Did you know that you spend 1/3 of your life in bed? Sleep quality can affect every part of your day and a night of uninterrupted slumber makes me a much more productive person. Conversely when I don’t sleep well, it throws everything off: I'll have headaches, an altered attention span, and can be very unpleasant; just ask my husband.
One of the foundations to a great night's sleep is your sheets, something Ariel Kaye knows first-hand. After an incredible hotel-bed experience, while on vacation at the Amalfi Coast, she tried in vain to recreate the feeling back home. Not finding exactly what she wanted, Ariel quit her job and started her company Parachute Bedding. Kaye's line of premium shams, covers, and sheets abandons the bedding industry's confusing marketing jargon so that her customers can get their own premium experience, without any of the heavy-lifting (all the research has been done for you). I visited Ariel's amazing Venice Beach studio where she has made it her life's work to make sure that we "don’t lose sleep trying to get the best sleep." Here, 11 enlightening facts about bedding she's gathered over the years.
1. Thread Count: As it turns out, the number we are trained to equate with quality is largely a marketing ploy and almost always misrepresented. When it comes to bedding, the quality of thread matters most, not the count. There are many types of cotton, but it’s the length of the fiber that dictates quality. Longer is better, so look for long strand cotton instead of a high thread count.
2. Avoid sheets labeled “wrinkle free,” “easy care”, and “permanent press.” This means the fabric has been treated with formaldehyde resin, a toxic chemical that will not wash out.
3. Replacing pillowcases is the easiest (and most cost effective way) to freshen up your bedding. I recommend replacing them every 6 months to a year.
4. 40% of Americans don’t sleep with a top sheet, just the fitted sheet and duvet cover (and this is the norm in Europe!)
5. To avoid wrinkles, take your bedding out of the dyer while they are warm and the slightest bit damp and put them directly on the bed. You’ll get the same effect as ironing.
6. Beware of “organic cotton.” While this means the fibers might have been grown organically, it doesn’t mean the fabric was processed without toxic chemicals. Look for Oeko-Tex certified sheets (like Parachute!), the only certification that ensures no toxic chemicals throughout the manufacturing process.
7. When it comes to finding the right bedding, consider the sensation you most enjoy in bed – the four most common types of weaves each have their own texture and will feel completely different against your skin.
- Percale is cool and crisp and ideal for warmer sleepers or summer months.
- Sateen is soft and smooth with a slight sheen and slightly warmer than percale.
- Jersey is soft and stretchy knit, that’s often compared to a t-shirt.
- Flannel is slightly fuzzy – this is the warmest and thickest fabric, perfect for cold climates during winter months.
8. Washing your sheets is obvious, but it’s important to wash your pillows and duvets too. I recommend washing at the beginning of each season – most down and synthetic materials are safe for the washer. Throw a clean tennis ball or two into the dry cycle to enhance the fluff!
9. Wash your bedding on the delicate cycle with cool water – hot temperatures break down the fibers and will cause your sheets to break down more quickly.
10. Half load your dryer. Ever notice that your sheets come out of the dryer twisted? It’s probably because the dryer has been overstuffed and there is not enough space for the fabric to fluff up.
11. Make your bed every morning – it will keep dust mites to a minimum. Plus it’s an easy way to accomplish a task moments after you’ve woken up!