Shoppers usually focus on researching the mattress, but most of them do not think about bedding. Bedding stands for all kinds of bed sheets, pillowcases, comforters, blankets, or any other cover that goes on top of the mattress. Most sleepers choose their bedding based only on aesthetic or price, and they are not aware that quality bedding can also impact their overall sleep experience. Same as with mattresses and pillows, different bedding options are available on the market, and there is something for everyone’s needs and preferences.
Many mattresses come with a removable and washable cotton cover, but the easiest way to protect the mattress and the duvet is to use sheets or bedding. There is only one way to use bottom sheets, but the top sheet can be used in two ways, depending on sleeper’s preference. It can either rest atop, or be placed beneath the sleeper’s body. Mattresses and duvets are very sensitive, and apart from protection, bedding and sheets can help to ease maintenance. Some sleepers don’t see the point in using additional layers, and in this guide, we will explain why bedding products are actually very useful.
Mandatory basics among bedding include sheets and pillowcases. They are usually included in sheet sets, but can also be bought separately. A sheet set contains the following types of linen: fitted sheet, top sheet and matching two pillowcases. Fitted bottom sheet comes with an elastic band around its edges, so it can tightly fit your mattress without sliding or wrinkling during the night. Unlike it, the top sheet does not feature an elastic band, and it rests freely atop of sleeper’s body, which is why it slides and moves around so easily. Another bedding item is valance or bedding skirt, its purpose is purely decorative, as this piece of fabric is placed between the box spring of a bed and a mattress. Since they do not get in touch with sleeper’s body, their prior purpose years ago was to keep the dust away from the storage space underneath the bed, but nowadays it just hides the sides of a bed box making the overall bed appearance more attractive and rounded up.
When shopping for bedding sets or top and fitted sheet only, take some of our advice into consideration:
- Materials – a wide range of materials is used in bedding, and it is essential to choose the most comfortable composition that will enhance your sleep. The most common one is, of course, natural cotton. Sleepers who are looking for a more luxurious feel should try bedding made from Egyptian cotton. We also recommend checking out linen, bamboo, flannel, silk and lyocell sheets.
- Size – it is not so important that the dimensions of the top sheet match exactly the mattress size, but it is crucial that the bottom sheet fits the mattress. Although fitted sheets have an elastic band and can stretch a bit, that does not mean that they can fit on any bed. If the bottom sheet is too small, it cannot be used, and if it’s too large, it would not fit tightly. That is why you should always compare the dimensions of mattress and sheets, or check if your mattress manufacturer also offers complementary bedding products.
- Weave – one way of fabric production is weaving, and bedding products usually fall under one of these three weave categories: percale, sateen, and twill. Different materials can be used for all three types of weave.
- Design – the eye-catching factor that can make or break any deal. Shoppers sometimes go for an attractive design and end up with a low-quality product that will quickly need a replacement. The good thing is that the bedding can be bought in sets, so there is no need to bother with mixing and matching patterns, colors and finding the right one. Pay attention to colors, because bedding items are meant to be washed frequently and on high temperatures, which may cause some colors to fade a bit over time.
- Plying – this process is used in the textile industry to create a durable yarn. Two or more twisted strands of yarn are twisted together to form a thread. Majority of sheets is single-layered (one-ply) or double-layered (two-ply). The two-play ones are denser and more massive than the one-ply sheets. Before, a lot of manufacturers were cheating on their consumers because they were counting every double layered thread two times. Those types of scams are today considered as illegal and controlled by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- Shrinkage – like any other fabric materials, bedding is susceptible to shrinkage if it is not washed on recommended temperature and programs. Shrinkage of around 5% is always expected and stated in the declaration. Different materials react in different ways, so it is essential to follow the prescribed instructions for washing, because some materials such as silk cannot be washed in a machine.
Materials for pillowcases and sheets can vary in their price and composition, so we have created a chart to sum it up for you.
|Material||Synthetic / Natural||Price|
Beside sheet sets, bedding category also includes blankets, comforters, duvets, and bedspreads which are heavier and thicker types of covers. Due to their composition, they are warmer, but they are also more visible because unlike sheets they are not always hidden below other layers of bedding, so the greater attention has been dedicated to their design, pattern, and color.
