Natural cotton bedding has always been softer and smoother than polycotton bedding, which is a fact. With the advancements in man made fibres, is cotton still the fabric of choice? Cotton is fully breathable and only gets better with age. It absorbs more moisture after every wash and softens over time but still retains its robust qualities. Nature has always given us the best answer when to comes to selecting the best materials for the job, cotton is one of things, fibres that are expertly grown, never feels uncomfortable and has been used in the bed linen industry as long as natural linen sheets. Egyptian and Pima cotton bedding are the finest in the world, they use extra long staple fibres which can be spun in super fine yarns that are sumptuous and silky to the touch. Standard cotton bedlinen cannot match long staple cotton for quality and longevity. Luxury Cotton bedding is combed instead of carded, this superior method cleans and purifies the cotton much more effectively leaving you with soft fluffy balls of cotton which can then be manufactured into extremely high thread counts such as 1000 and even 1200 threads per square inch.
One good question that is always asked is how much does thread count really matter? Does it really give you the extra benefits that you pay for? This is a good question and is not necessarily true depending on the quality of the cotton used. Cotton is graded, not all cotton is the same but can be woven to the same thread count. Percale bedding starts at a minimum standard of 200 threads per square inch, this is where the yarns criss-cross over each other 200 times in any given square inch of fabric, the result is a soft smooth fabric. Thread count is a good indicator that good quality yarns have been used as the fine threads can snap during the weaving process if they are of an inferior quality. Super fine yarns are used in the better quality bedding, sometimes they are twisted to give them strength and durability, this is not a cheat of the cotton, it is just the same as a single ply fabric as the yarns are just as tightly packed but they can breathe more effectively.
There is more to it than just one factor when deciding the good from the bad, branded cotton bedding from companies like Sheridan, Belledorm, Peter Reed and Nimbus give you certain guarantees that the fabric they use has been organically grown and the manufacturing process only uses ecologically sound farming, dyeing and bleaching processes. Some processes like Mercerisation, can help the quality of the fabric, this can cause the linen to have a slight sateen look, this is sometimes preferable as the bedding shimmers in the bedroom giving that lustrous boudoir appeal. Pure sateen is a process that is used during the weaving process, the result is a softer and fluffier fabric that can look amazing on white bedding.
Percale fabrics meet a minimum requirement of weaving whereas a sateen fabric is normally any fabric that has been woven with over 300 threads per square inch. Certain striped or check cotton sheets such as a satin stripe duvet cover will have an extremely high thread count. 550 Count is considered to be extremely opulent and gives a soft and comfortable feel while you sleep. So just to recap, look out for the type of cotton, brand, finish and style to ensure you get what you pay for and benefit from a good night’s sleep. This is not to say that you should only choose Egyptian cotton and Pima cotton for your preferred choice of bedding, cotton has been found dating back over 7000 years ago, originally found in Mexico the exact source has never truly been known. The original cotton that is now found in Egypt was imported from modern day Pakistan, 5000 years ago the Pharaohs’ of Egypt slept on linen grown on the lush banks of the Nile Delta. They knew the importance of this natural and organic material even then. Cotton was introduced to us in the UK nearly 500 years ago and is now the choice of everyone who knows the benefit of sleep, how it helps you to function in today’s modern hustle and bustle. Just like recharging a battery, if you do it properly you will get the maximum amount of energy every time, ignore the instructions or advice given and you will receive poor performance just as you will in life.