How Bad Is It to Sleep on Cheap Sheets?

Navigating the bedsheet aisle on a budget? Here's what you need to know to avoid sabotaging your sleep.

How Bad Is It To Sleep On Cheap Sheets?iStock/IPGGutenbergUKLtd

Buying new bedsheets shouldn’t be rocket science. And yet, as you scroll through online sites or traverse the aisles at Target, you’re left to puzzle out terms like thread count and “no iron finish,” and ponder whether there’s really much difference between cotton, silk, and polyester and all the various blends of those materials. And ultimately, it comes down to cost. Will a higher price tag mean a better night’s sleep?

Unfortunately for your wallet, yes. “A cheaper sheet won’t be as soft, ” says Jane Bognacki, president of Sunham Home Fashions. “Plus you might have to replace them more often.” Here’s what you need to know about the most popular bedsheet options, according to Bognack:

Poly-blend: Though they tend to be less expensive, wrinkle resistant, and typically more durable than other sheet materials, poly-blend bedsheets don’t breathe as well, so you won’t get the cooling feeling that you get with cotton. A good alternate is microfiber sheets, which are a 60/40 blend of polyester and cotton, which makes them soft, durable, and affordable. Weigh the pros and cons of any poly-blends that come with an “easy-care finish.” On one hand, they’re treated with chemicals that could be irritating to people with sensitive skin and may harm the environment; on the other hand, they’ll likely last longer. Don’t miss these 10 ways to make your bed 10 times cozier.

Silk: This super-soft fabric is a good choice because it keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It’s also breathable, so it wicks away moisture even as the fabric seems to hug the body. If you love the feeling of silk, don’t be tempted to save money with its cheaper polyester cousin satin, which isn’t as soft, can be very slippery, and might leave you sweating.

Cotton: It’s cooler than other fabrics because the weave allows air to circulate as you sleep, keeping you feeling comfortable, particularly if you tend to perspire at night. Just keep in mind that although 100 percent cotton sheets may be less expensive, Supima or Egyptian cotton are stronger and softer, and will last longer.

Check out these dreamy ways to make your bed.

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