Is Egyptian Cotton the Best? - Busting the Bed Linen Myths You Thought Were True
Whether it's 'eating cheese before bed gives you nightmares' or 'a nightcap always helps you snooze better', there are more myths surrounding sleep than we can count sheep. But, it's the myths about bedding that are some of the most pervasive and the most inaccurate.
With so many patterns and prices, qualities and quantities to choose from, it's easy for companies to tie you in knots with bed linen yarns. To put these common deceptions to rest for good, we want to share a little of our know-how to help you make better decisions when choosing your sheets.
‘Egyptian Cotton is Best’
For centuries, Egyptian cotton has been widely considered the go-to for posh sheets, and the reason for this fabric's five-star reputation is simple: the Nile. The valley's soil is rich in nutrients and the climate's humid, making conditions that, while not so great for your hair, are perfect for growing cotton. And not just any old cotton, but a kind that produces long-staple fibres (shorter fibres break easily, feel itchy and can even pill!), which when woven together make super snuggly sheets that last for yonks. So far, so good.
However, the problem is that even though a label may say 'Egyptian cotton bedding', there's no guarantee the yarns they are made from are the top-notch variety you've heard so much about, only that they were grown in Egypt. You see, with the techniques that farmers use nowadays, high-quality long-staple yarns can be grown almost anywhere in the world, from Pakistan to Peru. So, as long as you buy your bed linen from a company that cares about the quality of their product, and is helpful in guiding you to the product that fits your bed and pocket, there is no real need to worry about it being Egyptian.
Bad cotton can be grown in Egypt as well as fabulous.
‘A Higher Thread Count Makes Better Bed Linen!’
Your house, your paycheck… cake. While some things certainly are better when they’re bigger, thread count isn't necessarily one of them. Although it does to some extent play a role in how the fabric feels, and how you decide between fabrics, the thread count doesn’t tell you anything about the material’s durability, quality or breathability. In fact, its actual job is to measure density, calculating the number of woven horizontal (or ‘weft’) and vertical (‘warp’) threads that make up one square inch of fabric. This means the higher the count, the more fibres there are in the product, but if it’s too high, the weave will be too tight, and air won't circulate as well. Not ideal for a comfortable night's kip. The thread count doesn’t tell you a thing about the quality of yarns that are used, just the number.
Some manufacturers even use ‘creative math’ to make their products appear more luxurious, inflating the numbers by twisting together several ultra-thin threads, often resulting in sheets that are more fragile and prone to rips, pills and snags.
After spending many, many hours scrutinizing (and snoozing with) cotton bed linen, we think we’ve hit upon the sweet spot. Our collection ranges from 200 Thread Count Cotton Percale Bedding, which makes a fabulous laundry cupboard staple, up to our 600 Thread Count Luxury Bedding that's perfect for creating a high-end, hotel-at-home look and feel.
‘Percale and Sateen are the Same Thing’
Next time you’re shopping for sheets, instead of agonising over thread counts, first decide whether you want percale or sateen. It may come as a surprise, but these two (very different!) weaving techniques really can affect the way a sheet feels against your skin and the quality of your sleep.
Cotton percale bedding is made using a classic 'over-and-under' weave to create light, crisp and cool-to-the-touch feel with a matte finish. Cotton sateen bedding on the other hand, is the closest thing you can get to satin. This weave 'floats' the yarn over several rows at a time exposing more thread surface, making sumptuous sheets with a glossy sheen that are a dream to sink into at the end of a long day.
To be honest, it all comes down to personal preference. Silky or crunchy, colourful or calm, we are all different, so feel it, sleep with it and you’ll soon understand which cotton bedding sends you into the cosiest slumber. And please do get in touch if you would like some samples or advice on which materials to choose. We love an excuse for a good ol’ chinwag!