread count is the number of threads that are in one square inch of fabric. The higher the thread count, the softer and more durable the sheet. Thread counts range anywhere from 180 to more than 1,000. Choose sheets with thread counts between 200 and 400 for a good balance of quality and affordability.
Step 2Fabrics: Fibers play a key role in the quality of a sheet. If you're looking for luxury, opt for sheets that are 100 percent cotton, linen or silk. Egyptian, Pima or Supima cotton has a reputation for a softer, luxurious feel. If you love wrinkle-free sheets, stick with polyester, but they won't breathe as easily as natural fibers do. For this reason, some people choose a cotton/polyester blend for the best of both worlds.
Step 3Size: Twin, Full, Queen, King, we're all familiar with common bed sizes. But in reality, it's always a safe play to measure your mattress - including width, length and depth - to ensure you're shopping for the right size sheet. Pillowtops add height to any mattress, which might mean you'll need a fitted sheet with and extra deep pocket. Pockets on sheets often range between 15 and 22 inches. For fitted sheets, you might want to go with a pocket that's slightly deeper than your mattress to ensure that the sheet stays on.
Step 4Weave: The way fibers are put together determine a sheet's weave. If you're looking for soft, crisp sheets, opt for Percale. Pinpoint weaves also have a crisp feel, like a men's dress shirt. A twill weave creates a thicker fabric. Sateens have a tight, lustrous weave.
Step 5Construction: Look for elastic all the way around a fitted sheet, or at least along each side. Stitches should be small and neat.
Step 6Cost: A good night's sleep doesn't have to be expensive. There are a variety of 250 to 300 thread count bed sheets that cost less than $30, while 1000 count sheets can run as high as $1,200. The price you pay depends on the fiber, thread count and quality of the sheet.

The Lingo

Egyptian Cotton: Grown in Egypt, this cotton has extra long fibers that create a high level of softness and durability. Egyptian cotton is known for its good quality.
Organic Cotton: Grown without the use of pesticides or herbicides, sheets from organic cotton promote a healthier night's sleep and are easier on the environment.
Pima Cotton: Grown in the southwest of the United States, this cotton has fibers that are almost as long as Egyptian Cotton and are also of good quality.
Supima Cotton: Supima is the promotional organization of the American Pima cotton growers. The term "Supima" is a licensed trademark that denotes a high quality cotton product.
Flannel Sheets: Made from cotton, these sheets have a special nap on one side that get softer each time you launder them.
Satin: Made of woven polyester, nylon or acetate, the smooth feel of this fabric comes from tightly woven small fibers.
Sateen: Usually made of cotton, and sometimes rayon, this fabric places most threads on the surface, making it lustrous and smooth, although not as durable as other weaves.
Silk: A natural fiber, silk sheets are extremely soft and more expensive than other types of sheets. Silk sheets typically require hand washing or dry cleaning.
Thread count: This is the number of threads per square inch of fabric. The more threads, the softer and more durable the sheet.
Percale: A term that identifies sheets with thread counts of 180 or more.
Bamboo fibers: Relatively new to the market, sheets made from bamboo fibers are softer than cotton and drape like silk. Bamboo is a rapidly renewable resource that doesn't need pesticides to grow successfully.

The Experts

Consumer Search: "Sealy Best Fit sheets are designed to work with mattresses from seven to 20 inches deep, and reviewers say they fit snugly even after multiple washings. User reviews also give the Best Fit sheets high marks, saying they find the sheets durable and easy to care for, as well as light, soft and smooth."
Viewpoints: Nick Nora Gnome Flannel Sheet Set: "I was not expecting much, just a casual sheet that would last a while. When I got them home, I was actually surprised how comfy they were. But, what I liked even more, was that after washing and testing out for a few months, we didn't get any bee-bee's on the sheet...Likewise, the colors didn't fade and they held up quite well. Very impressed. And, did I mention how cute they were?"

The Price

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