The blanket is a layer that usually goes between the top sheet and the comforter, but they can also be placed underneath the sleeper’s body for an extra cozy and warm sleep surface, perfect for cold nights. Blankets are usually slightly larger than the average mattress size so that they overlap its sides or provide more material for snuggling. Most blankets come in four sizes: Twin, Full, Queen and King. One type of blanket is a so-called throw-blanket which is smaller in size and usually used as a leg warmer or like a decorative item thrown over the bed.
When it comes to techniques of production, blankets can be knitted, woven or quilted in different styles. Price and material composition comparison is in a table below.
|Material||Synthetic / Natural||Price|
Bedspreads, comforters, and duvets are somewhat similar and often mixed due to their features and purpose. The bedspread can be any cover that goes on top of as a bedding layer, and bedspreads are mostly divided into two main categories, duvets, and comforters.
Comforters are bedding covers filled with wool, down, down alternative or feather materials. All four sides of the comforter are quilted or stitched to prevent the stuffing from escaping. Comforters can also be placed in a duvet cover and function as a duvet. Both comforters and duvet should match the size of a mattress or be slightly larger. In the table below we have compared these two very similar forms of bedspreads.
|Comforter||Cotton or polyester||Feathers, wool, silk, down, down alternative||Can be machine washed, but some models demand professional cleaning||It does not come with a cover, but it can be used with a duvet cover or a top sheet|
|Duvet||Cotton or polyester||Feathers, wool, silk, down, down alternative||The duvet cover is machine washable, but the duvet insert requires professional cleaning only||It comes with a cover, so it does not request any additional layer, sheet or bedding accessorize|
And we have also prepared a chart which compares their prices and compositions of both, duvets and comforters.
|Filling material for duvets and comforters||Synthetic or Natural||Price|
The Grand Sheet Debate
Recently, the necessity of using the top sheets was brought into question, while some sleepers cannot imagine sleeping without them, others see no reasons to continue using them, and the millennials were the ones who lit this subject up. We have been witnesses that lately it has become quite popular to accuse millennials of ruining some conventional things or habits, so are the sheets the next thing that we are going to get rid of? Considering how annoying can it be to strain the top sheet properly or to iron it, can we blame the millennials for simplifying their house chores and saving their precious time?
By the good old fashioned way, a bed should have a proper bottom sheet, top sheet, blanket and another final layer over it all, like a coverlet or some kind of top sheet. That is quite an amount of sheets per one bed, and it can quickly fill in your washer and dryer leaving little to no space for all the other stuff. And, the crucial question is, do all these layers have a real function?
The truth is that the top sheet requires extra work, and it can be easily bunched up during the night which means that every morning, or every night before sleeping, you have to spread it in place over and over again. Besides the fact that it takes extra space in the washer, sheets will also take away extra two or three minutes of your time. It is not too much, but when you are dead tired or rushing to go to work, you would probably want to avoid it. If you do not do it in the morning, that small chore will wait for you when you go to sleep. Also, these top sheets somehow always manage to slide down, so by the morning they always end up all wrinkly and twisted around somewhere between the ankles.
On the other hand, here are some arguments that millennials might not like as much. Despite the fact that it takes an additional effort, a flat sheet will help with temperature regulation during the night. During the hot summer nights, a top sheet will keep sleeper’s body cool and provide solid airflow, while during the winter this additional thin layer will warm you up a bit more. Top sheet’s primary function is to separate the sleeper’s body from the duvet cover or a blanket, prolonging their wear and preventing that the sweat, oils, etc. get in touch with them. Although some duvets come with a cover, it is always such a struggle putting that cover back on. If you are going to stick with top sheets anyway, think about them as some daily ritual, spend five minutes less on social media and do something for your self-care.
While in the US vast majority of bedding sets include a top sheet, sleepers in Europe have different habits and rarely use a top sheet between a fitted one and a duvet. Luckily, there is no need to switch continents when you can simply exclude the top sheet if you do not feel comfortable using it, it is always a great solution for a last minute Halloween ghost costume. In the end, we will leave it up to you, our dear sleepers, to decide what is best.